Since before Lionel first blogged about solid state drives (SSD) on Latitude laptops, we were seeing interest the technology from our customers. Back in March, IdeaStorm user tablet205 submitted an idea called Solid State Drives as option in Notebooks. We've seen comments from Direct2Dell readers like Nick who is looking forward to performance gains. Since then, we've expanded the offering to XPS and Dell Precision mobile workstations.
Though SSD technology is new and will have growing pains, we believe in flash technology because of what it can enable. The technology could completely change the way we think about notebook design, for example. Because flash is essentially a "circuit board" we can put it in one or several locations in a notebook chassis and can revolutionize the way notebooks are designed. This means thinner, lighter and more durable designs with performance that can compete with desktops.
In various conversations that we've seen, three areas emerge where SSDs can stand some improvements:
- Performance – most first generation SSDs perform near 5,400 RPM drive levels
- Capacity – Originally available in 32 GB size, we've seen that double to 64 GB and one of the capacity points in sight is 128 GB
- Price – these drives do command a hefty price tag, but over time we expect it to decline as the technology evolves and more mainstream adoption occurs
You will see us rolling out projects that improve on all these areas. Today, I wanted to let our customers know that in the coming weeks we will be launching the Dell Flash Ultra Performance SSD based on Samsung's SATA II-SSD technology, available in 32GB and 64GB capacities, which will leave traditional notebook hard drives in the dust. This generation of SSDs delivers on the hype we've all read about: reliability, durability AND performance.
Our labs benchmarked this drive in a Latitude notebook and saw a 35 percent overall system performance increase over a standard 2.5-inch 5400rpm notebook hard drive using SYSmark ‘07. That's even more impressive when you realize that the difference between standard 5400 rpm and performance 7200rpm drives (in the same generation) is 10 percent on average. And just for fun, we did a shootout between the new SSD and a few desktop drives and, well, let's just say that the performance gap is becoming a thing of the past. Preliminary tests showed that this drive outperformed a 10,000 RPM desktop drive in overall system performance!
Now you're thinking… "Great, but how can anyone possibly pay more for these ultra performance SSDs than current ones?" That's the best part, the drive got a lot smarter, not a lot more expensive. Dell and Samsung engineers optimized the way data is handled and drastically improved performance to an "awe-worthy" level without adding much more cost to the drive.
We'll roll this drive out in the coming weeks across our Dell Precision, Latitude and Alienware and XPS laptops. Look for updates very soon. In the meantime, we would love to hear your thoughts on SSD and how you think it could change the future of laptops.