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Alienware m9750  (Source: Alienware)
Alienware embraces solid-state disks for its notebooks

The use of solid-state disks (SSDs) continues to expand with the announcement that Alienware will offer the speedy drives in its Area-51 m5550, Area-51 m9750 and Aurora m9700 notebooks.

Alienware is offering customers a wealth of options when it comes to SSD configurations. Customers can choose a single 32GB SSD, a 32GB SSD combined with a 200GB 7,200RPM HDD (which should provide a nice compromise of speed and storage capacity) and dual 32GB SSDs in a RAID-0 configuration (for maximum performance). The dual-drive configurations are only available on the Area-51 m9750 and Aurora m9700.

"Alienware's new flash-based solid state drive solutions dramatically accelerate performance for mobile storage applications," said Alienware Associate Director of Product Marketing Bryan de Zayas. "From blazing load times to rock-solid durability, all the essential features that customers look for in a notebook are maximized in Alienware mobile systems loaded with solid state drives."

The new SSD options are currently available from Alienware's online website. A single 32GB SSD will set you back $500. Stepping up to the 32GB SSD combined with a 200GB HDD costs $800. Going full bore with dual 32GB SSDs will add a whopping $920 to your total bill.

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Faster, But Costly
By AggressorPrime on 7/24/2007 3:45:22 PM , Rating: 2
There is a noticeable difference between SSD and HDD. Unfortunately, 64GB for $1000 just doesn't make sense. Even just 64GB is not enough for today. Wait until 160GB SSD drives come out and prices to drop to $2/GB and you will have a reasonable offer.

RE: Faster, But Costly
By Brandon Hill on 7/24/2007 4:04:58 PM , Rating: 3
My Samsung Q1 Ultra UMPC only has a 60GB hard drive and it serves as my only mobile computer. Its has Windows Vista Home Premium installed, Photoshop CS2, OpenOffice 2.2 and various other small applications. Even with about 5GB of movies onboard, 3GB dedicated to my pagefile and all of my pictures and documents, I'm only using 30GB total.

I agree that the price is high, but I don't think that space considerations will affect most people unless you carry ALL of your movies and music on the go.

RE: Faster, But Costly
By spluurfg on 7/24/2007 4:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
Games are big though... 5GB/game is not unusual, and I suppose if you have some super-duper laptop you'll want to play some super-duper games.

Though I'm sure you could just carry media around on an external anyway. And I suppose seek times won't drop abysmally on an SSD when you use the entire disk unlike regular hard drives.

RE: Faster, But Costly
By aos007 on 7/24/2007 6:52:47 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I have Toshiba R-100 ultraportable which has only 40G drive and I have never used more than half of that - and only when I was traveling so I needed to store some videos on it. I cannot imagine people would use a laptop as their only PC - which would be the only reason to demand huge capacity. And if they do, or they need the space for video editing or something similar, then the laptop wouldn't be an ultraportable anyway.

But this is a different situation - Alienware is a very powerful gaming PC and is anything but ultraportable. Games are big and I would think the space is an important consideration. I don't think some speed savings during game load are worth when you consider the price and lack of capacity.

Personally, my next laptop (naturally, ultraportable) will have SSD. Considering that I paid over $200 for the privilege of having 40G 1.8" drive 3 years ago, paying $400 or less by the end of the year for 32G does not seem outrageous at all especially considering that not only it will be faster, but lighter, more reliable and provide longer battery life. I already replaced my 1.8" HDD twice in 3 years - I cannot imagine a SSD being less reliable than that.

RE: Faster, But Costly
By TomZ on 7/24/2007 7:48:44 PM , Rating: 2
I cannot imagine people would use a laptop as their only PC - which would be the only reason to demand huge capacity

Tons of people use a laptop as their only PC, both for home and business use.

I just loaded up a new laptop, and I loaded just the "essential" apps and data (no multimedia yet), and that used 100GB out of the 250GB drive. There's probably another 40-50GB of apps that I'll be loading as I need them, plus my 10GB ripped CD library. I also use Vista which has a slighly larger disk footprint compared to XP.

RE: Faster, But Costly
By InternetGeek on 7/24/2007 10:08:47 PM , Rating: 2
I cannot imagine people would use a laptop as their only PC - which would be the only reason to demand huge capacity

They are called [i]Desktop Replacements[/i]. They feature full-size keyboards, numeric and scroll pads, etc. I dumped having a full pc for a desktop replacement, and have not looked back anymore. Any laptop that's 17" Widescreen can be a good desktop replacement.

RE: Faster, But Costly
By TomZ on 7/24/2007 10:37:49 PM , Rating: 1
I agree. The new laptop I described above is an Inspiron 1720, 17" display, 1920x1200, dual HDDs, dual monitor support. I'm considering pitching my desktop machine, especially since the laptop performs as well as my 955EE desktop (!). It could easily replace my desktop, even for the engineering-type apps I typically run. It would be nice to just have one main computer and not have to synchonize gigabytes of data files.

RE: Faster, But Costly
By InternetGeek on 7/24/2007 11:31:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I can tell you it is indeed very convenient. Travelling around might be a bit of a hassle, unless you know you're arriving to a hotel or somewhere to place the PC (can't really call desktop replacements 'laptops' can we?).

In my case I have a Toshiba P105-S921. You might remember it because it was used to launch the GeForce Go 7900GS. Only drawback is the HDD which might be a little bit faster. Otherwise I can run Oblivion full-out on Vista. The rest of the apps I use are Office, VS.NET, Photoshop, etc. Unless, I'm travelling I don't really think about a smaller laptop. Which is when the wife's comes in handy.

Since I have it, I stopped seeing desktop-oriented parts at all. And the next 'PC' will be another desktop replacement. Hopefully, I will be able to configure it in more depth (a-la-desktop).

RE: Faster, But Costly
By aos007 on 7/25/2007 12:03:02 PM , Rating: 2
That's fine guys, but those desktop replacements are BIG. It doesn't make sense to use flash drive instead of HDD just yet. Right now it makes sense for either for portability or performance and neither applies to a desktop replacement. I can't see buying a $500 drive to speed up by a little bit a machine that is not otherwise decked-out CPU and graphics-wise as a smart decision, especially since as a primary machine you would be definitely writing on that disk (which is slow), not just reading from it.

I'm not saying that there's not an element of insanity present in an enthusiast - I spent a lot of money on 150G WD Raptor myself, and I don't think it was wise. Still, I'd say it is a bit early to buy into this.

RE: Faster, But Costly
By TomZ on 7/25/2007 5:16:48 PM , Rating: 2
I understand what you're saying, but I think you are underestimating the performance of top-end desktop replacements. I also think you are overstating their size - there is no reason you can't put a 17" laptop into a bag and travel wherever you want.

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