Ultrabooks May Use Hybrid Storage to Cut Costs
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.