2007 appears to be the year of the solid-state disk (SSD)
for notebook computers. Intel has thrown its hat in to the ring with the
announcement that it would release low-cost
SSDs while SanDisk
and Samsung have
already become entrenched with the storage technology.
Fujitsu today announced that it will begin making SSD
optional on two of its ultra-portable notebook computers. Its LifeBook P1610
and LifeBook B6210 will have the option of a
16GB or 32GB SSD for storage in place of a traditional hard disk drive
"We believe that we have found several markets that can
benefit from this relatively expensive technology," said Fujitsu's Paul
Moore. "We believe that it will find a home with financial traders who are
worried about dropping machines while on the trading room floor, and we also
think it will appeal to sales people who spend a good deal of time on the
SSDs promise faster transfer rates, lower access times,
silent operation and increased battery life. The numerous pluses are
counterbalanced, however, by the relatively high cost of SSDs. In the case of
the two Fujitsu ultra-portables (which will use SSDs
made by Samsung), the 16GB and 32GB SSD options will represent $650 USD and
$1,300 USD options respectively.
To some, those prices may seem oddly high given recent price
quotes on SSDs. When SanDisk announced its
1.8" 32GB SSD in January, the price was pegged at $600 USD. Just last
week, the price had dropped to $350 for its new 2.5" 32GB SSD.
The price differential is even more puzzling given the
performance of both parts. Samsung lists sustained reads for its SSDs at
56MB/sec while SanDisk's SSDs are rated at 67MB/sec.
That being said, Fujitsu sees a market for SSDs at this
price point in their sales mix. "We do think there is a need for this
technology, and we do feel businesses will want it. There is a market for this.
It's not a huge market, but there is a market."