Ultrabook players were hoping Intel would cut them a break with a juicy 50 percent discount on Core i processors to be used in the new notebook form factor. Intel, having already earmarked millions of dollars towards marketing the Ultrabook concept, scoffed at the idea of half-off CPUs, leaving notebook makers looking for other ways to cut back costs. Hello hybrid storage.
Last year, during research for some project or another, we asked Seagate an offhand question about hybrid drives. Where nearly everybody said that hybrid drives (last seen circa 2005) were dead, Seagate said that the technology had shown promise, but that they had no further comment. We immediately assumed that meant they were working on one, and to our immense satisfaction, today Seagate announced the Momentus XT, a 2.5-inch hybrid drive featuring 500GB of 7200rpm mechanical storage, 4GB SLC NAND flash, and a 32MB cache.
MSI has launched it's U1115 Hybrid netbook, which the company bills as the first notebook computer in the world capable of running both SSD and HDD drives at the same time. Combined with its 'ECO on' mode, MSI claims "the battery life of U115 Hybrid is super long." Sounds super duper.
The new netbook operates primarily with the SSD to run Windows, with the HDD being used for storage duties. With ECO on mode, the U115 Hybrid temporarily disconnects the HDD to help extend battery life, presumably offering the best of both worlds. Storage options come in 8GB/120GB (SSD/HDD) and 16GB/160GB configurations.
Outside of the hybrid drive configuation, MSI sticks closely to the standard netbook formula. Underneath the 10-inch hood sits a 1.6GHz Z530 Intel Atom processor, 1GB of DDR2-533 memory, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, a webcam, media card reader, and Windows XP Home.