More future ultrabooks could have hybrid storage

If you’ve followed the recent ultrabook releases, you might have noticed that Acer’s Aspire S3 features 20GB of solid-state storage and 320GB of mechanical storage. Some other ultrabooks ship with only SSDs, but according to DigiTimes, hybrid solutions may win out as ultrabooks seep into the mainstream.

Since storage components account for about 10-15% of ultrabook’s total cost, to fulfill Intel’s goal of launching ultrabook with a price below US$1,000 and its demand of having a boot-up time in between 8-45 seconds and physical size smaller than a standard 9.5mm hard drive, notebook brand vendors have eyed hybrid HDD as their new storage choice. . . . Although the initial wave of ultrabook models is still mainly adopting SSDs, models with hybrid HDDs may start appearing in later waves of ultrabook launches.

In other words, ultrabooks should be able to meet Intel’s boot speed requirements with hybrid storage solutions, and adopting such solutions should let ultrabook makers slip under $1,000. That sounds like a win-win, considering 128GB and 256GB SSDs are still relatively expensive.

For reference, Asus’ Zenbook ultrabooks have all-solid-state storage, but they start at $999 for an 11.6" configuration. The same goes for Apple’s cheapest MacBook Air. The base Acer Aspire S3 model with hybrid storage, meanwhile, has a 13.3" display and an $899 price tag.

Comments closed
    • wagsbags
    • 8 years ago

    I’ve been calling for this for a while now. It’s the obvious option until SSDs come way down in price.

    For $200 you can get a 40-60GB SSD and a decent 1TB hard drive. Basically every program you use on a regular basis will fit on the SSD (these things can’t game) and having the bigger files on the mechanical drive doesn’t hurt performance for 99% of things anyway. If you go pure SSD, $200 only gets you a woefully inadequate 100GB. Plus, if the 1.8″ standard catches on the weight/space requirements will be negligible.

      • drfish
      • 8 years ago

      I’ve found that good 120GB drives are around the $165 mark or less if you count evil rebates. IMO if you need more storage than that on an ultra-portable then you’re doing something wrong. Maybe I’m crazy but all the systems in my house are 30GB, 60GB, or 120GB with the exception of the storage drive on the HTPC (640GB) and the RAID 1 2TB drives in my NAS. I’m sorry, but I just do not want any moving parts except a fan or two.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 8 years ago

        That would work fine in a portable device if you stream over wireless from your own storage or ‘the cloud’. The cost of doing so quickly adds up though. Hybrid storage does make good sense to keep everything internal so you don’t have to pack a portable HDD and decrease the benefit of being ‘ultraportable’.

        • UberGerbil
        • 8 years ago

        I know a lot of people for whom their laptop is their only computing device. That means it functions as their iTunes storehouse, the backup for their media player, etc. And they watch movies on it. In that situation it’s very easy to blow way past 120GB. That’s why there are so many portable external HDs.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 8 years ago

      Definitely. Imo the ideal combination taking in to account price/GB and price:performance is a small mSATA SSD and a large mechanical drive for media storage or large programs. A single moderate-sized SSD ~120GB means not having all your stuff, larger SSDs are too expensive, and since many people only have one system – that being a laptop – there are plenty of people who will want to have all their stuff and not bother with external drives when they are using it outside the house.

    • adisor19
    • 8 years ago

    “The same goes for Apple’s cheapest MacBook Air. ”

    Except for the fact that the 11″ MBA has the same resolution as most 13″ and 14″ laptops/ultrabooks.

    Adi

      • willmore
      • 8 years ago

      And some 10.1″ netbooks, so?

        • adisor19
        • 8 years ago

        most vs. some.

        Adi

          • willmore
          • 8 years ago

          If you assert that ‘many 13 to 14 inch laptops can be purchased with a 1366×768 resolution display’, you would certainly be right. If you wanted to assert that they can *only* be purchased with that resolution, I would disagree with you. But then again, they’re not Macs, so you actually get *options* in what you get.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 8 years ago

      This is one item that I really enjoy with the Apple lineup of laptops: the higher resolution and IPS screens. It’s so easy for people to see the $7-800 laptop and compare to a Mac, but once you locate a PC with similar specs (cpu, screen res + type), then the difference is either in the Mac’s favor (price wise) or its much closer.

      Getting laptops off mechanical storage is also a big step.

        • 5150
        • 8 years ago

        IPS screens?

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 8 years ago

        More and more varieties of IPS panels are being spammed out in an attempt to cut costs from TVs to anything with a touch screen. They’re almost ubiquitous as it is, and if Intel wants “ultrabooks” to put up a fight against tablets, they’ll inevitably move in there, as well. No one is going to get anywhere playing Apple’s $1,000+ game.

        However, there seems to be this belief that “true IPS” = 8 bit panels, 100% color gamut, 2 megapixel resolution, with no exceptions, and people are really going to have to let go of that. If you want better viewing angles and screens that aren’t washed out, you will get them soon enough, but making a laundry list of qualifiers for what IPS means is just setting yourself up for disappointment.

        Computers don’t really cost that much. It’s insane to think that anything but a $2,000 laptop that eats the battery alive would look anything like a professional monitor.

        • 5150
        • 8 years ago

        Ok, I’ll elaborate. What Macbook has an IPS screen in it? I don’t know of any.

          • nico1982
          • 8 years ago

          I was sure that the Pro(s) did, but your comment tipped me off. I looked them up on notebookcheck and they are just plain TN :/

      • jpostel
      • 8 years ago

      Competition is better for consumers. I am just glad someone is selling a legit MBA competitor.

    • ImSpartacus
    • 8 years ago

    Idk, I’d call the 11.6″ Zenbook a win for the Ultrabook crowd. It checks all the boxes: 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, WXGA, decent battery life.

    And finally, it eeks under the $1000 mark.

    I guess more mainstream Ultrabooks might have to omit things like SSDs, RAM and build quality to get the price down, but I feel like we already have a winner today.

    For us enthusiasts, the $1099 13.3″ Zenbook seems like the clear winner with its improved battery life and resolution (and minor CPU bump), but the 11.6″ model has already hit all of Intel’s requirements.

    For the future, I hope companies don’t continue to thin out the machines. We’ve hit an area of diminishing returns. I’d rather have enough cooling to let Haswell stretch its variable-TDP legs than another eighth of an inch trimmed.

    • Hattig
    • 8 years ago

    Two steps forward, one step back.

    Maybe if the processor also only cost 10-15% of the total cost of the ultrabook they could be priced cheaper.

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      And if they didn’t have to also spend 6 – 8% for a discrete GPU. Hey!! Maybe they could use some AMD APUs!?

      Oh, right…

        • drfish
        • 8 years ago

        My $0.02…

        No to hybrid storage, yes to Llano… If Llano can’t quite fit into an ultrabook form factor then I’ll take it in a “superbook” or whatever you’d call something a little thicker… I just want killer build quality, decent graphics, and a good 11.6″ screen. Give me that I’d be happy with just 4-5 hours of battery life (moar would be better of course)… $600-$800 please…

          • ImSpartacus
          • 8 years ago

          That’s kinda what AMD is betting the farm on.

          Intel is moving their entire mobile CPU line down in power, but AMD is starting from scratch on the bottom and moving up.

          If AMD can provide “good enough” performance and ~10 hours of battery life, they might dominate the $500-$700 market.

            • Chrispy_
            • 8 years ago

            They’re almost there with Bobcat.

            I’m seeing a few budget 13.3″ models in the UK with an E-350 and 8.5h battery lives.

            Bobcat II or potentially Trinity is probably going to be jackpot.

            • willmore
            • 8 years ago

            I love my little 10.1″ C-50 based machine. I’d love a bigger screen, but I’d love more solution to go with it. 1366×768 is fine for 10.1″, but suffers on larger screens. I can’t help but expect the followon to Bobcat be very successful. If Trinity can lower the power envelope compared to LLano, then that’s my next normal sized laptop without question.

      • nico1982
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t think is a bad thing for most customers, as long as it remains just an option. They will likely experience SSD-like performance in most circumstances while retaining the higher capacity of the HDD. I never cease of being amazed of how much crap friends and relatives like to keep on their machines.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This