Fujitsu, Dell ‘Ivy Bridge’ ultrabooks point to hybrid HDDs

Hybrid storage systems will become common on Ivy Bridge-based ultrabooks.

by Brooke Crothers

With Fujitsu today announcing new ultrabooks based on Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge processor in Japan and Dell’s XPS 14 Ivy Bridge ultrabook imminent in the U.S., it is becoming apparent that spinning hard drives are back in vogue for these slim laptops.

The 0.6-inch thick, 3-pound Fujitsu UH75/H ultrabook comes with a Core i5-3317U (1.7GHz) chip, a 14-inch display with resolutions up to 1920×1080, and a 500GB hard disk drive with a solid-state drive cache for the base model.

That last storage specification matches a similarly-configured Dell XPS 14 ultrabook model that is expected to be announced imminently. And already-announced HP Envy laptops.

The model from HP, for example, specifies a 500GB HDD and 32GB SSD cache: that SSD cache is obviously a lot smaller than a pure 128GB or 256GB solid-state drive found in many ultrabooks to date, but not exactly tiny either. (Think of an iPad, for example, with 32GB of flash storage, total.)

Needless to say, hybrid storage systems are not as fast as pure SSDs. In a review of an Ivy Bridge-based HP Envy 4 “sleekbook” (read: bigger, thicker than an ultrabook) with a 500GB HDD and 32GB SSD, CNET Asia said that it “managed to get the startup time down to around 22 seconds by uninstalling or disabling a number of applications. This compares quite well with the 18.5 seconds on the HP Envy 14 Spectre, which uses an SSD. However, it’s far from matching the 13 seconds on the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s.”

And note that the Lenovo also uses a pure SSD like the HP Envy 14 Spectre.

“SSD-equipped ultrabooks should easily beat the Envy 4 when it comes to a system benchmark such as PCMark 7,” CNET Asia added.

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