Computer Manufacturers Using Flash Disks

Fujitsu has joined the ranks of computer manufacturers using flash memory in place of hard drives, offering 16GB or 32GB flash memory disks as an option on the new B-series machines due in late October and the Q-series machines in early November. Is this an advantage? Sure, the machines will boot up noticeably faster, the B-series machine will take about 19 seconds to start up running Windows XP Home Edition compared to 32 seconds for a hard-disk drive version. They will also have a longer battery life since the flash memory uses less power, adding 15 minutes uptime to the B-series and 30 minutes to the Q-series machines.

The flash memory is made by Samsung, who has already released two machines using the flash memory earlier this year, the Q30 laptop and Q1-SSD ultra-mobile PC. Sony is shipping one machine, a small size portable pc, released in Japan only.

The downside? Price. The 16GB disk will add $670 to the price of the computer while the 32GB disk will add $1340. Is it worth the small increases? Probably not yet. When there are more manufacturers shipping more machines using the flash memory, the prices will come down, but right now, I can’t see paying almost $700 more for 13 seconds of boot up time and 15 more minutes of battery life. Plus, with Windows Vista’s ability to use hybrid drives, using Windows Readyboost and Windows Readydrive, you will be able to add flash memory yourself to speed up boot up times.

My advice, if you are buying it for yourself, stick with a regular hard drive and save some money, but if your work is buying it for you, tell them you have to have it and let us know how much you like it.