Laptops with solid-state drives took another step forward Tuesday as Toshiba announced the first laptop with a 128GB SSD.
The Portege R500-S5007V is the newest addition to the company’s Portege line and, at 2.4 pounds, is being described as “the world’s lightest laptop.” The unit also contains a DVD SuperMulti drive, a transreflective LED backlit indoor/outdoor viewing display, and Energy Start 4.0 compliance. It has received the highest gold rating from EPEAT, which measures the environmental impact of electronic products.
0.77 Inches Thin
Jeff Barney, a Toshiba vice president, said the Portege R500 series has become a launch pad for technology innovations and “green” attributes. The series was also the first to ship with a 7mm DVD SuperMulti optical drive, which lowered weight by providing an all-in-one solution for storage .
The R500-S5007V comes with Windows Vista Business, although Windows XP Professional is also available, and it uses an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at 1.33 GHz.
The WXGA, 1280 x 800 LED display is described as the world’s first 12.1-inch transreflective LED backlit display, which accommodates a wide variety of lighting conditions. The backlighting helps when the unit is used indoors. Outdoors, the screen allows light to pass through and reflect back to help show images and allow the backlighting to be turned off.
Like some real-life human models, laptops are in an accelerating battle to be the thinnest. The R500 series comes in at 0.77 inches.
The thinness is, in part, due to Toshiba’s High Density Mounting Technology, which allows dual-sided motherboard component mounting. Toshiba said this kind of mounting means it can produce a motherboard that is one-third the size of a normal 15.4-inch notebook with the same functionality.
SSDs vs Hard Drives
Similarly, Toshiba engineers sought to tweak the energy efficiency so the R500-S5007V could run for eight hours on a single battery charge. In particular, the company noted, low-power technology was used for the SSD and the ultralow-voltage processor.
SSDs are attractive because, with no moving parts, they can be more rugged and quieter than hard drives, have faster startups because no spin-up is needed, can have very low read and write latency times, and, for some models, can be more energy-efficient.
But Richard Shim, an analyst with industry research firm IDC, said that, even as SSDs increase in size and popularity, they will continue to coexist with hard drives “even five years from now.”
While 128GB is acceptable in a laptop for some users, he noted that there are now terabyte laptops, and hard drives will continue for the foreseeable future to beat SSDs in cost per gigabyte and overall capacity.
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