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6/18/2008
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Toshiba Offers Lightweight Notebook With 128-GB Solid-State Drive

The machine's storage component, which is made by Toshiba, is the highest capacity SSD available for notebooks, the company said.

Toshiba on Tuesday introduced a 2.4-pound notebook that the vendor claims is the lightest laptop with a 128-GB solid-state drive and DVD drive.

The Portege R500 series also is among the thinnest at 0.77 inches, Toshiba said. The device has a 12.1-inch, backlit light-emitting diode display for indoor and outdoor viewing and meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's highest standards for energy efficiency.

The machine's storage component, which is made by Toshiba, is the highest capacity SSD available for notebooks, according to the company. Because SSDs have no moving parts, they tend to be faster and more durable than traditional hard-disk drives and use less energy. SSDs, however, are considerably more expensive.

Toshiba this year started shipping its 128 GB SSD that first appeared in the company's notebooks in Japan. The drive achieves the unusually high capacity through the use of multi-level cell NAND flash technology. Most SSDs today are single-level cell drives, which store 1 bit of data in each memory cell. MLC drives, on the other hand, store 3 or more bits in each cell. While MLC drives have slower transfer speeds and higher power consumption, they are also far less expensive to make.

In shrinking the size of the notebook, Toshiba said it used its proprietary "high-density mounting technology" process to enable dual-sided motherboard component mounting. The process results in a motherboard that's a third the size of a mainstream 15.4-inch notebook's motherboard, Toshiba said.

The notebook, which offers eight hours of battery life, has a base configuration that includes a 1.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7700 low-voltage processor and the chipmaker's Graphics Media Accelerator 950. In addition, the device has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless support. The Portege R500 series starts at $2,999.

Toshiba is not the only computer maker to offer lightweight notebooks. Other vendors include Apple, which offers the Macbook Air, and Hewlett-Packard, which recently introduced the Voodoo Envy.

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