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Ultrabooks May Use Hybrid Storage to Cut Costs

By - Source: DigiTimes | B 28 comments

Ultrabook manufacturers may follow Acer's lead by using hybrid HDDs instead of SSDs in future waves.

Given that storage components account for 10 to 15-percent of an ultrabook's total cost, unnamed sources from "ultrabook players" are reporting that manufacturers will likely ditch pricey high-capacity SDDs and rely on hybrid storage solutions for future ultrabook models. This is expected to help reduce costs while also fulfilling Intel's goal of a sub-$1000 pricetag and retaining high storage capacities.

The news follows reports that ultrabook manufacturers will start using fiberglass frames instead of aluminum which will also help keep production costs low. Because manufacturers aren't getting a subsidy on Intel processors, they're looking at other avenues of reducing the overall cost without sacrificing critical components.

The new ultrabook form factor requires storage to be smaller than a standard 9.5-mm hard drive while also having the ability boot into the operating system within 8 to 45 seconds. With those two factors in mind, manufacturers want to use a hybrid solution in future models, as they have a lower cost than standard high-capacity SSDs while also meeting Intel's fast boot time and storage efficiency.

As seen weeks ago, Acer launched its Aspire S3 series ultrabook using a combination of an HDD and an SSD in a stick form factor, throwing the operating system on the 20 GB SSD portion while leaving the 320 GB portion open for consumers. Other ultrabook manufacturers are possibly looking to do the same, sources claim, but consumers won't see hybrid solutions until future waves of ultrabooks arrive in 2012 or later. In the meantime, the initial wave will focus primarily on SSDs as seen with the Asus Zenbooks and the Lenovo IdeaPad U300.

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  • 3 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 19, 2011 4:07 PM
    How about allowing the storage option to be user-replacable, after all an SSD without it's metal casing would just be a PCB with a connector so you could swap out the same as with RAM chips.

    Have whatever size SSD at release and a booming cottage industry for SSD upgrade cards would flourish around it.

    Simples!
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , October 19, 2011 4:09 PM
    Hybrid and the mSATA/SATA combo make the most sense to me. I like the idea of this.
  • 0 Hide
    sonofhendrix , October 19, 2011 4:35 PM
    Manufactures looking to save cost should use AMD processors.

    20GB is NOT enough space for a windows OS with windows update turned on and normal use.
  • 3 Hide
    N.Broekhuijsen , October 19, 2011 5:03 PM
    sonofhendrixManufactures looking to save cost should use AMD processors.20GB is NOT enough space for a windows OS with windows update turned on and normal use.

    Yeah, the Fusion chips are very nice! Whilst on the CPU department they don't stand a chance against the i7, in the graphics they obliterate the intel chipset. Definetely what I would prefer...

    Of course, knowing that intel is behind the whole ultrabook thing, AMD might have trouble with getting companies to use their APU's
  • 1 Hide
    burnley14 , October 19, 2011 5:22 PM
    Having Windows 8 when these are released will also help them manage startups between 8-45 seconds as well.
  • 0 Hide
    de5_Roy , October 19, 2011 5:34 PM
    intel acted like an ass not reducing cpu prices for ultrabooks oems. in a few months ivy bridge comes out and sb ultrabooks will get totally outperformed by ivb. meanwhile, llano cpus can make better ultrabooks because they have better igp.
  • 0 Hide
    billybobser , October 19, 2011 5:36 PM
    20gb drive for OS?

    how many more cuts can they make.
  • 0 Hide
    digiex , October 19, 2011 5:43 PM
    Quote:
    Because manufacturers aren't getting a subsidy on Intel processors, they're looking at other avenues of reducing the overall cost without sacrificing critical components.


    Oh, really?
  • 0 Hide
    BaronMatrix , October 19, 2011 5:43 PM
    Just don't expect Intel to do anything except raise component prices.
  • 0 Hide
    hpglow , October 19, 2011 6:04 PM
    BaronMatrixJust don't expect Intel to do anything except raise component prices.

    That is strange it defys how ICs work. The next gen is always faster and cheaper.

    When I bought a modest 486 in the 90s it cost me almost $3000 to build. Now days it costs me less than $1000 to build a decent i5 2500k rig with a 560 ti. So where is this price increase you are talking about? intel may increase proffit margins with every gen but the price per market segment has stayed about the same.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 19, 2011 6:05 PM
    $999.99 is less than $1000 and you're still something with the functionality of a modern netbook.
  • 3 Hide
    leandrodafontoura , October 19, 2011 6:14 PM
    lol....

    The macbook air exists now.
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , October 19, 2011 7:08 PM
    Ya, I am rather confused how apple can make a cheap ultrabook, but nobody else can find the proper corners to cut. That is a sad sad day.
    Perhaps they are trying too hard to put extra performance in the thing? Go for slower but larger hybrid disc solutions, use slower i3 and i5 procs instead of i5 and i7's. Get the volume and demand up on the first generation, and then let loose with the power-house machines after you get the manufacturing process and supplier costs figured out.
  • 2 Hide
    GreaseMonkey_62 , October 19, 2011 7:29 PM
    Quote:
    Yeah, the Fusion chips are very nice! Whilst on the CPU department they don't stand a chance against the i7, in the graphics they obliterate the intel chipset. Definetely what I would prefer...

    Of course, knowing that intel is behind the whole ultrabook thing, AMD might have trouble with getting companies to use their APU's


    Someone should produce a Fusion based ultrabook just to stick it to Intel. Intel is the one demanding more or less from manufacturers a $1000 ultra book without being very helpful.
  • 1 Hide
    halcyon , October 19, 2011 7:38 PM
    xbeaterYeah, the Fusion chips are very nice! Whilst on the CPU department they don't stand a chance against the i7, in the graphics they obliterate the intel chipset. Definetely what I would prefer...Of course, knowing that intel is behind the whole ultrabook thing, AMD might have trouble with getting companies to use their APU's


    The stronger graphics are kind of meaningless for an ultrabook...gaming is not their purpose.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 19, 2011 7:40 PM
    So then Ultrabooks will become underpowered devices just like Mac Air, so whats the point of buying an slow underpowered Ultrabook if you can get a fine Mac Air that will perform on the same level?
  • 1 Hide
    halcyon , October 19, 2011 8:04 PM
    Quote:
    So then Ultrabooks will become underpowered devices just like Mac Air, so whats the point of buying an slow underpowered Ultrabook if you can get a fine Mac Air that will perform on the same level?

    How is the MacBook Air underpowered? What is it underpowered for? It's not a gaming machine and it is not meant to be but I'm not sure I see your point of how its underpowered.
  • 0 Hide
    lp231 , October 19, 2011 8:10 PM
    $999 is still sub $1000
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , October 19, 2011 8:12 PM
    lp231$999 is still sub $1000

    Not after Sales Tax/Shipping it ain't...

  • 0 Hide
    Camikazi , October 19, 2011 8:14 PM
    halcyonThe stronger graphics are kind of meaningless for an ultrabook...gaming is not their purpose.

    And a super powerful CPU is useless as well since you won't do anything really CPU intensive either. AMD would still be better though since while heavy gaming won't be done, videos and some light gaming will and AMD CPU/GPU combo will most likely do better overall.
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