Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 30th Dec 2008 21:29 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems While solid state drives are very well suited for netbooks from a power efficiency viewpoint, they pose problems when it comes to capacity (and performance, but that's another matter). In order to combat this issue, MSI has launched a new netbook with a hybrid approach to storage: it has a solid state drive for the operating system and applications, and a conventional hard drive for storage.
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Performance probs will be gone soonish
by kragil on Tue 30th Dec 2008 21:47 UTC
kragil
Member since:
2006-01-04

I am still waiting for the first netbooks with fast SSDs. Once fast SSDs will be mainstream netbooks will be the devices to ship them in big numbers is what I am guessing.
There is really no reason why netbook SSDs should stay slow.

I will buy a very fast Linux netbook in 2009. I am fairly sure.

Reply Score: 4

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

There is really no reason why netbook SSDs should stay slow.


Except price. You want a faster SSD, you have to pay a higher price, which could push it out of the inexpensive range, and make it a poor seller. Anything over $300 is really hard to justify, even with such high portability, and if you're going to spend over $500, you may as well just get a laptop.

Reply Score: 4

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

You want a faster SSD, you have to pay a higher price, which could push it out of the inexpensive range, and make it a poor seller.

Quite true, for now. SsD's are still relatively new, as compared to standard magnetic hard drives. The more widespread they become, the more the price will drop. You couldn't always get an 80 gb, 7200 RPM hard drive for $60 USD, I remember when a 6.5 gb would run $120 USD easy, and that wasn't even a fast drive by today's standards. However, there's no telling when high quality SSDs will come down in price, and it probably won't happen for another couple of years yet, at least. This hybrid approach looks interesting for the interim.

Reply Score: 2

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I remember when a 6.5 gb would run $120 USD easy

I paid $229 for my first hard drive. It was a 20MB Seagate ST-225.

Reply Score: 2

weildish Member since:
2008-12-06

While we're reminiscing (sorry to get slightly off-topic), I didn't get this drive-- my dad did, back in the 80's... I'm not sure of the price, but I think he paid $1,000 for a 1 GB SCSI hard drive that was the size and thickness of... maybe one of HP's micro towers they're selling these days. It even had its own cooling fan. All for a black-and-white screened Macintosh Plus. Ah, how I miss playing Arkanoid on that beast. ;)

Reply Score: 1

renox Member since:
2005-07-06

"There is really no reason why netbook SSDs should stay slow.

Except price.
"
Sure but
1) note the size of the SSD shipped with the netbook: 16GB.
And I would say that this is enough, as you have the HDD for all the multimedia files.

2) One of the reason of the price of fast SSD is that the controler must be complex as it's 'hiding' the Flash behind a 'disk-like' behaviour.
A less transparent interface would probably have better random write performance with a simpler (cheaper) Flash controler, though I don't expect that this'll happen (for the same reason that we're stuck with x86 and Windows instead of Alpha and BeOS: compatibility trump technical performance).

Reply Score: 3

abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

A less transparent interface would probably have better random write performance with a simpler (cheaper) Flash controler, though I don't expect that this'll happen (for the same reason that we're stuck with x86 and Windows instead of Alpha and BeOS: compatibility trump technical performance).


It would be nice if you could change the mode of the SSD from HDD compatiblity to RAW mode so a specialized filesystem could take advantage of direct access to the disk. This would work in the interim so systems like Linux could take better advantage of SSD disks. Unfortunately we live in a Windows world and I don't think they have a vested interest in creating another filesystem.

Reply Score: 3

dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

even with such high portability, and if you're going to spend over $500, you may as well just get a laptop.

Surely I cannot be the only one for whom size and weight is the main selling point of a netbook, not price. What I want is a small, 1 kg laptop, and I'd happily pay $500-800 for one with great performance and battery life.

To me netbooks and full size laptops are two different product ranges. If I'm in the market for a netbook I'm not going to get something large and heavy instead just because it's a bit cheaper.

Reply Score: 3

bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

kragil pointed out...

There is really no reason why netbook SSDs should stay slow.


phoenix blustered back...
Except price. You want a faster SSD, you have to pay a higher price, which could push it out of the inexpensive range, and make it a poor seller. Anything over $300 is really hard to justify, even with such high portability, and if you're going to spend over $500, you may as well just get a laptop.


I see you're one of those people who are unable to see something with the size, portability, and price--yes price-- of these devices as anything other than a toy.

Too bad for you, you're going to be missing out on a lot of fun and useful stuff by persisting in this error.

For the first time in my life I have true computing portability with my ASUS EeePC 901. I can write, surf the net, play games, listen to music, play videos, compile code...

Anything I could do on my desktop I can do on my ASUS EeePC, but with the bonus of being able to take my EeePC with me anywhere. Without going frantic over whether or not the 6-8hr battery will last long enough to complete my work until I can get to a power outlet.

Why would I (or anybody else) want to spend more money on a "real" laptop whose size makes a complete mockery out its supposed portability when there are finally affordable options that deliver on their promises?

While I'm not exactly thrilled at the options game the various netbook companies are playing right now, if I have to pay more I'll do so to enhance the truly portable device, not to get the overheated behemoth with its two hour (if I'm lucky) battery life.

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

phoenix blustered back...
"Except price. You want a faster SSD, you have to pay a higher price, which could push it out of the inexpensive range, and make it a poor seller. Anything over $300 is really hard to justify, even with such high portability, and if you're going to spend over $500, you may as well just get a laptop.


I see you're one of those people who are unable to see something with the size, portability, and price--yes price-- of these devices as anything other than a toy.

Too bad for you, you're going to be missing out on a lot of fun and useful stuff by persisting in this error.
"

Nice try. See, I have an Asus eeePC 701, and use it just about everyday. It's quite a useful little thing. But there's no way I'd pay over $500 CDN for one, no matter how fast the CPU/SSD was.

Reply Score: 2

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Nice try. See, I have an Asus eeePC 701, and use it just about everyday. It's quite a useful little thing. But there's no way I'd pay over $500 CDN for one, no matter how fast the CPU/SSD was.


Quite right. The reason that Netbooks are popular is primarily because of price. Once the price point rises to the same level as a low-end notebook, you might as well use the notebook -- because the notebook is actually a better deal for the money, in terms of CPU, memory, storage, display, keyboard, expansion, etc.

Reply Score: 2

bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

tomcat chimed in with...

Quite right. The reason that Netbooks are popular is primarily because of price. Once the price point rises to the same level as a low-end notebook, you might as well use the notebook -- because the notebook is actually a better deal for the money, in terms of CPU, memory, storage, display, keyboard, expansion, etc.


Yep a low end notebook looks to be a better deal in everything, except mobility...in which case what exactly is the point?

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 2

bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

phoenix retorted...

Nice try. See, I have an Asus eeePC 701, and use it just about everyday. It's quite a useful little thing. But there's no way I'd pay over $500 CDN for one, no matter how fast the CPU/SSD was.


Oh, yes--I do see. No wonder you consider it a toy if you have one of the broken Celeron models! (Yes, broken--any laptop whose battery can drain dead even while off is broken in my opinion.) Not to mention the utter uselessness of a mobile device that is incapable of getting more than two hours battery life in general, but that's just me...

If you could only use one of the Atom processor models with a well setup installation of Ubuntu I think you'd probably change your mind on the value of these little laptops. It really is night and day in difference with an EeePC that can last somewhere on the average of seven or more hours use and yet can still do CPU intensive tasks.

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Oh, yes--I do see. No wonder you consider it a toy if you have one of the broken Celeron models! (Yes, broken--any laptop whose battery can drain dead even while off is broken in my opinion.) Not to mention the utter uselessness of a mobile device that is incapable of getting more than two hours battery life in general, but that's just me...


Don't know what you are doing with yours if you only get 2 hours of use. I get almost 4 hours of use from mine when surfing the net, and almost 3 hours when watching tv shows on it.

If you could only use one of the Atom processor models with a well setup installation of Ubuntu


I do have a well-setup Kubuntu 8.10 installation on mine, running KDEE 4.1.

I think you'd probably change your mind on the value of these little laptops. It really is night and day in difference with an EeePC that can last somewhere on the average of seven or more hours use and yet can still do CPU intensive tasks.


That may be, but like I already said, they're still not worth $500+ CDN. Once you cross the $500 mark, the price overcomes any portability factors. There's just no way to justify spending over $500 on a netbook.

When you get into the $500-800 price range, most people's justification is "I need the CPU power/RAM space/screen space that the larger/faster netbooks have". Well, if you need all that power, why are looking at netbooks? For the same price, you can get a lot more CPU/RAM/screen in a laptop.

You have to balance portability, price, and performance. For me, the tipping point between netbook/laptop is $500. For you, it seems to be a lot higher. For others, a lot lower.

Edited 2009-01-04 08:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by shiny
by shiny on Tue 30th Dec 2008 22:46 UTC
shiny
Member since:
2005-08-09

but note how every news site mentions the lack of a Linux model!

Well that's interesting to hear, really.

Reply Score: 4

Finally
by noamsml on Wed 31st Dec 2008 02:39 UTC
noamsml
Member since:
2005-07-09

I've wanted to try that approach with my laptop for awhile, but I wasn't sure both the SSD and HDD would fit together.

Reply Score: 1

Fantastic strategy
by sbergman27 on Wed 31st Dec 2008 04:45 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

Their strategy is stunningly brilliant. Put the stuff that is easily replaced on a nearly indestructible SSD drive. But to save on cost, put the user's invaluable data on the equivalent of a china platter, which will shatter into bits if the unit is ever dropped. And package it all into a form factor which encourages the user to take it with them everywhere.

Edited 2008-12-31 04:56 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: Fantastic strategy
by joekiser on Wed 31st Dec 2008 05:30 UTC in reply to "Fantastic strategy"
joekiser Member since:
2005-06-30

I think it's a clever setup. The larger, less accessed personal data is stored on the cheaper medium (normal HDD) while the more frequently accessed data, essential for the netbook to run, is stored on the faster, more durable SSD. In the end, the user is no worse off than someone who saves their data on a normal laptop (unless we're talking about a Thinkpad or Toughbook).

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Fantastic strategy
by sbergman27 on Wed 31st Dec 2008 05:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Fantastic strategy"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I think it's a clever setup. The larger, less accessed personal data is stored on the cheaper medium (normal HDD) while the more frequently accessed data, essential for the netbook to run, is stored on the faster, more durable SSD.

The more frequently accessed data would already have been stored in ram in page cache.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Fantastic strategy
by renox on Wed 31st Dec 2008 09:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Fantastic strategy"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Except that there's 1GB of RAM and 16GB of Flash of course.
Plus that the RAM only work as a cache for reading, in you want to do synchronous write it's much less useful whereas the Flash will also provide fast (provided the controler has a good algorithm for writing) synchronous writes.

I remember a few month ago that there were complaints about Firefox3beta which was doing too many 'sync' and this had poor performance, so this is not just a theoretical issue or something which concern only database servers..

Reply Score: 2

RE: Fantastic strategy
by silix on Wed 31st Dec 2008 15:08 UTC in reply to "Fantastic strategy"
silix Member since:
2006-03-01

Their strategy is stunningly brilliant. <...>
even more so, considering that, since they put the OS on the SSD, it's quite likely they also let the swap file reside on it... (and we know how much flash memories like repeated writes... ) ;)

Reply Score: 1

Give it time
by centos_user on Wed 31st Dec 2008 14:26 UTC
centos_user
Member since:
2008-11-16

In 2 years the drives will be standard eqip and something else will come along.


It is time for the mechanical drive to go out to pasture and never return!

SDD is the future and the day they are able to build high speed SAN/NFS storage it will blow the mechanical drives out of the water and be 100 better, less heat, power ect.

Electricity is going to get very expensive the same as oil did and it will put the computing industry on its knees. The auto industry got rocked off its foundation and the next up is computing.

With Obama's coal tax on power plants it will cause total chaos in the market that will be coming very soon and big flat panel tv's, power hungry pc's will be targeted and it will be another man made 'electricity shortage' the same as the oil LIE being a shortage only to drop to below $50 a barrel after it was at $150+ a few months ago...

Mark my words it is coming and DataCenter CO-LO's are going to get mega costly, along with memory and storage. Programmers will have to learn how to program with needing 64G like Oracle does with big databases...

End of cheap memory, storage is coming, get prepared and get ready to pay electricity bills...

Reply Score: 1

SDD is the future
by centos_user on Wed 31st Dec 2008 22:07 UTC
centos_user
Member since:
2008-11-16

You can purchase Blades with SDD in them, some people talk about writes on SDD devices, however with time they will become 1000 times more reliable than mechanical hard-drives that fail.

I think MS holds back hardware innovation, look at 64-bit applications, the Linux distro's have taken and ran with 64 bit and MS Windows is struggling and the hardware vendors have not made much progress except in the Server arena.

On the home user end, 32 bit needs to be killed off and 64 bit needs to happen.

Reply Score: 1

RE: SDD is the future
by bannor99 on Wed 31st Dec 2008 23:48 UTC in reply to "SDD is the future"
bannor99 Member since:
2005-09-15

Server blades are more likely to use single level cell SSDs which have a write-erase life about 10x greater than the MLC SSDs that are targeted for the desktop.
SLCs have lower memory density but typically faster write speeds.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: SDD is the future
by centos_user on Wed 31st Dec 2008 23:51 UTC in reply to "RE: SDD is the future"
centos_user Member since:
2008-11-16

It will filter down to laptops/desktops with time, really to me technology as in hardware has stagnated but the economic downturn has hurt it a lot. Plus the dot-com blow out several years ago knocked out a lot of companies.

To me companies will be cutting back on software licensing and cost associated with it, since so many are going under Open Source alternatives will be gaining head wind.

Reply Score: 1