Will Windows 7 Kill SSD-based Netbooks?

Intel’s Josh Bancroft made an interesting comment in a blog post the other day, claiming that Windows 7–which might very well require more hard space than Windows Vista—is going to make for cramped working conditions on your average Netbook.

Why’s that? According to a report from Pricegrabber.com, only eight of the current ten best-selling netbooks even run on SSDs, and of those, both run 8GB solid-state drives. Bancroft estimates that a full Windows 7 installation, even of Microsoft’s barebones Windows 7 Starter package, could eat up to 6GB of working space. That doesn’t leave much room for other programs and files, even given the limited amount of use a Netbook offers. What’s to stop consumers from picking up a similarly priced Netbook with greater-than 100GB hard drive?

While Windows 7 could theoretically become the final nail in the coffin for solid-state drives on Netbooks—at least until the market sees larger capacity drives at similar price points—other signs point to a blasé consumer attitude toward flash-based Netbooks. According to Pricegrabber, only 11 percent of consumers would absolutely purchase an SSD-based Netbook compared to 14 percent that would shy away at all costs. The largest voting block, 43 percent, would require “considerable” price drops before they would consider purchasing an SSD-based Netbook. The cost-per-gigabyte ratio of solid-state drives is just too large to justify the purchase, suggest 54 percent of surveyed online users.

Right now, conventional hard drives average around an eight-cent-per-gigabyte ratio, whereas solid-state drives are approximately 75 percent times that figure at $6.12 per gigabyte. At those prices—even given an SSD’s reported speed benefits of twice as fast boot times and eight times the data writing capability of a magnetic hard drive—it’s easy to see why DRAMexchange doesn’t see many SSDs jumping into Netbooks during 2009.  According to the research firm, short-term demand for solid-state drives will be brought on by the enterprise market.  Expect to see less than ten percent of all low-cost PCs using solid-state drives in 2009.

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37 comments
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  • Richeemxx
    I don't see W& killing SSD based notebooks, if anything we might see price cuts on larger drives from manufactures wanting to stay in the market. Bancroft also suggested that Windows 7 isn't a viable option for netbooks in general due to the possible increase in pricing, a view I share.

    Personally I don't see anyone being willing to pay the premium for the new OS. Part of what draws people to netbooks is the lower price. To add W7 you are likely looking at an additional $75-100 in cost.
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  • Humans think
    7.5 times or 750% that figure (just a typo). The thing that concerns me about the SSDs is the lifespan of the disks and how good they are being utilized by the OS.

    I guess that if for a netbook of the same price I could get 28GBs I would get a SSD based netbook but 8GBs could not even carry my favorite songs. Prices should fall to expect more sales
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  • Humans think
    nice link Richeemxx, and a very good point.

    I am noticing that companies are trying also to squeeze more profits by releasing "premium" netbooks. If they don't understand that netbooks sell for their prices they will lose a lot of money in the end. Plz just stay to the original niche guys...
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