Since recent years, we've come to appreciate the speed and usability of Flash drives. The fact that sudden motion makes no difference to its accessibility makes Flash drives an intriguing prospect for laptop manufacturers. Especially Dell, which is going to offer a configuration option with its Latitude D420 that will allow users to swap that clunky old HD in favor of a 32GB SanDisk Flash hard drive.

The only hitch comes with the price tag, which is set at a rather expensive price of $549. This will definitely ensure the laptop is set for a very high-profile consumer.

The fact is, as nice as a Flash drive sounds, moving a laptop nowadays isn't as dangerous as it once was. Modern laptops have special mechanisms built-in to detect movement, which will lock up the hard drive until it's safe to continue its operations. Although not completely adequate, the cost of this safety is far lower than that of a similarly-sized Flash drive.

There are other benefits to Flash drives other than just portability. Dell claims that its Flash-based drives improve the performance on the laptop by up to 23%, and cuts down startup time by up to 34%. However, these statistics are only made possible from intensive hard disk operations, and it's highly unlikely the performance gains will be even remotely close when doing activities such as gaming, editing with Photoshop, or for that matter, any CPU-intensive operation.

The fact that there are performance jumps still likely won't be enough to convince the average consumer to drop down five hundred dollars, but this situation is definitely not going to stay this way: the trend of decreasing costs of flash storage space that we've been noticing lately are making Flash a more viable alternative to the platters we've been using for nearly 2 decades now.

11 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by ndeniche

Is flash memory able to take the read/write load of a hard drive? I though that flash mem would fade after a few thousand writes, which seems pretty easy to do on a hard drive, what with temporary files and virtual memory. And at only 32GB, they'd have to target a very specific type of customer who doesn't put much on their laptop (figure 10GB for an OS and applications, which is still a pretty thin estimate for the Microsoft line of products, and leaves about 20GB for files, including music, photos, videos, etc...). I'll stick to mechanical storage devices for a while...


I do a lot of travel to perform on-site training. A machine like this might be ideal for that purpose. I'm essentially using a more or less static configuration and loading only training files which change very little between jobs.

A lighter, faster system with a more rapid boot time sounds pretty good to me. Make it a Tablet PC so I can still do "electronic whiteboarding" and I'm sold.


Is flash memory able to take the read/write load of a hard drive?

I was about to ask the same question. If you go to any site explaining how to install Linux on a flash drive, the first thing they say is be careful, flash drives only handle a certain number of writes.

But maybe this obstacle has been overcome? Wouldn't it be a problem for the new hard drives with built-in flash, too? I'm sure someone at Dell has thought of this...I hope.


The high cost is not because Dell is greedy (which the title and text of the post suggests) but because of the high manufacturing cost of the devices.

A regular harddrive is (nowadays) dirt cheap to build. Flash memory is expensive, especially the large size units used here.
It is however (contrary to TFT screens and digital imaging sensors) still getting rapidly cheaper, so expect this technology to get to the stage where it's available in midrange units in a few years at most.

I still remember buying my first 8MB CF card back in 1998.
The 4GB card I bought last year cost less than that first card did, and is a lot faster too. And today that 4GB card costs quite a bit less than it cost even last year.


Actually, i'd rather choose a portable hd... since they come in sizes such as 100 Gb, which is 3 times bigger than dell's flash drive, and, as well, cheaper... so... taking the theory of Infarction, which says, install an OS in 10 Gb, you still have 90 Gb left for whatever you would like...

So... i don't know u guys, but i would prefer buying a 100 Gb portable hd...

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