back to article Apple signals disk free notebooks way to go

Apple's new MacBook Air is as cheap as the MacBook at £849, signalling the end of premium pricing for Apple's slim hinged flash slab. When it was introduced two years ago the MacBook Air was priced pretty high but it had a great spec. It still does but the smaller 11-inch screen model is now priced like the entry level MacBook …

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  1. Gideon 1
    Jobs Halo

    Apple sycophants

    Sycophantic drivel. Mac Airs are hugely overpriced for what they are, and therefore not main market.

  2. James Cooke

    Surpised?

    Was there any question that as soon as it became affordable that flash would take over? Most people use a tiny fraction of the disk space given to them. I predict the sweet spot for switch over from disk to flash will be when 128GB drives get into medium or high/medium end laptops.

    64GB just isn't quite enough when Windows can take 30GB. An 80GB flash drive might just be enough but gives enough breathing room for as much music as 95% of the population have plus a good quantity of video and pictures.

    Given Moores law and this announcement by Apple (who have a huge advantage given how much flash they already consume) expect that by next Christmas.

  3. Mage Silver badge

    Aggressive pricing?

    Only against "designer product" and Mac.

    it's twice to three times as much as the average punter needs to speed for ordinary laptop/netbook but inferior spec to £800 gamers laptop like an MSI "desktop replacement".

  4. Timothy Slade
    Joke

    So...

    Apple does do Flash?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Gamers laptops

      Totally different market.

      How many 'gamers laptops' do you see in airport business lounges or conference halls?

      1. Mahou Saru

        Gamer Laptop?

        M11X!!!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      OSX

      I have a Dell Mini 9 with 16 Gb of SSD. I have installed OSX 10.6 onto it, after some trimming I now have 6 Gb left, with applications installed as well. So a 64 Gb would leave me with roughly 55 Gb of free space (if I install some more apps). That's hardly enough for a decent movie/music collection, but for a secondary ultra-portable machine it will do just fine.

      1. Michael C

        Use case designed

        Considering it;s not upgradable, I'm very surprised there was even a 64GB version. Except for people with very specific use cases, 64GB is tiny. People who pretty much use it exclusively for business. Then again, that's the target market, so BAM.

        also, again, class 10+ SCXC is on offer there, and there are rumored 1TB capacities coming within 2 years (which will cost more than the MBA on release, but the 128 and 256GB ones might be under $100-200 by then)

        Maybe this isn;t so bad. For $200, I'd go 128GB minimum, but for $200 I'd buy a 15" Pro instead and carry the extra 2 lbs...

    3. flameresistant

      64GB surprisingly adequate for a Mac

      Agreed. Looking forward to the prices coming down.

      64GB is sufficient for OS X and a notebook that is not your primary computer. It requires nothing like the 30GB you say is required for Windows. 5GB is the minimum for OS X but you use a bit more in practice.

      Many of us use a lot of multimedia files so 64GB isn't anything like enough if you wanted to use an 11" air as your primary computer. That said, it would probably only be the lightest type of computer user who would choose the 11" model as a primary computer anyway.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        a

        What the hell are you on about? 30 Gigs?

        I have windows 7 ultimate installed on my 16 gig solid state drive and there's enough space for a bunch of games and office.

        1. Wibble
          WTF?

          How?

          I have bare-bones Vista & 7 VMs that I can't get below 12Gb - that's *only* for testing browsers, compared with XP's 2.5 GB. Something to do with Microsoft's inability to sort out DLL hell; save every DLL in the winsxs directory. Google for "huge windows folder".

          The new Air machines, particularly the small one, will rarely be used as a primary machine and probably used as a lightweight secondary "proper" machine to take on the road (e.g. where an iPad isn't sufficient). You're unlikely to need loads of space for music/videos, OK, a few Windows VMs might need some room.

          I'm really looking forwards to seeing the small one. I might just buy one to upset the second poster! It looks so pretty, I could get one just to put on the wall to look at a thing of beauty. Chuck another acer/hp/tosh on the fire...

        2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
          Stop

          64 gigs is may not be enough.

          If I were to get one of these things (new mb airs - and I wouldn't!) I would probably go the whole hog for 128. They are extremely costly for portable machines, and appear to have no user accessable parts allowing for DIY upgrades... but who knows, they may be sweet to use.

          For perspective:

          My two macs have 1/2 gig winchesters with tons of crap aboard.

          I've got an Eee with a 64 gig SSD and things, JUST about fit (ok I double boot win/linux) very SNUGLY.

          Right so I've got an essentially full dev (gcc/gtk/gnome/xfce no kde) capable linux install and windows xp with visual studio.

          Remember OS updates tend to take up a couple of hundred megs. Mac case in point - the recent java patch was over a hundred megs to 022. Consider that you'll probably want to put MP3's on it for your own entertainent perhaps... My own collection is in the order of 10 gigs.

    4. OMGROFLSKATES
      Coat

      Jealousy and Inferiority Complex? Maybe Synonymous?

      So here you are, reducing something because you find it expensive.

      Not because of Engineering you have yet to experience nor understand.

      Not because of an AntennaGate public Reality Distorting style brou-ha-ha going viral with comments likes yours.

      Not because the "Main Market" has done what it did to the Zune, similar price as the "iPod Clasic" but never understood that rapid, successive refreshes keeps things cool

      (random side note, Look up how Jean-Chretien, Canadian Liberal Prime Minister during the 90's (suck it Harper-ites and Neo-cons), he ran this country; the same way Jobs sells his vision and people lap it up like soup, elections every 3 years. Constant brand F5. Funny, business logic applies to politics too, might want to look up social engineering.)

      Not because you actually held it, dis-liked it and said no THEN decided to post your drivel.

      you bash it because you can't afford it. Whine B**ch Moan and complain, why not save. Now counter with predictable "I no like nothing coming from fake prophet Jobs." *dueling banjos* and we can all go home.

      Dont interpret this as pro-Jobs either, he's got the business sense to charge 200% markup on the same pool of chips as Dell, Acer, HP et al. are not so they charge 299 and make nothing. Their Bread and butter is Services like IBM. Everyone wants to be like Mike. The race to the bottom is not a race you want to win.

      Rather lacking your post was. Please return the electrons wasted on your post. I'll wait 'till AirGate starts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Whiney Apple fanboy plays the jealousy card and fails.

        It always amazes me the arrogance of the Jobs gobblers who believe that the only reason people don't kiss his worships fondle products is due to financial difficulties.

        Then they gloat in deluded self satisfaction that we are all pressing our noses at the window of the Jobsian cult with tears in our green envious eyes.

        Get over yourselves you pompous overbearing twits.

        1. Dan 10
          FAIL

          @Marcus Dubious

          It always amazes me how people see what they want to see, not what was written. OP said that the product was hugely overpriced - and the reply accused him of 'reducing something because you find it expensive' - I'd say the criticism was fairly accurate, given that the OP didn't offer any other reason for disliking the kit. Neither did either one of them suggest that the OP as an individual couldn't afford it - in the same way as I could afford a VW Golf, but I wouldn't, because I think they are overpriced for what they are.

          Neither did he really imply that he was a fanboy - I know of many apple-haters who will begrudgingly admit to admiring the level of engineering, user experience and product management thinking that go into Apple products.

          Perhaps the lady doth protest too much...?!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Grenade

          NOES!!

          OMGOMG there's like so TOTALLY gonna be this big Apple / No Apple opinionwar kicking off now!!

          Can we have a Propellerheads feat. Shirley Bassey icon, please?

        3. OMGROFLSKATES
          Megaphone

          @Marcus dubious

          I surprises me the surprising amount of oxygen that gets sucked out of the room by the Internet At Large who believe bashing an opinion because it dosnt fit their reality distortion field.

          they be-little thoes who speak passionately about something they like, You bemoan that it actually sounds intelligent and see the issue and post not for what it is but for what your reality distorion thinks it is, through your green jaded eyes.

          get over yourself, my 3 y/o can make a more constructive argument and she can barely say "dada"

          Bull-Horn for blowhards like you!

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Out of touch Billionaires...

        Engineering is about learning to live with economic constraints, not completely ignoring them.

        So yes "it's too bloody expensive" is a valid criticism.

        This is another fine example of Jobs living as if it is 10 years in the future.

    5. Michael C

      wrong.

      Spec for spec, yea, it's way overpriced, if you call the specs the CPU and storage and screen. BUT, the spec of this machine it NOT it;s performance class, it;s the fact it weighs under 3lbs, AND has a long lasting battery, and is thin enough to fit in a folio let alone a bag.

      The "instant on" function is also VERY nice for business people, and un-offered on anything other than phones and the iPad. "off" or "sleep" is technically ON, for up to 30 days, CONNECTED to the web and getting mail and other messages all the time.

      People pay HIGE rpemiums to get a device in a certain size/weight class, especially one that is also durable, and more so if it has 5+ hour active use battery life (this has 7, and yes, that's a real number..., my wife's MBP gets 6 hours playing an MMO in a VM over WiFI and near 7 hours just surfing.).

      Add to this that this mac actually has a GPU, one capable of limited 3D gaming (think WoW), and can drive a 30" cinema display, and there is no machine on the market in its class. At $1399 it will FLY off shelves to businesses.

      the CPU is a bit weak, but the flash storage makes up for some of the lag. The CPU can actually handle running a VM fairly well, or lots of multi-tasking. Its not going to do video editing of 1080p content in real time, but that's not its design point. A C2Duo is really not a bad CPU. My main gaming and VM rig at home is only a C2Duo 2.3GHz.

      Find me a 3lb ultra-compact machine with over 800 vertical line screen (this has 900), a GPU, and a 5 hour battery at a lower price. throw in WiFi N and Bluetooth, which most business customers need and are rarely both offered on the same machine even in full weight laptops?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What about all those business...

        apps written in Java?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          They'll still work

          ~For now anyway.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Let's compare

      Show me a 2.3 lbs PC laptop with a Core 2 Duo, SSD, and 5 hours of battery life. Then let's compare prices.

      1. Shingo Tamai

        Yaeah, Let's compare...

        Dell M101Z

        1K325 Dual 3 Ghz

        4 GB RAM

        11.6" 1366x768 LED display

        It does not come with a SSD but with a 320GB 7200RPM hard drive.

        Anyway since it costs 618EUR including 3 years warranty, I guess you could buy a decent SSD and still spend less.

        The MBA is a nice machine, but boost the RAM, boost the SSD and you will spend slightly less than buying a MBP 13".

        1. gabor1
          Jobs Halo

          apple, gravity, etc.

          Shame about the 1.56 Kg weight... the *comparable size* MBA (11.6") is 1.04 Kg. That's less than two thirds the weight. If you look at price vs. weight, it's a steep curve. You may not care as I happen to, but still do please compare apples with apples.

        2. Shingo Tamai

          1K325 to be read as...

          K325 Dual 1.3 Ghz

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        ...ignoring important details.

        > Show me a 2.3 lbs PC laptop with a Core 2 Duo

        Make mine something not so weak that you wonder why not just get an Atom?

        1.4Ghz? Indeed.

        It's little wonder you left that little detail out.

  5. Mage Silver badge

    Faster?

    Some SSD are slower, much slower on Write. Huge improvement on Aspire one swapping standard SSD module for ZIF -CF adaptor + Compact Flash card.

    Ironically SSD will perform better than HDD for Multi-user server than on a notebook as the weakness of HDD is random access, but can easily beat most SSD/Flash on sequential writes.

    Decent RAID5 though over 5 or 6 drives with a stripe size cache on bus and controller/software that truly does parallel commands on the disk will make most SSD writes look very slow.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Decent RAID5?

      There's no such thing as "decent RAID5". If you have R5 that seems "decent" it's because there is a big RAM cache sitting between you and the disks and it hasn't been saturated yet because you aren't doing anything serious.

      1. Steven Jones

        "no such things as decent RAID5"

        Yes there is, but not in anything at the retail level. To make it work well you need NV RAM (lots of it) and lots of controller optimisations like asynchronous write staging.

        However, it's hardly a solution for the average person.

    2. lurker

      slow writes?

      Your information is a bit out of date. The earliest SSDs were not too fast on sustained writes, but the current generation of retail SSDs, typically using the SF1200 controllers, are kicking out around 270MB/sec, which is considerably faster than the fastest mechanical drives. And that's without even considering the real advantages of SSDs - the huge improvement in IOPS (which you did mention) and the almost complete removal of latency.

      And as for RAID - SSDs can be set up in RAID configurations too. There are some issues with TRIM and RAID, but these will be resolved soon as modern controllers are increasingly doing their own garbage collection without needing TRIM.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The entry level MacBook has a 50 Gb HD"

    It's a 250 Gb HD.

    http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_mac/family/macbook?mco=MTM3NjU3MDM

  7. Andre Carneiro
    Thumb Up

    Flash is the way forward...

    I fitted a 256GB Crucial C300 SSD to my computer. I use it as my boot drive and have a couple of games in it. My "user files" like music, photos and videos are kept in a standard 1TB Drive.

    From a purely user-centric perspective, I willl never, if I can help it, go back to rotational media as my primary storage. Steve Jobs is right on this one.

    Of course, if you want decent performance (both for reads and writes)from your SSD, you certainly have to pay the premium at the moment. But I think it's definitely the future.

    1. Steven Jones

      Agreed

      I have something very similar with a 256GB SSD for the system plus some of the more volatile work areas. The rest I have on a pair of 2TB drives setup as a RAID-0 pair. The RAID-0 gives slightly more than double the number of read IOPs as a single disk (although only for multi-threads - any single thread will not see anything faster than a single disk). The other big thing was moving to Windows 7 and the machine just flies along - close down and reboot to fully ready is less than 80 seconds, 30 seconds of which is down to the BIOS. This is despite a very large number of apps.

      The hard drives are find for video, large photos, music but you want your meta-data on the SSD. I run LightRoom with the catalogue on SSD and the photos on RAID1 and it's pretty near perfect.

      Of course this is hardly a cheap set-up, but fortunately it's the sort of thing you can grow to and, at a push, an 64GB SSD is enough.

  8. melt
    Boffin

    TRIM

    Has MacOS X implemented TRIM yet?

    1. Andre Carneiro

      Not yet...

      ... but rumor has it that it may be implemented in the next revision of Snow Leopard (10.6.5) or Lion (at the latest).

  9. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Happy

    Sounds Familiar ?

    No CD or DVD, no hard drive ... how long until it boots from the net connection?

    I'm looking around for a machine for my 12 year old's birthday and in general something like this would be nice except that ... without a DVD, how's she going to watch The Matrix and Rome box sets? Oh, sure, it's possible with rip and transfer but she's going to want a simpler solution than that.

    Nope - it's just another overpriced iPad ... all Apple gear seems to be converging towards the consumer entertainment market ... I wonder is Apple are going to buy AOL? The circle would be complete.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      For situations like that...

      ...a portable DVD drive is recommended and available at your nearest electronics store.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Troll

      title is here

      You can buy a cheaper laptop for your 12yo, not really an issue. But if I recall The Matrix was rated 15 and Rome 18, are you sure that's appropriate viewing?

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
        Happy

        Ratings

        She likes them - they're discussing The Matrix in her English class at school and while Rome has it's share of amusements we'd rather she watched it with us (her parents) than snickered about it behind our backs ...

        Antony: I'm not rising from bed until I f*ck someone.

        Atia: Fine, fine. Merula, fetch that German slut from the kitchen.

        Anyway - I can remember what I was reading at 12 ...

        1. Bob Gateaux
          WTF?

          "they're discussing The Matrix in her English class at school"

          Good to see the education system still teaching the classics - Shakespeare, Orwell, Tolstoy, Wachowski...

          Thank God they're not dumbing down.

    3. behzad
      Pirate

      Well...

      ...you could just download them, which I think is fair enough if you already own the DVDs.

    4. DZ-Jay

      Re: Sounds Familiar

      It's ironic (in the idiotic American sense) that your comment ends with the observation that "all Apple gear seems to be converging towards the consumer entertainment market," while you complain about the struggle of your kid to watch The Matrix and Rome videos.

      Perhaps you should ask your kid if she wants an iPad instead?

      -dZ.

    5. Michael C

      Simple solutions

      In the home, the MBA connects to any PC or Mac hosting DVD drive through a simple driver. You can even boot from that remote DVD over WiFi.

      On the road, when you really need a drive, you'll have an external kicking around in your travel bags.

      Stream it. No need to own it. You only need a drive if you already plopped down the cash for physical media in the past.

      Don't buy a 12 year old a machine designed for traveling class business users, buy then a more durable, more flexible machine that costs less and has more performance and can adapt to their changing needs, and has the storage to handle a 12-16 year olds needs.

      Oh, and if you;re thinking about a machine for a 12 year old, it REALLY should have a discrete GPU. preferably closer to the top of the class. If your kid both doesn't play games, and you don't expect them to for the next 4+ years, you are a very rare case.

      The MBA costs half again what a regular Mac costs because of it;s form factor, not it's capabilities. Small costs more.

  10. Cameron Colley

    Why are Apple getting any credit?

    My couple-of-year old EEEPC has flash storage only, and a quick google tells me Sony have had flash-based notebooks out since at least 2007.

    As has been mentioned above, the move to flash was obvious for all to see -- the only reason netbooks don't now hve flash by default is that windows is bloated and crap, otherwise you can bet that most would be shipping with flash storage already.

    Steve Jobs did not predict anything here and is not leading in any way. Why is it that anyone believes that Apple innovate when all they do is follow market trends in a clever way?

    1. Peter Mc Aulay
      Flame

      Re: Why are Apple getting any credit

      For the same reason everyone pretends there were no hard disk based MP3 players before the iPod.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    disk/disc-less Macs

    I don't agree with Jobs' idea that this is the way forward. I definitely don't agree with his idea that Blu-ray is a world of pain either.

    I am a person who still enjoys buying movies on disc. It's the tactile enjoyment of it all. Plus the fact that you can't really easily bring a movie over to watch in a mate's house if it's a download.

    Also, most of the HD downloads are not full 1080p, which is what Blu-ray is.

    So this is all pointing me to the fact that I don't download, and won't be for quite some time too.

    1. Jim Kirby
      Stop

      Get off your lawn

      Old much?

    2. Donut4000
      Thumb Down

      'Tactile Enjoyment.."

      Sure you're not thinking of vinyl? I love my record collection - from the cover art, the slight crackle of the needle when you put one on - and the fact you had to hunt for the good ones. However, CD's and DVD are just an accident waiting to happen in terms of data security (CRC errors anyone..). I have no fondness for spinney media of any sort, including hard drives (and blue ray is a BIG accident waiting to happen..). I just can't afford SSDs at the mo, so it'll be hard drives for a wee bit yet. Chips for the win!

      1. dssf

        Downloading of movies?

        Just a MIM attack waiting to happen. Of course, surfing to any web site can result in a MIM attack, too. I, too, enjoy buying the DVD. It's tactile, took as with vinyl.

        But, i wish sold DVDs came in slimmer cases unless they actually contain multiple accessory discs. The thinner ones have a more crush-resistant mounting spindle, and i think fewer discs would rotate and scratch themselves in transit. What i like about some of the Asian DVD sales outlets is that certain titles have discs inserted into cloth sleeves which are themselves in plastic protectors, and then those are all inserted into the standard plastic holder. This way, if you want to carry your disc and leave the art and shipper home, just grab the cloth cover.

        However, because my battery last only about 1 hour (HP Pavilion d7, ATI HD 3200 or 3400 chip, running Linux and VirtualBox, in a laptop that has an always-on-in-Linux fan sucking down juice like crazy), i am seriously considering ripping my discs to the hard drive when i want to watch something on my commute. But, i haven't enough disk space on my formatted partitions. I still have 250 GB of unformatted space, but ... well, one day I'll get 'round to it.

    3. Michael C

      BR is pain

      it's called HDCP. Do some research. reading from and writing to BD media, including all the HDCP required chipsets in between, and ensuring encryption standards, is VERY much a pain. The very vast majority of notebooks and desktops with BR drives do NOT support HDCP. You have to have a discrete GPU first of all, thats a minimum requirement, plus certified drivers soup to nuts, specific chipsets, and limited output options. That means most notebooks "appear" to play BD media fine, but as soon as you find a disk with the appropriate flag set (original copies of Spiderman 2 and a few dozen other "accidental"releases) it WILL NOT PLAY. (or you get SD only, and no stereo surround). The industry is set to flip the bit for ALL disks starting in 2012 (unless they delay again), and that means any machine that does not supprot HDCP will be incapable of playing an new media after that point. Apple will NOT put their users in that situation.

      Then, there's the still evolving spec. BR is NOT a complete spec. It;s still in development. Any change to it could render back hardware incompatible with future features.

      Then, it's fracking expensive. Not the drive, the license to make software. We're not talking small amounts of money. to a hardware company like Dell, they donl;t write read/write software, or develop Br players. Apple (does (even Microsoft stayed out of that game!). The fees are PER RELEASE, not per title, so a Mac version of an app incurs a royalty in addition to the Windows version of the same app, and that meansd little support from OEM drive makers to write apple native players.

      this is much the same reason Linux support also wanes for BR media. There are some "qustionably" legal aps out there, for which the correct royalties or licensing was never paid), but there is no official supprot for Br media in Linux. the cost is simply too high.

      Apple solved the issue of moving media. iPod/iPad. Sync it, bring it with you. You can play with either with a cable, or via the AirPlay compatible device (ATV) they have. But why sync it at all, when you can just leave your Mac or PC online at home and stream over the net anything in your entire collection through your phone? Physical media is pretty much dead with this generation. It really isn;t needed anymore unless you hold onto the "physically in my hand" aspects (which are irrelevent and just preference). I can agree with book people that physical books are better (they serve aesthetic purposes, fill walls, etc), but video footage is so east to come by, and so easy to share (and cheaper) without media.

      Also, when BR players were $300-400 (and more) and PC drives were significantly cheaper, it was acceptable to considder the PC an option. BD players in PCs come at more of a premium than a set to box, and set top boxes also stream.

      1. Frank Bough
        WTF?

        WTF?

        First up, Apple have long been part of the BluRay Disc Assoc. so they've always known all about the tech requirements of BR, and can easily accommodate them if the so choose. Secondly, BR players are now available for <£100, and have been for some time. Thirdly, Apple's only objection to BluRay movies is there own commercial interest in selling/renting movies and TV shows via iTMS.

  12. flameresistant

    Definitely The Way Forward

    The light weight, instant on, long battery life, fantastic screen and small size will make the airs attractive to many. Bit pricey compared to an equivalent MacBook Pro right now so I'll hang on until the price drops before I upgrade.

    It will be really interesting to see how much the Windows machine manufacturers charge if they follow suit and produce models with flash instead of hard drives. Since Apple buy more flash than anyone else by a long way, it will be interesting to see what advantage any associated buying power gives them. I don't think the day will come when you don't have to pay a premium for Apple's engineering quality but I suspect the gap will shrink.

    1. uhuznaa

      Take a look around...

      There are quite a few very comparable machines out there (from Sony, Dell, Acer...). If you spec them the same as the Air they're not cheaper. I would really like the Reg doing some charts and benchmarks here.

    2. Steven Pemberton

      Finally

      > It will be really interesting to see how much the Windows machine

      > manufacturers charge if they

      > follow suit and produce models with flash instead of hard drives.

      Two years ago I bought a Toshiba laptop with 2×128G SSDs, weighs 800g, lovely machine, I dual-boot Ubuntu off it. Cost me €1 per gram, ex., so it's interesting to see how much Apple are charging now they are following suit.

  13. uhuznaa

    DVDs...

    I mean, you can plug any external DVD drive into that thing which surely would be enough to watch a movie now and then at home?

    Optical drives are on the way out the very same way floppies went. I think I used the drive of my MB three times last year.

    I agree though that 64 GB is tight if this is not just a secondary machine. You'd need cheap cloud mass storage to overcome that and of course a fast mobile network connection and the Air comes with neither. I still like the base 11.6" model.

    Another thing: Speed is not so easy to judge with SSDs. Even if the plain read and write speed isn't *that* fast, they have no seek times and are really fast when gathering up lots of small files. Almost any app nowadays reads hundreds or thousands of small files at startup and HDs have a really bad impact here. In my experience even slow SSDs feel much faster in daily use because of this.

  14. The New Turtle
    Coat

    When will OSX get it's act together over handling SSD drives?

    And as was asked earlier, will there be an equivalent of TRIM sometime soon? I don't think the Mac is quite ready for SSD yet.

    I'm still trying to find the data where I left it.....

  15. Bruno Girin
    Thumb Up

    Agreed

    I replaced the HDD in my main laptop with a 64GB SSD a year ago (64GB is ample space for Ubuntu) and there's no way I'm going back to HDD. The difference in performance and response time resulting from the change was such that it felt like I had just bought a brand new computer. In addition, the SSD is a lot more resilient to shocks than the HDD ever was (I killed 2 HDDs in that laptop over the years) which makes a massive difference for a machine that is thrown in a bag and carried around town on a regular basis.

    So my next laptop will have an SSD, no way I'm buying another HDD-based laptop. There's a price premium but it's definitely worth it.

  16. Richard Pennington 1

    No-one has yet commented on reliability,

    Having recently had the "pleasure" of replacing a failed HD in a 3-year-old aluminium iMac (and of working out how to get into the casing to replace the disk...), I have more than a passing interest in reliability. In particular,

    (1) What is the expected lifetime of a SSD compared with a HD (real-life, please, not manufacturers' quoted MTBF)?;

    (2) Is there an equivalent for SSD of DiskWarrior (bow three times and genuflect) for getting files off a failed device?;

    (3) Can the SSD be replaced by simple component replacement (i.e. plugs, not solder)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Should be superior

      Flash wears out eventually but SSD controllers do wear-leveling so you can write a megabyte per second to an SSD continuously for 1000 years before it wears out.

      So it is more likely the controller will wear out first. Which can happen. But how often have chips worn out on you? Same thing could happen with a hard drive.

      There was a teardown of the 11.6" MacBook Air posted somewhere this morning and the SSD looked extremely easy to replace if you have the right screwdriver to get the bottom off the device.

    2. flameresistant

      SSD can be replaced.

      iFixit did a teardown of the 11" model showing the SSD to be a module that is plugged into the motherboard. So it is replaceable but you would probably need Apple to do it for you as it is a custom part.

      http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook-Air-11-Inch-Model-A1370-Teardown/3745/1

      Never seen any data on comparative reliability of SSD and hard drives. That would be very interesting to see. I doubt Apple would bet the future of their notebooks on technology that is likely to be unreliable.

      You can just be unlucky with hard drives. The one in my last Mac lasted over 5 years. The one in my new MacBook Pro went pop within six weeks.

      God I hope my backup practices are never bad enough to need something like DiskWarrior.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iCloud

    That is of course what he's after, expensive non compatible rented space on his cluster of servers somewhere.

    1. DZ-Jay

      Re: iCloud

      I keep reading comments alluding to this mythological "cloud" service that Apple is expected to release Any Day Now(TM), yet I fail to see any evidence.

      Where were the "cloud computing"/"software as service" products in yesterday's Back To Mac announcements, as predicted years ago? It seems that Apple's model may be content /distribution/ and not /rent/ as others are trying to do with questionable results.

      Perhaps all those data centers are there to allow people to purchase content and transfer it in loads of large scale and not necessarily to rent space and access. So far they keep on adding more stuff to their iTunes Store (iPhone/iPad Apps, Movies, TV Shows, and now Mac Apps) that you purchase, download, and (gasp!) own.

      Or are you implying that the AppleTV, the device that sells the least and the one that gets the least loving from the company itself (you know, the "hobby" project) is to be the new flag ship that will herald in a new era of impermanent rent-to-access content delivery? Right. Maybe next year will be the Year Of Linux On The Desktop too.

      -dZ.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Not quite

    "Once notebook users have experienced the fast boot, application load time and speedier experience overall from a flash-based notebook, they won't want to go back to disk drives for storing performance data"

    Only if they have an SSD that's more power-efficient that an HDD! I installed a Crucial RealSSD in my Dell lappy, and the already-unimpressive battery life dropped by maybe a third! So back to the original hard drive (with double the capacity, and not that* much slower once running) for me...

    1. Michael C

      missed the point

      It's not about an SDD in a HDD slot, its about a small amount of SDD to boot from, that is very fast, and also enabling extremely long "standby" times (very different from sleep or hibernate, which a HDD can not compete with).

      SDXC may very well replace HDDs as well in ultra compact machines, but the idea here from Apple is Flash (not SSD) for boot and apps, and "mass storage" for everything else. You'll have a small flash partition on the main board AND a hard disk which may even appear as a seamless partition in 10.7).

      SSDs and HDDs have about the same power requirements (some more or less). Flah onboard however has significant advantages over SSD, in that it can be powered off and yet the PC can continue to run in a low power state.

  19. Artyom Brynn

    Data recovery? Oh dear...

    Would become quite difficult to recover data from such on-board SSD in case of whatever damage happens to PCBs, like pet markings, tea or other liquids spilled.

    Keep your data backed up...

  20. Martin Usher
    Thumb Up

    That's all you need

    None of my computers have anything larger than 50GByte hard drives (I think). The real storage is on the network, its one of those Terabyte+ network drives. My data sits in it like a pea rattling around an empty can -- I've got way too much storage but it handles other media, its accessible to every computer and its easy to back up.

    So Apple's going the right way. Put enough storage on the computer to handle basic software and storage needs and get the rest from the cloud (or, in my case, "cloudlet").

  21. herman Silver badge

    EeePC

    Geez, the EeePC 701 had a SSD and booted rapidly yoinks ago. Apple's is just a little bigger and flatter.

  22. Dabooka Silver badge
    Happy

    History repeating alright....

    I remember, as I'm sure many others do here, making use of Ramdrive in DOS when it became cheap enough to have a whole meg in your PC. I know it was volatile but the principle is the same.

    Now get that Propellerheads icon up as requested earlier!

  23. Gis Bun
    Thumb Down

    So....

    So Apple jacks up the price to fit a flash storage drives - which are still small and costly. On top of that, some say they have issues with an OS installed on it [too much "wear and tear"].

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