Dell Begins Offering Notebooks with 128GB SSDs

Dell is offering 128GB solid state drives with some of its Latitude and Precision notebooks. The move comes after Toshiba updated its Portege laptops with a 128GB solid state drive.

Dell is gearing up to offer 128GB solid state drives with several of its business-class Precision and Latitude notebooks.

Since Michael Dell returned to the CEO's chair in 2007, the company has made notebooks a top priority. As way to distinguish its laptops from other offerings, Dell has turned to flash-based SSD technology and has moved to outfit its notebooks with a range of SSD options that now run between 32GB and 128GB.

Dell will begin offering the 126GB SSD as a $649 option with some of its enterprise Latitude and Precision notebooks, and later Dell will extend the SSD option to its consumer XPS and Alienware laptop lines.

In the coming weeks, Dell, which sat out the launch of Intel's Centrino 2 platform July 14, also promised to roll out new Latitude notebooks, which will likely take advantage of Intel's updated mobile technology.

The use of SSDs has become more common in the last several months as PC vendors from Apple to Lenovo look to capitalize on the benefits of solid state drives, which are quieter, use less power, give off less heat and offer faster boot times. While price remains a significant obstacle to adoption-a 64GB SSD can add between $800 and $1,000 to the price of a standard notebook-vendors such as Dell have been looking to bring down the price of NAND flash memory.

Another vendor investing heavily in SSD is Toshiba. In June, Toshiba offered a 128GB SSD standard with its Portege R500-S5007V laptop. The notebook costs $2,999, which is the same as an older model that came with a 64GB solid state drive.

While SSDs are a way for vendors to distinguish their high-end offerings, it's not clear when the technology will become standard in notebooks. There have also been questions raised as to how much battery life the current crop of SSD actually saves. Tom's Hardware found that many standard hard disk drives are just as efficient as current SSDs when running certain tasks.

However, the argument can be made that because of the efforts of Dell, Toshiba and others pushing to make SSD the new standard when it comes to laptop storage, the technology should continue to improve, while the price of NAND flash continues to drop.

In a separate note, Dell announced that its tablet PC-the Dell Latitude XT tablet-now offers what the company calls multitouch technology. This feature will allow a user to scroll by placing two fingers on the screen and navigate a Web browser or different applications. There is also the ability to zoom and what Dell calls "programmable double-tap," which allows a user to program a command, such as turning off the screen, that will respond to two taps with two fingers.