HP Offering SSD Option with Desktop

The flash-based alternative to hard disk drive reduces energy consumption, but comes at a higher price.

Hewlett-Packard is targeting energy-conscious commercial buyers with a version of its high-end Compaq business desktop that now offers a solid-state drive option instead of the traditional hard disk drive.

The company began offering its Compaq dc7800 Ultra-Slim desktop with a 16GB SSD option Jan. 23. In addition, the company rolled out a second business desktop-the Compaq dc5800-on the same day, although it lacked the SSD option and specific configuration details.

Although SSDs, which use flash memory, are an expensive option for PCs-the 16GB one that HP is offering will add about $300 to the base price of the desktop-these alternatives to traditional hard disk drives are becoming more prevalent in the market. Dell offers a number of SSD options with its notebooks and mobile workstations, although HP is perhaps the only major vendor with SSD options for desktops. However, all of the major PC vendors are technically capable of adding such an option to traditional desktop models.

Besides differentiating itself from other desktop vendors, HP is also appealing to energy-conscious buyers. Since SSDs use flash technology, they cut down on the amount of moving parts a desktop has, which translates into lower electrical costs per machine. In addition, HP announced that both desktop models meet the latest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star 4.0 requirements, which went into effect in July and call for 80 percent-efficient power supplies and lower idle wattage ratings.

Although HP lists the Compaq dc7800 with a starting price of $1,258, a check of the company's Web site shows that the solid-state drive option adds more to the cost. When configured with an Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 processor-2.2GHz clock speed, 2MB of Level 2 cache 800MHz front-side bus-an Intel Q35 chip set, 2GB of DDR2 (double data rate 2) RAM, a 16GB SSD, 64-bit Microsoft Windows Vista operating system and the Energy Star 4.0 standard, the price increases to $1,426.

The same desktop with a 160GB SATA (Serial ATA) will cost about $312 less. With a 16GB SSD option-compared with 32GB or 64GB options-HP can offer a unique desktop model with flash memory and less power consumption without drastically raising the price. While SSDs offer faster booting and less noise, the high cost of the technology has kept them out of the mainstream PC market.

HP first introduced the dc7800 in September in what it called an ultra-slim model, which means the desktop measures 2.6 inches high, 9.9 inches wide and 10 inches deep.

The dc7800 with the SSD option is now available from HP. The dc5800, which has a starting price of $579, will be available Feb 11.