First tests: Fast 32GB flash hard drive

Shipping now, the 32GB and 16GB drives will initially be sold to equipment makers only. Given flash memory costs (approximately US$63 per 4GB chip module at press time), it will be a while before an SSD matches the cost per gigabyte of a standard notebook drive, which is typically less than $2 per GB. Samsung already includes the drive in its Japan-only Q30 subnotebook; the company is in discussions with U.S. vendors to bring SSD laptops and portable devices here.

Though the SSD's price is high, its silent operation, light weight, incredible shock resistance, and low level of power consumption bolster its appeal. Our unit weighed just 1.6 ounces, compared to 3.5 ounces for a typical 2.5-inch drive; 1.8-inch SSDs weigh even less. Its shock rating is a whopping 1500G--it can withstand most shocks short of being fired out of a howitzer--far higher than a standard drive's 200G to 300G rating. And it draws a tiny 0.5 watt of power while active and 0.1 watt at idle, far less than common drives.

But don't expect huge battery-life savings. On our system-level test, we saw a boost of about 9 percent in battery life for the test unit when configured with the SSD as opposed to with the Seagate Momentus 5400.3 (4 hours, 25 minutes versus 4 hours, 3 minutes).

Hybrid tech

To enjoy some of the benefits of an SSD without shelling out big bucks, consider a hybrid drive such as one of Seagate's 2.5-inch Momentus 5400 PSD series, which sport 256MB of flash memory cache. Such drives don't offer all the perks of an SSD, but they do save power by letting the drive motor spin down more often, and they cut boot and resume times by retaining the operating system data in the cache. They should also allow faster access to "instant on" multimedia and boost overall performance. Seagate hinted that hybrids will cost about 10 percent more than regular drives.

Vendors should release hybrids close to the ship date of Microsoft's Vista OS, which will include ReadyBoost, a feature that can use flash memory to accelerate system responsiveness. (See Plugged In, for another Samsung flash-based product that will offer hybrid capabilities.)

Still, mobile pros who can deal with the smaller capacity of a pure SSD--and can afford it--will love the 32GB SSD.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon L. Jacobi

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?