ComputerWorld: SSD Option Compelling for MacBook Air

The MacBook Air comes standard with an 80 GB, 4,200 rpm Parallel ATA drive. However, one can elect to have a 64 GB solid-state drive (SSD) instead for about $1,000 more. That seeming downgrade could be a compelling option for some, according to Computerworld on Friday.

The advantages of the SSD drive are many. Theyire less susceptible to shock and vibration, able to withstand ten times the impact of a standard hard disk. They draw very little power, about 0.05 watts when powered down and about 1 watt when powered up. Thatis about a third of a standard notebook hard disk.

"In terms of seek times and throughput, SSD performance is about equal to that of a standard hard drive. But SSDs turn on instantly: They donit have to spin up platters as hard drives do, so they reduce computer boot, restart and wake-up times substantially," Jon Jacobi observed.

Finally, the form factor is more flexible, meaning that they donit have to be constrained by a circular disk. The storage can be fit into unusual, cramped spaces.

So while the current MacBook Air option is expensive, the future looks bright for the technology. "The cost of NAND memory is declining by about 40% per year. In other words, what seems wildly expensive now may seem more reasonable in the not-too-distant future," Mr. Jacobi noted.