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Sony's Flash-Based Notebook Reviewed

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the hefty-price-for-loss-of-capability dept.

229

Lucas123 writes "Computerworld's Rich Ericson reviewed Sony's first all flash-based laptop, which carries a whopping $3,200 price tag. Ericson says the laptop runs incredibly fast, with an average data transfer rate of 33.6MB/sec and great battery life. But, the laptop is also limited to certain uses. While lending itself to travel, the small capacity of its hard drive doesn't make it a real competitor for a main PC workhorse. 'While there's a lot to like [about the VAIO TZ191N notebook], there's only very limited uses for which I'd recommend this system. The best features — its size and the flash drive — are also its biggest limitations.'"

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229 comments

Space issues (2, Informative)

Jackdaw Rookery (696327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485327)

The big early adopters for this are Sony, and shortly Apple. I'm betting a Macbook Pro comes out in January that is going to be startlingly similar to this in spec and price.

The big drawback is space, "6GB of that space is taken by a hidden partition (for system recovery) and still more is take by the operating system (Windows Vista Business)." So you are losing 14GB for the recovery, OS and a couple of apps; nearly half the space gone before you start saving things.

Might not be too much of an issue for people saving documents, presentations and so on. For geeks that small amount of space would be very restricting.

Re:Space issues (-1, Troll)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485391)

Real geeks don't use Vista, just Unix, Linux and BSD

Re:Space issues (5, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485579)

Real geeks use whatever they want. Geeks with no self esteem try to make cliques.

Re:Space issues (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21485843)

Sounds like someone is too much of a stupid faggot to figure out ubuntu!

Re:Space issues (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21485881)

Ouch for you, loser. He pegged you and your pathetic ilk a little too well, didn't he? Hit a little too close to home, maybe? Poor dingus. All you can do now is kill yourself.

Re:Space issues (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21486173)

Dingus: rhymes with Mingus and cunnilingus. Almost rhymes with Primus, too.

Learn to do you research! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21485859)

Real geeks learn to fucking use Google [google.com] , asshole.

Re:Learn to do you research! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21486159)

IT'S A TRAP!

*ba-dum pshh* (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485661)

Real geeks write their operating system entirely in floating-point math.

Re:*ba-dum pshh* (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485805)

Pah, real geeks write their own OS, then orgasm over its floating point math capabilities....

Re:*ba-dum pshh* (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485829)

Real geeks don't need operating systems. They just use arrays of on/off switches.

Re:*ba-dum pshh* (2, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486109)

Real geeks don't need on-off switches. They just use arrays of abacuses.

--
BMO

Re:*ba-dum pshh* (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486193)

Real geeks have changed their brain physiology to emulate an x86 machine running BSD.

Re:Space issues (1)

Josh Booth (588074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485443)

Yeah, but geeks would probably wipe out Vista and install Linux instead, freeing up most of those 14 GB. Not sure about Linux compatibility, though.

Re:Space issues (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21485485)

...
Yes, that's what TFA said... Thinks for reading it for me, MORON.

Re:Space issues (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485495)

I think for geeks (and most other people, too), it'll mostly mean that it can't be your main system. If anything, geeks should be able to deal with the idea of syncing to remote servers, working in remote sessions, and things like that more easily than most people.

sony? fuck this slashvertisement.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21485329)

i personally like toshiba MUCH better anyways

please type the word in this image: aborted

Flash? (0, Offtopic)

kongit (758125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485355)

So does it allow me to see flashers? And with that price tag flashers I want to see? For that much money I want something out of it. Sure I can drop it and not ruin my datas but if I pay that much money I don't plan on dropping it. Also it might be faster but I thought that hard drives still have bottlenecks not in themselves but from the system (I might be wrong here though).

The new oblig. (2, Funny)

r3b00tm0nk3y (806499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485375)

Yes, but does it run XP?

Flash as in Macromedia? (0)

jimmyhat3939 (931746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485895)

Was I the only one who thought they meant that the laptop ran Macromedia/Adobe Flash as some sort of mini-OS? Does such a thing exist?

Call me old fashioned... (5, Insightful)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485377)

But I love this idea, I really dislike the currenty "portables" with 17" screens, its just like, not at all actually portable, I mean, I'm really surprised that the laptop industry has gone towards bigger laptops, rather than smaller (but that must be what people want right). I really like the idea of an ultra fast PC which is nice and small to use on the go, and the hard drive is PLENTY as long as you have a good sync program on your main PC and sync regularly, and lets face it, someone spending $3200 on a laptop probably will. But of course, $3200 for a "fast" laptop isnt ever a good investment, because the current progression (and the progression for quite a long time) has been too fast to warrant spending that much on what will very quickly become obselete. The main point is, this is an early adopter machine- very nice, but wont be the best by any stretch of the imaginiation.

Re:Call me old fashioned... (3, Insightful)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485627)

I'm really surprised that the laptop industry has gone towards bigger laptops, rather than smaller (but that must be what people want right)
I think it is because of the n00b's perception that bigger=more powerful, like how Walmart's Green PC is in a full-sized case when it doesn't need to be.

Re:Call me old fashioned... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486003)

I think it is because of the n00b's perception that bigger=more powerful

We just bought a new HP server.. quad core, 16gb, iscsi, etc.

The box was so big it wouldn't fit through the damned door!

I blame it on the noobs.

Re:Call me old fashioned... (1)

corky842 (728932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486211)

Man, I'm such a beefcake I can't even fit through the door!

Re:Call me old fashioned... (4, Interesting)

Mantaar (1139339) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485731)

I think the main reason why laptops "grow" is the fact that a lot of people use them as a replacement for a desktop PC. They don't care about its size and they do care about its performance.

And about the WalMart thingie that's bigger than need be: well, packing the hardware tight together isn't exactly easy or cheap + it's harder to cool those cramped spaces. That might be a reason. But that's just a gues..

Re:Call me old fashioned... (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485777)

I'm really surprised that the laptop industry has gone towards bigger laptops, rather than smaller

You can get a device with a screen from 2" to 17" with stops at 3", 4", 5", 8", 12", 13", 15" in form factors ranging from PDA to Tablet to Laptop -- I don't really think the industry has let us down that badly.

Re:Call me old fashioned... (2, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485795)

Laptops are more and more becoming desktop replacements that you can take on your lap sitting down in your couch or status symbols to people that think bigger is better. Give a 19" laptop with 10 minutes battery and many people would still buy it although there are desktops that both outperform those systems and take less space although less known to the public.

Re:Call me old fashioned... (1)

asc99c (938635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485877)

I've got one of those 'portables' with a 17" screen, weighs 4kg and yeah it's not great for carrying around. However, I use it mainly for support or at home as a desktop replacement. At home the size and weight is fine, and normally on support, it can sit in the car boot. If I'm away on business, it's not like there's an awful lot of walking around to do where 4 kilos is a problem. When I do use it, the big keyboard and screen are great to work with - pretty comparable to a desktop.

I am thinking of getting an Eee to cover those times when I'm too far from home or the car and actually have to carry a laptop with me.

Re:Call me old fashioned... (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485929)

The industry hasn't gone towards "bigger" laptops so much as a wider variety of different sizes, and it's acknowledged that not everybody who wants a laptop necessarily plans to travel with it. Laptops are only getting bigger in the sense that they're also getting smaller. Nobody is dropping their 12" line to concentrate solely on 17" machines. Apple is pretty much the only company bucking that trend, with its move from 12" to 13" on the MacBook and the dropping of the 12" "Powerbook" (MacBook Pro), and they've yet to indicate what their actual intentions are in that area.

Laptops used to be the preserve of the archetypal salesman, and seen as a device unnecessary for anyone who wasn't planning to travel on a plane at the beginning and end of each week. But a battery powerable computer that can be used somewhere other than a desk is desirable to a much wider audience than salespeople. And that audience comprises of everyone from those who want something to travel with to those who want to watch DVDs and play games while sitting in bed.

So don't panic. Smaller laptops (as in the trend towards smaller laptops) will continue to be made while there's a market for them. The fact there's a market for larger laptops is simply, finally, being felt. And about time too.

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21485383)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
goatse does not require Flash to view [goatse.ch]

Pricey (5, Funny)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485385)

So a $3200.00 limited use PC. This should be called the Sony ID-10-T PC.

Re:Pricey (2, Insightful)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485801)

And you have an "unlimited use" pc?

Portability is a feature.

Mac tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21485395)

Just as an aside... don't forget that the incessant Apple tablet rumors appear to be coming to fruition soon [macrumors.com] .

Just in case you'd rather not have a pos for an operating system. :)


--
Metagovernment [metagovernment.org] - Government of, by, and for ALL the people.

Re:Mac tablet (2, Funny)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485665)

I don't. I use Linux.
Yes, I know that is a fairly standard answer around here but that doesn't change the fact that it's true.

Re:Mac tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21485873)

in Soviet Russia, linux botnet controler uses you

Hrm... (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485399)

Is it just me...or does an unbelievably fast drive that doesn't store very much data seem kindof pointless? If you are only storing really SMALL files (txt)...then a SUPER fast disk probably isn't your greatest concern.

I understand the power savings..which are awesome....but storing really small files really really quickly just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Now if this was a web server, or a database, or something like THAT...i would understand...
Especially with a giant price tag like that..

Re:Hrm... (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485687)

Actually low-latency access is exactly what most desktop users really need: quick bootup and fast loading of apps. 0.3 ms is just fantastic. Heck, laptop users have been hailing the advantages of 7200 over 4200 RPM drives for years, compared to this, they're both slow as molasses.

As for servers, you're right... flash seems poised to blow away expensive 15K RPM drives, whose access time is an order of magnitude slower(!) But that doesn't mean all other computers won't benefit, too.

Re:Hrm... (1, Interesting)

Mantaar (1139339) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485793)

Right. (Database) servers. That probably have a lot of I/O operations and frequently write to disks. You know about limitations of flash memory [wikipedia.org] don't you?

That's also one of the major reasons that I won't buy any of this hardware anytime soon. I need to be able to write a lot to my disk without bricking it in turn...

Re:Hrm... (5, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485965)

Ok, I read your link: "With these mechanisms in place [wear leveling and bad block management], some industry analysts[1] have calculated that flash memory can be written to at full speed continuously for 51 years before exceeding its write endurance, even if such writes frequently cause the entire memory to be overwritten."

Is that supposed to worry me?

Re:Hrm... (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486191)

It should because you can only replace this laptop every 52 years. See the problem?

Re:Hrm... (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486041)

Does anyone actually have any stats to compare flash write limitatons to conventional hard disks? It's not hard to find numbers for flash, but I have trouble finding the numbers for conventional hard disks.

Normal hard disks don't do sector remapping, so your first failure will occur whenever you put too much abuse on a single sector (or when there's a mechanical failure). Modern flash drives have a few million writes per sector before failure, which is reportedly notably less than on a convenctional hard disk. However, flash disks have a clever process in which they track how many writes have been made to each sector; the closer a sector gets to a limit, the less frequently modified data gets put there (it'll move data around as necessary to achieve this). In short, you have to essentially make a few million writes to *every sector on the disk* before you get any failures. Let's repeat StorageSearch's calculation:

Write endurance: 2 million cycles
Sustained write speed: 80MB/sec
Capacity: 64GB

2,000,000*64,000,000,000/80,000,000 = 1,600,000,000 seconds = 51 years.

Is this really a problem? 51 years of continuous writes? Now, there are some nuances to the real situation (there's some write overhead on the disk itself, but then again, you'd need to be doing sequential writes with huge sectors to get that kind of performance), but you get the picture.

Here's the specs for an Mtron 32G SSD [mtron.net] , which reports "greater than 85 years assuming 100G / day erase/write cycles" (overwriting the whole disk 3 times a day).

Re:Hrm... (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486261)

Normal hard disks don't do sector remapping

Actually, they do. See the SMART Reallocated_Sector_Ct parameter.

However it just happens that while Flash degrades in a very gradual fashion, hard disks tend to die very suddenly. If there was a head crash there will now be debris inside the drive bouncing around and making things even worse. Once a hard disk started reallocating sectors, it's very likely something went quite badly wrong and it doesn't have much life left in it.

Flash just doesn't have problems like a moving head that can plow through the disk surface all of a sudden.

Re:Hrm... (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486295)

That's also one of the major reasons that I won't buy any of this hardware anytime soon. I need to be able to write a lot to my disk without bricking it in turn...

From your link: "With these mechanisms in place, some industry analysts[1] have calculated that flash memory can be written to at full speed continuously for 51 years before exceeding its write endurance, even if such writes frequently cause the entire memory to be overwritten."

Hands up everyone who has a hard drive that is 51 years old.

Re:Hrm... (1)

ottawanker (597020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485711)

.. it's just you.

I want a really fast small drive (or even better, 2 or 3 really fast small drives in RAID0) for things like my OS, programs, scratch space, etc., and then a slow big capacity drive (or RAID5 array on a file server) for things that take space.

32GB is good space for business (5, Insightful)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485431)

32GB is really a lot of space, especially for business users. Today we don't think it's enough, because we've all loaded our computers up with games, music, and video. But for business users who only use the laptop for storing business documents, it should be more than enough space.

My (old) laptop has 30GB of HDD, and that was plenty of room for 10+ years of business documents, plus numerous programming environments and databases. It only became limiting when I put 13GB of music on it.

For business-oriented 'road warriors' who value speed and battery life over games and media, this is probably a good choice. Especially if they can get their company to fork over the big $$ for it.

That said, I'd wait a year until the price comes down significantly and the space doubles or triples.

Re:32GB is good space for business (1)

BlueMerle (1161489) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485631)

For business-oriented 'road warriors' who value speed and battery life over games and media, this is probably a good choice

Wouldn't it make more sense to carry a spare battery?

I get what your saying about size, and I agree. But I can't think of a real business need to get this laptop over one priced at $1200. I'm pretty sure that no one ever closed a deal by being able to launch power point faster than the other guy.

Re:32GB is good space for business (3, Funny)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485707)

Wouldn't it make more sense to carry a spare battery?
No reason you can't still do that. Besides the fact that you might not be able to afford it after buying the laptop.

Re:32GB is good space for business (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485833)

I'd personally love to have a 32GB "working" drive that has the OS and all the programs, and then a larger 200-300GB drive that I can put all my media and the stuff that isn't random-access intensive on. Actually, it'd be sweet if there was some sort of dynamic data management system that automatically put appropriate types of data on the appropriate drives, so I wouldn't even have to manage it.

Re:32GB is good space for business (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21485975)

It comes with Windows Vista Business. Vista requires 40GB of hard drive space if you intend to use it to run applications. (Otherwise it's stuck only being suitable for "booting the Operating System, without running applications or games" - really! [dell.com] )

If you were to blow away Vista and replace it with XP or Linux, then 32GB would be fine for general office work. But since it comes with Vista, you apparently won't be able to actually use it.

Which, having tried Vista out, is sadly quite likely to be true. I just checked, and C:\WINDOWS takes up 13GB of space just for the system. Keep in mind that Windows also spreads files out in C:\Program Files which I'm NOT counting, since I can't separate out the applications I've installed and what it's installed.

And before anyone asks, no, I'm not accidentally counting the page file. That's in C:\pagefile.sys. And Vista also has a SEPARATE hibernation file it creates, which will require another 2GB for this laptop.

So, yes, for Vista, 32GB is quite small, to the point of almost being unusable - according to Microsoft themselves [microsoft.com] , who list the minimum space requirement as 40GB for Vista Business.

32 Gigs (2, Interesting)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485447)

I love how the articles talks as though 32 gigs is a minuscule amount of space. My current desktop setup involves a machine with 2 40gig drives, one running Windows XP and the other loaded with Zenwalk. The only times I have space issues are when I'm downloading lots of anime, but that's nothing a dvd burner can't remember, and the laptop comes with one.

I don't give money to Sony, however, so I'll be waiting for an Apple variant.

Re:32 Gigs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21485721)

Honestly, I have to agree that 32 GB is enough space for some business use (in fact some of the hardware people at work get the smallest drives economically feasible to drive server storage). However if you currently have only 2 40 GB drives in your desktop, I have to believe your next machine will be another hand-me-down (maybe 120 GB drives this time), and not some flashy new apple box as you seem to say.

Servers not Laptops? (3, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485453)

I have to wonder if there isn't more of a market for Flash disk systems in servers rather than laptops.

As flash drives get bigger, shouldn't they present an ideal storage for databases with their extremely fast random reads? The drives can be small, have low power consumption and price is less of an issue in the server market.

What's holding the take up of these drives in the server market? Is it just that they are untested? Is availability of large flash chips still a problem? Does flash still suffer from burnout after x writes and if so isn't that an issue for these laptops?

Re:Servers not Laptops? (2, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485605)

I have to wonder if there isn't more of a market for Flash disk systems in servers rather than laptops.

As flash drives get bigger, shouldn't they present an ideal storage for databases with their extremely fast random reads? The drives can be small, have low power consumption and price is less of an issue in the server market.

What's holding the take up of these drives in the server market? Is it just that they are untested? Is availability of large flash chips still a problem? Does flash still suffer from burnout after x writes and if so isn't that an issue for these laptops?
Basically because "read" is fast but "write" is slow and limited in the number of times you can write. So the average lifespan of a normal flashdisk is a couple years of use as a data transfer/storage medium or about a day as a swap disk. The technology progresses but that is a limiting factor thus far. So you can boot in 30s but writing 900 meg webserver log files may take some time.

Re:Servers not Laptops? (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485739)

Basically because "read" is fast but "write" is slow and limited in the number of times you can write.
perhaps, but doesn't this sound exactly like the 'average' relational database with expensive writes and cheap reads. Most our database info changes rarely, and any decent DB should make it easy to store some tables on one storage mechanism and other tables on another that's perhaps more suited to the data or write ratio.

I was under the impression that the number of writes possible had improved greatly in recent years, but am not sure if it's still a limiting factor.

Re:Servers not Laptops? (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485891)

perhaps, but doesn't this sound exactly like the 'average' relational database with expensive writes and cheap reads. Most our database info changes rarely, and any decent DB should make it easy to store some tables on one storage mechanism and other tables on another that's perhaps more suited to the data or write ratio.

I was under the impression that the number of writes possible had improved greatly in recent years, but am not sure if it's still a limiting factor.

Looking it up I found citations of guarantees of at least 100,000 write per block (for block 0) to estimates that some flash disk could last for years under rigorous conditions. I couldn't find concrete data, and a few referenced a estimated lifespan of 20 years for the wear level controller. Hard to say. I have worn out cheap usb drives, but these flashdisks may be a different breed.

I did hear a story where someone took a flash drive, mounted as a swap partition and wore it out within days.

Re:Servers not Laptops? (2, Insightful)

hrvatska (790627) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485847)

It might be great for applications that are more read than write intensive. I'm currently working with a mid-size company whose LDAP servers are read from frequently, but not updated that often. A flash disk might be a good candidate in that situation.

Re:Servers not Laptops? (1)

Przemo-c (1010877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486323)

I agree with the slower writing but in spinning hdd's write speed is worse than read speed as for limited write cycles ... do your math and you'll see that SSD will live longer than spinning hdd's because of usage balancing (or whatever it's called) and the number of write cycles is quite big.. ill say that your laptop spinner will die sooner due to mechanical malfunction than ssd will run out of write cycles(espetiialy when laptop isnt handled nicly ;] ) even when using as a swap disk which sould be avoided as much as possible not only on SSD.

currently i think the barrier ic cost of it when it wil gain bigger share of the market it will get cheaper and gain even bigger share of the market... I'm not saying that HDD's will die soon (or ever) but let's see how the race goes as for performance , capacity and price.

ps. for me 32GB would suffice + dvd burner ;] and laptop should be portable so size does matter ;]

Re:Servers not Laptops? (4, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485675)

Flash has a longer expected life than most hard-drives these days, for all but the most deliberately contrived use cases, so it can't be that.

Re:Servers not Laptops? (2, Interesting)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485865)

There is. I got to play with some kit at OOW last week. Bitmicro had a booth [bitmicro.com] with all sorts of HDD's in server form factors and interfaces (SCSI, Fibre Channel, Sata, Pata). While it is not cheap - $20USD/gig? - it is getting better with each price drop. The drives were cool compared to my old fashion disks, so it might already be at the break even point for people who count air conditioning into the cost. I'd love to replace my raptors with a fast, quite, cool, flash based device - just waiting on the cheap....

Wish there was a DDR2 version of the iRAM out there (for not stupid money) that could do better than 4x1G. Starting to see 2G sticks going for peanuts these days.

Fusion IO drive (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485961)

There are companies moving in this direction. For example check out:

http://www.fusionio.com/ [fusionio.com]

Up to 640GB NAND flash. Supposedly 700 MB/s transfer rate.

Schlock Resistant (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485471)

I'd consider one if it were built for shock resistance. Too many allegedly rugged laptops/tablets are still limited to screens which break or flimsy plastic construction which breaks structurally with normal use.

Flash drive sounds like just the ticket, though.

Re:Schlock Resistant (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485735)

If ruggedness is your concern, at a price such as this, then consider this tank of a laptop [toughonline.com] .

Full magnesium alloy case, shock-mounted hard drive, Windows XP, handwriting functions, vibration and drop-shock resistant, moisture/dust resistant LCD, keyboard and, touchpad protected by a replaceable screen film.

Re:Schlock Resistant (2, Interesting)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485755)

Can it run Linux?
I'm serious about this.

Re:Schlock Resistant (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485987)

If you were to email the tech staff, Im sure they'd give you a dump of lspci or ask them if it works with Linux well...

WTF? Sony for $3k, Asus for $350? (2, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485483)

Why would I spend $3,200 on a Sony Saddled with Vista, when I can get an Asus EeePC [asus.com] for $350 running Linux?

What could POSSIBLY be worth that much more money that a more conventional machine couldn't handle at a fraction of the price? so you get a little extra battery time. Woopty freakin' doo.

It's not like it has some giamungus drive for video editing, or the Special Magic Powers of the MacOS. I don't get who they think they're selling to.

I'm willing to say "I don't get it", but seriously - I don't see a market for this thing. When it's $1200, I suppose, but not $3200.

Now, the Asus is another story...

:-)

RS

Re:WTF? Sony for $3k, Asus for $350? (0, Offtopic)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485553)

I'm willing to say "I don't get it", but seriously - I don't see a market for this thing. When it's $1200, I suppose, but not $3200.

If it's a Sony, I wouldn't buy it for $120. With the RIAA, rootkits, and DRM, they don't have the sense of business ethics I prefer...

It's why we've been recommending Toshiba laptops; with the exception of the Panasonic Toughbook series, they're the most solid we've seen so far...

Re:WTF? Sony for $3k, Asus for $350? (5, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485857)

You've got a great point. Toshiba wouldn't ever push restrictive DRM on consumers [ehomeupgrade.com] , own an RIAA member company [discogs.com] , or pay a major studio to adopt their technology after it couldn't gain adoption on its own merits [gizmodo.com] . They've actually got a squeaky-clean corporate reputation. Hugely ethical...

Re:WTF? Sony for $3k, Asus for $350? (1)

Jackdaw Rookery (696327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485913)

Wish I had mod points for you. Insightful.

Cheapness is weakness in the case of Asus. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485589)

What could POSSIBLY be worth that much more money that a more conventional machine couldn't handle at a fraction of the price?
A used Thinkpad, which has none of the limitations of either and a build quality well above Asus and Sony.

Of course, you could just go with the poorly built knockoff. It'll just cost more to repair in the long term.

Re:Cheapness is weakness in the case of Asus. (2, Informative)

jargon82 (996613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485869)

Thinkpads rock. They're all we use at work, and we have a 3 year replacement policy (our consultants get a new one every 3 years, when the warrenty runs out). The old ones come back for use in training sessions, and better than 90% of them are still in good shape after 3 years of use on the road.
I won't say they never break or have problems, but the support experience is good enough that I don't hear about it, either :)

Re:Cheapness is weakness in the case of Asus. (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485945)

What's more you could put a IDE to CF adapter in the thing and run it off flash. 4GB is sometimes enough and there are larger cards out there.

Re:WTF? Sony for $3k, Asus for $350? (4, Informative)

tknd (979052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485637)

The Asus was designed to be small and cheap while the Sony was designed to be expensive and powerful. The hardware is quite a bit different: 1.2ghz dual core vs 675mhz single core, 4GB SSD vs 32GB SSD, different screen sizes.

I don't see it as a bad thing because more products = more options = better for consumers. Also more products using SSD = higher SSD demand = more SSD R&D = cheaper and/or better SSDs. If all major PC manufacturers have legitimate products for sale with SSDs, then within a year or two SSD should really start putting pressure on hard drives and become even more affordable.

So I say good for Sony. I won't buy their laptop but if it gets another SSD manufacturer some cash flow then it only means more potential for SSD growth in the future.

Re:WTF? Sony for $3k, Asus for $350? (1)

Loualbano2 (98133) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486155)

The EEE has a 900mhz Celeron.

Re:WTF? Sony for $3k, Asus for $350? (2, Informative)

tknd (979052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486235)

The chip is rated at 900Mhz and some reviews quote 900Mhz but if you go to here [eeeuser.com] you'll find that people have been trying to figure out how to get it to run at that speed for quite a while. It turns out that the FSB is set to 70mhz making the actual CPU speed 630Mhz (I wrote the wrong number earlier). Other BIOSes are available that have allowed 100Mhz FSB but causes artifacts like waves or stability issues.

Re:WTF? Sony for $3k, Asus for $350? (2, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485773)

For starters, you're comparing 32 GB with 4 GB. That's a factor of 8. 8 x $350 = $2800, which is surprisingly close to the Sony price. The Eee PC is a very cute little product, but you can't touch-type on it, the screen is only 7", and (most importantly) it can't run all the standard business software most people use. They really aren't comparable.

eee pc (4, Interesting)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485511)

Sorry people, but I'll go for the EEE pc. It will be the first PC I'll buy in 7 years, I've been waiting for it all that time :) It delivers a small, lightweight, laptop with limited capabilities, but still all the features you'd like a computer to have. Also, it is DEAD CHEAP. I recently looked at a site selling subnotebooks from Japan, all where going for 1200 dollars or more. Why would anyone buy those? Normally these machines were limited to upper-management people, but finally any normal person can also buy them, with an EEE and they WILL!!! Sorry if I sound like a fanboy, but if sony would have sold a 300 PC with the specs of an EEE, I would have bought it from them. Knowing Sony, they would have screwed it up badly anyway, using some strange sony-only form-factor (memory stick?). Asus was just the first to come with the right mix, and I hope many will follow.

Quality. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485635)

The thing that those laptops had that the Asus wont have is quality. By the time you've bought enough of those, you'd be far behind the $1200 models if you bought them used.

Re:eee pc (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485835)

I bought an EeePC yesterday - neat little gadget. Finally I have d PDA that I can use for real work.

Wow Sony.. (2, Funny)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485547)

Sony's marketing people must be asleep. They should *NEVER* brand a sony product with the following words:

Fire.

Flame.

Boom.

FLASH.

Re:Wow Sony.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21486149)

Sony's marketing people must be asleep. They should *NEVER* brand a product "Sony"

FTFY.

Slashvertising (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485557)

I'd say this isn't really anything new. The drives have been available for months, and there are likely other vendors that have already done it. Really, what's new and exciting about this, other than it has the most expensive four-letter word in consumer electronics attached to it?

Here is the DIY version... (3, Interesting)

sczimme (603413) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485563)


A company called Addonics has a bootable Compact-Flash-to-2.5"-IDE adapter for sale here [addonics.com] . The Dual-CF model is $21.99. The page shows the adapter populated with CF and installed in a laptop.

I have no connection to Addonics except as a soon-to-be customer.

Re:Here is the DIY version... (2, Interesting)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485729)

The biggest drawback to your solution is that you only get a small hard drive on each channel. If 32GB weren't big enough, the pictured 4GB/per channel is pretty pitiful too.

Here's a better question:

What are the technical limitations of buying a bunch of cheap 1-4GB flash drives (anyone else pick a bunch of those up for stocking-stuffers last weekend?) and basically soldering an array of flash memory?

Re:Here is the DIY version... (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485927)

Well... 2Gig SD flash was on sale for 13$ at wal-mart. At that price, 64GB would be around 413$. Lets compare that to.... Google Products here [google.com]

Yowsa. 4000$ ? WTF? How does that scale???

Price/Value ratio? (1)

sczimme (603413) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485969)


The biggest drawback to your solution is that you only get a small hard drive on each channel. If 32GB weren't big enough, the pictured 4GB/per channel is pretty pitiful too.

Oh, I'm not saying that it would be 100% equal to the Sony version, but I think you would have to agree that even 8GB of flash with a $22 adapter provides pretty darn good bang for the buck.

What are the technical limitations of buying a bunch of cheap 1-4GB flash drives (anyone else pick a bunch of those up for stocking-stuffers last weekend?) and basically soldering an array of flash memory?

How would you tie the interfaces together? Actually, let's back up: which interface would you use? Would you be attaching the flash memory to an IDE interface or would you be funneling the data (so to speak) through one of the original USB connectors?

From a hardware configuration standpoint, where would you put your newly-soldered creation?

Re:Here is the DIY version... (1)

isj (453011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486257)

On desktops I use adapters from LinITX (LinITX CF adapters [linitx.com] ). The only problem that I have had is at not all motherboards support booting from a CF behind a SATA-to-CF adapter.

It is still a bit expensive to use CF, but CF usually comes with higher performance than most USB sticks.

Toshiba Portage R500 (1)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485587)

There has been a flash version of the Portage R500 out for several months now, with twice the capacity (64GB) of hard drive and even as the dollar turns into monopoly money it costs less. Personally I don't like the fact they took the DVD drive out of the flash version, but I am being a bit picky.

No ethernet port? (2, Interesting)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485599)

I know it is a laptop, but Wifi just isn't as fast as a gigabit/100baseT ethernet cable, even under the best of conditions, and with a bit of interference can be quite bad.

Maybe they are thinking that because of the small hard drive nobody will ever need to move data quickly?

And, no possibility to make the laptop into a wifi base-station (Yes, I have done this before).

Flesh Based... (1)

polyomninym (648843) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485619)

I just read: Flesh Based Laptop;) Wanna know how I misread Asus? Ha, thought so.

I've had one for a couple months now. (5, Interesting)

Pike (52876) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485649)

Bought one (new on ebay for $2800) to replace a Toshiba that cost me $900 in 2002, and it's great. It works for me because I don't play high end video games, and is very snappy and VERY light.

  • I love that I can stick it in my little backpack and hardly feel it.
  • With wifi on I can get 6 hours of battery life pretty easily, more with it off.
  • The screen quality is the best I have ever seen.
  • You can burn bootable recovery DVDs and wipe the 9GB recovery partition. With MS Office and OpenOffice installed and a couple GB of music, I have 13GB free.
  • Pop it onto the docking station and I have access to an external HD - no need to carry ALL my photos with me everywhere I go.
  • The keyboard is a little small but surprisingly not bad. It didn't take me long to find that I prefer hitting Fn-Left/RightArrow for Home/End and Fn-Up/DownArrow for PageUp/PageDown - less moving around for my fingers.
  • I don't even know what bootup times are because it just goes into sleep mode whenever I close the lid, takes maybe five seconds to come back up. I think I've done a full reboot maybe four times since the initial "cleanout" (which is the one downside for me - you will spend about a day cleaning up all the garbage and adware that comes preinstalled).

I do mainly writing, php programming, video/photo editing, web design, and of course email/web. You have no idea what a productivity boon it is to be able to take your laptop everywhere with you, whip it out when you want it without worrying about battery life, then just pop it onto a docking station at night to charge just like a cell phone.

To preempt the fanboys regarding unnamed knockoffs (0, Troll)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485699)

Your model would probably have just as much expense if they didnt cut so many corners, especially on quality.

Re:To preempt the fanboys regarding unnamed knocko (1)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485989)

Well that's the second post you've made saying basically the same thing and putting down as yet unidentified products. You're the one sounding like a fanboy.

Just to pre-empt your response, I'm typing this on my Vaio. It's a nice laptop, I like Vaios they're slick and shiny, but it's not like they're made out of some magical high quality pixie dust. I had to return this one before the warrantee was up because of screen defects. I had to return it a second time because the screen they replaced it with was worse than the original one.

So just shush please. By all accounts the Asus EeePC is excellent. I have it on authority from a Mac fanboy.

$3000 and Intel GMA 950 with VISTA = bad choice (0, Flamebait)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485791)

$3000 and Intel GMA 950 with VISTA bad choice.

Re:$3000 and Intel GMA 950 with VISTA = bad choice (1)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486025)

Intel GMA 950 with Beryl = Pretty AND fast!

Drive life is a worry (2, Interesting)

darkonc (47285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485815)

The one thing that I'd worry about is drive life.

Flash can accept a limited number of write cycles before it starts to fail. This is no big deal for thumb drives, but can start to be a limit for boot/swap drives.

The ext3-users list has had a number of postings about people using flash boot drives finding that they die after a being used for a while. I haven't tracked tha causes of the failures, but it's definitely something that I'd worry about (I expect that mounting the drive 'noatime' would probably help).

If I had a client who bought one of these things I would strongly suggest a stringent frequent backup policy.

Re:Drive life is a worry (1)

0123456789 (467085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486341)

If I had a client who bought one of these things I would strongly suggest a stringent frequent backup policy.
Seriously, how often do you get a chance to say "Let's try an infrequent backup policy"?

32G and small (1)

Allnighterking (74212) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485821)

Well I guess with a poorly configured Windows system where everything has to be locally installed and stored yes, 32G might be small. 32 might be too small to store a blue ton of stuff like every movie since 1940 or 30000 mp3's. In a full network enabled OS/setup where you can access and manipulate remote programs and data 32G is more than enough. What is needed is a look at networked data as apposed to pack ratted crap storage.

FaunOS (1)

1 a bee (817783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485921)

You can in fact run most any notebook off a USB key. FaunOS [faunos.com] is a Linux distro specifically designed to run off a USB. In fact, I am using it as I write this now. I am using an Acer Aspire 5630: it worked with FaunOS out of the box. There are others (e.g. Mandriva), but my experience with FaunOS has been the best, so far.

Flash! (4, Funny)

achenaar (934663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486085)

Ahhhhhhhahhhhhh!
He'll save every one of us!

Why go to such extremes? (4, Interesting)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21486219)

It seams that a notebook using a conventional 200GB hard drive with a 16GB flash cache would be pretty much indistinquisable in terms of battery life and performance. Cost and software complexity can be further lowered by using flash with fast read speed but slow writes. The operating system and some applications can then be installed on the flash partition while user data can go on the regular hard drive.

It seems better to put up with an occasional disk access than not to have an option to store your stuff at all.

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