One of the things that makes an ultrabook an ultrabook is the solid state drive. By using an SSD instead of a hard drive PC makers can make thin and light laptops that are more durable, offer faster data transfer speeds, and consume less electricity than models with hard drives.

But SSDs don’t come cheap, and they’re one of the reasons ultrabooks tend to cost more than traditional notebooks. Some PC makers have decided to split the difference by offering cheaper ultrabooks with large hard drives and small solid state disks which enable quick boot times and faster Windows performance.

Intel Solid State Disk 313 Series

Now Intel is offering new, faster versions of its small solid state disks designed for use alongside hard drives. They’re optimized for ultrabooks but they can also be used in desktop or larger notebook computers.

The Intel Solid State Drive 313 Series comes in 20GB and 24GB varieties. Intel offers 2.5 inch versions as well as mSATA models.

The 20GB model has a top read speed of 220 MB/s and top write speed of 100MB/s, while the 24GB version tops out at 160MB/s read and 115MB/s write.

Intel’s older 311 Series solid state disks had top read speeds of 200MB/s and write speeds of 105MB/s and were only available in 20GB capacities.

Ultimately, you’d probably be hard pressed to notice much difference. Both the 311 and 313 should offer better performance than you’d get from a hard drive alone.

In fact, with your operating system and core applications stored on the SSD instead of a hard drive, a computer with both an SSD and a HDD can run perform many tasks without spinning the hard drive at all, thus giving you longer battery life.

via PC World

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12 replies on “Intel launches new small SSDs for ultrabooks”

  1. It looks like these cards (I presume these are mini-SSD cards that go in the mini-PCI slot a lot of netbooks and notebooks have) will be set up to be a C: drive for booting, then have the ordinary hard disk be a large D: drive for files.

    The problem with doing this in Windows is the number of brain-dead software packages which force you to install the software on the same disk as the operating system. 

    1.  It remains to be seen if that remains true for Windows 8 but it is possible to make Windows install software to a drive other than primary partition.  Some programs even give you the option, while you could create a junction solution to force others, along with other methods.

      Windows 8 is suppose to require less drive space than Windows 7 though.  While systems coming out later should have even larger capacity drive offerings.

      It’s just right now mSATA maxes out at 128GB because of its size, but the technology is improving soon to fit more capacity in the same space.

      Btw, be wary of confusing Mini PCIe SSDs as there are at least three types…

      Flash_Con (Flash Drive Connector) was a proprietary connection developed by Asus for the early Eee PC in usually 70mm length cards and also 50mm.  These replaced the normal PCI bus pins with PATA and SATA pins.

      mSATA is a industry standard that also uses the Mini PCIe form factor and presently comes most commonly in the full size Mini PCIe card size format.  Basically it’s a SATA connector in Mini PCIe form factor.  So drives are recognized just like any other SATA drive.

      Then there’s actual PCI Bus based SSDs…  These come in either the Mini PCIe form factor with 50mm cards or the proprietary PCI Express form factor that Apple uses for their MacBook Air and some companies like Asus have used in their Zenbooks.

      Though those are pretty recent and usually PCI bus SSDs were for desktops…

  2. A 128 GB SSD retails for $150.00. A laptop with a 128 GB SSD inside costs $300-$300 more than one with a big HDD. Intel still trying to sell small SSDs alongside an HDD does fall into the category of “rubbish” for me.

    1. Big hard drives aren’t that cheap either these days thanks to the manufacturing shortages that the industry won’t fully recovery from until next year.  Though a partial recovery is due in a little while.

      It’s just that even with the higher prices big hard drives still offer about 8 times the capacity for the price over SSDs.

      While the main reason for a SSD is to benefit the OS…  You don’t benefit as much with anything else like storing media, etc.  So for many people it actually makes more sense to use a smaller and more affordable SSD and use a hard drive for any capacity needs.

      Only those who want to run a lot of programs or at least something big like games, etc. would prefer a much larger SSD capacity.

      Thing is those higher capacities are coming, just not to around the end of the year through next year as the next gen SSD technology finally makes it into commercial drives and the increased number of devices using SSDs increases the market share and helps reduce per unit pricing.

      The additional problem is space, most systems don’t have the room for two full size 2.5″ drives.  Thus why they want to push the mSATA format as it’s literally the size of a Mini PCIe full size card and doesn’t require much space to add. 

      On the other hand mSATA still has capacity limits because of its size and form factor.  So are not as fast or have as large a capacity offering as 2.5″ SSDs.

      So it is a compromised solution but it’s not like there are many other options yet.

    2. Exactly, people are better off getting the HDD only option and installing an SSD (either 2.5″ or mSATA drive) themselves.

  3. 20/25 gb won’t make sense for most users, at least not professional and power users. system, efi, programs, extensions like java, antivirus and so on and space for temp data during update runs will use much more space than the meaky 20ties. you will not come out under 64 gb.

    1.  For mainstream users, I’d agree but it is possible to make due with even less capacity as long as you know how to properly maintain the system.

      Some people have even figured out how to install Windows 7 onto a 4GB SSD for example and run it with everything updated and just some vliting.

      While system makers could create junctions to the secondary drive for additional capacities.  Windows 8 should make it even easier with its multi-drive spanning capabilities and presumably smaller install size.

      1. pardon, but this is silly geek stuff. i run a xp system with all sort of such geaky tweaks on 4 gb, all the time in difficulties, cause updates of e.g. ms system or antivirus need more space to work. and btw multi-drive-spanning all known from linux … nothing for a mainstream market. one crash of such a setup and the user is sitting on the cliffs.

        1.  Whether you consider it silly is only your opinion. SSDs are in general traditionally been for geeks anyway, but that hasn’t stopped them from making it work for them even when very limited.

          Not all AV’s are that hard to run or require much space.  Many have actually become more easier to run.  Like MS’s own AV for example can easily be run even on netbooks.  Some others are even cloud based for virtually no impact on the system itself…

          While there are tools to help keep updates, etc under control and even automate the process.

          I’ve maintain a few old systems for years and I’ve helped and known many others to do the same.  So it’s definitely doable.

          So let’s not overly exaggerate the issue or say it’s only a problem with Windows as even Linux systems can get bogged down with updates if they aren’t careful.

          It’s really just the average layman that’s going to have a problem with smaller drives but 16GB or larger should suffice anyone for just the OS requirements and a few additional programs.

          Multi-drive spanning is also in no way limited to just linux and as stated Windows 8 will make such capabilities available to the mainstream and much easier for the average layman to also use.

          Besides, whether the system crashes with one drive or multiple drives still usually results in the same problem as well.  So it’s not really that big of a difference in risk.

          Improved recovery options is another thing that Windows 8 seeks to improve upon btw.  So hopefully crashes won’t be as much of an issue anyway.

    2. Right. Start working with virtual machines and GBs run away by the dozen. 25 GB are nothing.
      Anyway, if you only do Word, Excel and email, 25 GB should do. A ten years step back but survivable if you really have to.

  4. what a load of rubbish.. so they give half assed speeds and revert back to old spinning drives – so much for improving the human condition

    1.  If you’re referring to the use of both SSDs and HDDs that some PC manufacturers are using as a compromise between providing capacity and speed then yes, it is a improvement.

      SSDs still cost more for capacity and even if price was no option the max capacities are still much smaller than what’s available with HDDs.

      Despite the cloud, etc. people still depend heavily on local storage and that puts a emphasis on capacity as much as speed.

      So they compromise and provide the speed with a SSD and the capacity with a hard drive.  Combined it is still an improvement, albeit still a compromised improvement as well.

      Otherwise, if you were referring to the whole article then it should be corrected that aside from observations of the market it’s about the new Intel SSD offerings and Intel is not providing combo or hybrid drive options here.

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