back to article Ultrabook price vice prised open by flash-disk half-breeds

Hybrid disk drives are on their way to becoming a fixture in computing: Seagate has had design wins at Dell and other OEMs. So says financial analyst Aaron Rakers of Stifel Nicolaus. Ultrabook pricing is the driver here. To get Intel's Macbook Air knock-off down into the $650 to $750 area from its current $999 price point will …


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  1. nichomach

    We use the Momentus XT drives... part of our measures to extend machine service life and they provide a very noticeable performance boost for remarkably little cash (or cache...either works, I guess). I'd say they're a natural for Ultrabooks.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Vise", not "vice". But yes, the hybrid drives are a good fit for Ultrabooks.

    1. Piers

      VICE... how we spell it this side of the pond. Unless you're making a pun I don't understand : )

      1. .thalamus

        Re: VICE...

        Indeed. The unbastardised spelling.

  3. K
    Thumb Up

    Definitely the way to go..

    Slapped one in my work-issue laptop... runs like a dream :)

  4. Ian 35

    And there's the characteristics of the down-market laptop market...

    The audience for macbook airs either has another computer, or understands cloud storage, or at least feels up to organising themselves to have external storage they plug into as required. So quite small flash storage is perfectly acceptable. But the sub-£500 laptop market appears to want huge amounts of onboard storage, either because they aren't realistic about their needs, or they don't know how to divide things up, or just because they are buying on larger numbers being superficially preferable to smaller numbers (the same reason undergraduates stagger around campus with 17" laptops).

    So the market for low-cost Ultrabooks is inherently scuppered by the taste of their apparent audience.

    The same thing goes, mutatis mutandis, for DVD drives: the Air market either doesn't use them, or certainly doesn't use them often enough to need to haul one around all day, while the £500 laptop market insists they need one onboard (cf. floppy drives back in the day).

    1. Mike Flex

      Re: And there's the characteristics of the down-market laptop market...

      > the same reason undergraduates stagger around campus with 17" laptops

      They're using them as desktop replacement/media PCs in their accommodation and can't afford a second smaller laptop to cart around campus.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And there's the characteristics of the down-market laptop market...

      You should be right. However, I suspect the market will prove you wrong.

      The macbook air buyer of today will morph into the general pc buyer of tomorrow. It is usually in vendors' interest to sell us stuff we don't need yet and (who knows?) never will.

      DVD's are dispensable, but on-board storage is the saturated fats of devices. Suggest the next hybrid from WD be called the Winnebago Drive.

      Sent from my 20Gb SSD (only) Asus eee PC.

  5. Black Plague

    Can't wait

    I've been drooling over the idea of a sleek ultrabook with an ssd/hdd combo drive in it. First I heard of this idea was last year, right before the last Macbook Pro refresf, when the rumor sites were reporting (falsely) the new Macs would have a small flash drive for the OS files and swap along with the larger hard drive.

    Seriously, you get the benefits of lots of cheap storage (hdd) with the benefits of super quick boot and virtual memory. All you'd have to do is partition so all the system files and the page/swap file rests on a little 10GB piece of flash, while all your user files, photos, movies, music, etc. can rest on the hard drive.

    Don't know why more manufacturers haven't done this already by sticking hdd's and small ssd's in full-size laptops.

  6. AdamSweetman

    Power consumption and Thermals?

    Yes there will be price pressure, but unless the spinning disks can get the power drain down as well you will have both battery and thermal challenges in what are mostly fan-less designs.

    Arguably cheaper SSDs are the way forward, not hybrids, let the market get the price down vs. compromising on the tech.

  7. Jeff 11

    The historic motivation for including flash drives in low profile devices with smaller batteries was to take advantage of their low power consumption characteristics, not performance, so as to get more than a couple of hours' use out of them.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too bad

    While Apple is generally obsessed with lowering the price of materials to increase their already inflated margins, they are not much interested in allowing us more storage space at the same time. The future is in artificially incentivizing us to access their premium iCloud by restricting our local storage.

  9. 2metoo

    I whacked one in a Netbook to make it less likely to burp when being used on the move and for quicker hibernates. A hybrid isn't going to be addressing that plus point.

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