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Fujitsu LifeBook P1610 Notebook
Fujitsu shoots for the moon with its 16GB and 32GB SSD options

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 (HDD).

"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 road."

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."

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By therealnickdanger on 3/19/2007 9:37:54 AM , Rating: 1
I feel like I'm being patient, but when will AT publish performance reviews of all these new SSDs versus HDDs? I know the answer is "when manufacturers let them", but I'd like a calendar date...

16GB for $650 is dumb, especially with Vista taking away half of it. Two 16GB drives in RAID-0 for $650 would be KILLER!

RE: Benchmarks
By Brandon Hill on 3/19/2007 9:40:07 AM , Rating: 1
16GB for $650 is dumb, especially with Vista taking away half of it. Two 16GB drives in RAID-0 for $650 would be KILLER!

Two SanDisk 32GB SSDs in RAID-0 for $700 ($350 a piece) would be even better ;-)

RE: Benchmarks
By therealnickdanger on 3/19/2007 10:19:51 AM , Rating: 2
That's true, but I won't hold my breath! Although, judging by the nonstop advances in the SSD field, it sure doesn't seem like it will take very long at all for SSD to get competitive with HDD, especially in the notebook and SFF arena. Mobile HDDs are just so much more restrictive. They are hotter, heavier, use more power, have slower access times, and soon they won't be able to compete in sustained read/write. All in good time, eh?

*paces back and forth*

Must be patient...

RE: Benchmarks
By mindless1 on 3/19/2007 11:20:49 AM , Rating: 2
Actually nobody else found that a problem, considering the size of the screen (which dictates overall size), they're not so big, not so hot, not so heavy, and power usage is negligable. Some hypothetical advantage has to really matter - and to most people these things do not matter the slightest bit, though having a drive robust enough to survive some shock, hopefully not failing outright would be of more interest, as would the performance.

Where SSD will matter is the opposite of notebook and SFF, it's in the ultra portable devices. A SFF system is not so cramped that the extra 1-2 cubic inches can't be made available, that's mere millimeters added to a couple dimensions of the chassis until other advances in chip density and bus design allow the mainboards to shrink more. Then comes cooling it all, the HDD heat is not a problem but denser chips are.

Solid state flash used as a drive was already competitive with HDDs for the virtues it has, the only difference right now is there are people putting massive amounts of flash into one product and charging an arm and a leg for it. It will remain very costly because even at half price, the average buyer is not interested. That $650 is more than the cost of the entire, typical notebook average cost these days.

RE: Benchmarks
By Martin Blank on 3/19/2007 10:24:05 AM , Rating: 3
I doubt any performance gain from a striped array of these would be worth the hassle and extra complexity -- even as simple as RAID-0 -- due to the latencies involved. Striping is intended to overcome disk latency measured in milliseconds, while SSDs have latencies of microseconds. I think the difference just won't matter all that much, even with hypothetically doubled data transfer speeds.

RE: Benchmarks
By therealnickdanger on 3/19/2007 10:28:19 AM , Rating: 2
Which is why we need benchies!

RE: Benchmarks
By JeffDM on 3/19/2007 11:52:01 AM , Rating: 2
Striping doesn't change much with latencies, but SSDs do have a limited transfer rate so striping might help with bandwidth. I don't think SSD is much faster than a regular hard drive in actual practice, I'd like to see some tests done by independent third parties first. A lot of flash chips are considerably slower than a hard drives. The fastest ratings I've seen on some flash media is that they say their card is equivalent to a 70x CD-ROM drive.

RE: Benchmarks
By semo on 3/19/2007 12:38:15 PM , Rating: 2
wait, wasn't raid 0 supposed to increase raw data throughput but whatever you did the only way to reduce latency is to get a higher rpm drive. i always thought the theory behind why raid doesn't improve performance so much is because it can't improve latency which is hdds' main bottleneck and not transfer rates.

RE: Benchmarks
By leexgx on 3/19/07, Rating: 0
RE: Benchmarks
By joust on 3/19/2007 4:04:36 PM , Rating: 2
uhhhh, what?

You wrote an entire paragraph without a single period. Not one. Please, do us all a favor and use some form of punctuation. And review the penny-arcade comic:
The comma, period, and semicolon are your friend.

(No, I'm not trolling, I genuinely want readable comments. And no, I'm not a grammar-nazi, I just think this is an extreme case worthy of rebuke).

As for your actual comment, I agree the RAID controller would potentially increase latencies. One very real issue is your mileage may vary because many RAID controllers are very cheaply constructed. They may in fact not be able to sustain the higher throughputs.

RE: Benchmarks
By Motley on 3/19/2007 4:01:00 PM , Rating: 2
No, Raid-0 typically does not reduce latencies. Raid-0 increases throughput.

Currently, HD's have high throughput with high latency. SSD's have low throughput with low latency. So putting a few of these together in a GOOD raid, would net you an extremely fast, extremely low latency storage solution. This is just version 1.0 of the technology. When prices drop, version 2.0 will come along with raid-0 type functionality at the chip level, and you'll just plug and play.

RE: Benchmarks
By dajeepster on 3/20/2007 8:12:06 AM , Rating: 2
OMG!!!... i'll have to replace all my raptors :o

RE: Benchmarks
By CascadingDarkness on 3/20/2007 5:31:33 PM , Rating: 2
Raiding SSD would be near pointless IMHO. Unless you are made of money, or make your PC higher priority than food/shelter.

It makes much more sense to pick up one of these 16GB (hopefully for $250ish rather then 650) for OS.

I'd much rather save my money after my existing 6 barracuda 250s. Dropped same amount of money as you would be on 32GB...

If I get one of these it will be later when price is more resonable and even then it will be on small side for OS and main apps.

The only thing that justifies this cost now is notebooks where power/speed/reliablity of these really out shines existing platter drives.

Just my opinion. Plus nothing makes an anime fan happier than seeing 1.35TB drive space =)

RE: Benchmarks
By semo on 3/19/2007 12:42:29 PM , Rating: 2
i've been waiting for those reviews for months as well. i understand of course why they haven't done them yet but i wonder why they never do any external storage reviews (hdds, usb keys, mem cards). there's plenty and i don't know of a site that does proper comparisons (most compare just 1 or 2 other devices, come to no insightful conclusions and whine about how they might lose the cap every other paragraph)

The article title should read...
By Hulk on 3/19/2007 9:22:20 AM , Rating: 5
"Fujitsu keeps tradition of pricing laptop hard drive options 4 times higher than what they should be...Offers 32GB SSD drive upgrade for $1300."

By vortmax on 3/19/2007 10:00:37 AM , Rating: 2
This tradition wouldn't last if people stopped buying them.

RE: The article title should read...
By JeffDM on 3/19/2007 11:56:51 AM , Rating: 2
I think the wholesale price is $600, so expecting the drive to start out at $325 is totally unrealistic. Even standard flash memory costs something like $10/gig on tape and reel, and I think that's a slower type of memory.

RE: The article title should read...
By fic2 on 3/19/2007 3:24:16 PM , Rating: 2
The price for a SanDisk 32G model was quoted in the article at $350. It had a link to this article, saying that SanDisk had dropped the price to $350.

So, Fujitsu thinks their branding a product is worth close to $1000.

No way
By FITCamaro on 3/19/2007 10:02:57 AM , Rating: 1
No way anyone is going to pay $1300 for an option that only increases battery life and gives decent performance advantages. With an ultra portable you're not buying it for performance anyway.

And yeah, I wouldn't run one with Vista considering the footprint. XP and an SSD would be fine since XP takes 2-3GB. So even with XP and Office 2003 you'd still have plenty of space for documents and some music/video files. Problem is are there any drivers for SSD hard drives on XP?

RE: No way
By Brandon Hill on 3/19/2007 10:05:25 AM , Rating: 2
An SSD will show up as a regular IDE or SATA drive in the BIOS, Windows, Linux, OS X, etc. No special drivers are needed.

RE: No way
By FITCamaro on 3/19/2007 1:27:47 PM , Rating: 1
Ah ok. Wasn't sure.

RE: No way
By therealnickdanger on 3/19/2007 10:27:00 AM , Rating: 2
With an ultra portable you're not buying it for performance anyway.

That's what's so cool! With SSD, you can ! You'll get no argument from me that the price is still way too high and capacity and performance still has a little way to go, but soon you'll change your tune!

Can you tell I'm excited? lol I'm also pumped for Intel's phase-change SSD. While we're at it: R600, MXM flip-chips, cheap quad core CPUs, and K10!!! W00t!

RE: No way
By Samus on 3/19/2007 10:32:46 AM , Rating: 2
I'll pay $1300 for this.

RE: No way
By CascadingDarkness on 3/20/2007 5:39:32 PM , Rating: 2
You my friend, have way too much money.

I myself would rather buy the laptop with empty bay and insert the $350 drive and save myself a grand for 5 minutes of work.

Which SSDs?
By Goi on 3/19/2007 9:41:47 AM , Rating: 2
So which SSD are they using? The Samsung, Sandisk, Ritek or Supertalent? With the kind of prices they're charging they could include the Adtron already.

And SSDs do really perform very well. THG has done a review of the Samsung, and I've also done some testing on the Samsung. It lives up to its specs. I would expect the rest to do the same.

RE: Which SSDs?
By Brandon Hill on 3/19/2007 9:56:25 AM , Rating: 2
As stated and linked in the article, they are using Samsung units.

RE: Which SSDs?
By Goi on 3/19/2007 11:33:04 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, Fujitsu is making a killing on the SSD option then. Samsung's 16/32GB SSDs do not cost anything near those prices, especially in bulk.

By Comdrpopnfresh on 3/19/2007 10:07:38 AM , Rating: 2
so with ssds, does fragmentation increase or affect performance at all. I remember reading a few years back that fragmentation doesn't decrease HDDS.

RE: question
By cnk on 3/19/2007 10:56:11 AM , Rating: 2
Fragmentation doesn't affect anything because there are no moving parts like a traditional HD. SSD's are faster than HD's for the most part except if you are doing a lot of writing to the disc. I have a Sony UX390N with a 32GB SSD and I like it a lot so far. The boot up time compared to a unit with a traditional HD is much quicker and it's nice to know that I don't have to worry about damaging the HD with sudden movements.

Not this year
By mindless1 on 3/19/2007 11:15:03 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't call 2007 the year of the SSD, any more so than prior years. Remember that IF you had wanted one, there was nothing stopping you, adapters did exist.

So flash memory got a little faster, that is great! However, it has no bearing on what it takes for this to be "the year of", and THAT is a lower price point such that it sees widespread adoption.

If it weren't for Vista, it might've happened a little sooner as now 32GB is looking merely adequate to start out but you sure as heck don't want to spend $1300 on one then have the feeling it needs upgraded next year to the $2000 model. So I say let the density double again and prices down by 60% more (for double). It was already well known that people accepted lower drive performance, the highest volume laptops did not have 7K2 RPM drives in them, though when such were offered it tended to cost an arm and a leg to get one - cheaper to just buy w/o it and add it later, but then many people never did.

As much as SSD, we need a lighter footprint OS to take hold of the laptop market, Vista just doesn't cut it. Let a computer boot fast because it has less to "boot", let the drive performance be fast because the most commonly shuffled OS files are 1/5th the size. Everything and the kitchen 'sink was fine for awhile but now we have the kitchen sink too and it's a lot of weight.

As novel as it sounds, we could even have notebooks with ROM cartridges for the OS, so the expensive SSD memory isn't devoted to that anymore, making a cheaper notebook and one not prone to virus infection so much anymore.

By UNCjigga on 3/19/2007 11:56:13 AM , Rating: 2
I sense a lucrative new target commodity for professional thieves...

By crystal clear on 3/20/2007 4:21:10 AM , Rating: 2
"There is a market for this. It's not a huge market, but there is a market."


I think this comment applies more to "CUSTOM MADE NOTEBOOKS"

There is a great future for such notebooks-

I decide what goes into them,what performance/useage, I want from my notebbook etc.

I decide what/which components to be used & which software to be used etc

I get - what I pay for!!!

Thats what I like!!!

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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