Toshiba announces world's first 512GB SSD laptop

Toshiba is about to ship what it calls the world's first ultraportable laptop with a 512GB solid-state drive.

While it's now easy to get a desktop with a terabyte or more of storage, it's still pretty hard to find a laptop with even 300GB. That's why I am very impressed with the Portege R600-ST4203 laptop that Toshiba announced Thursday.

The Portege R600-ST4203 is one of world's first laptops with 512GB of storage and it's definitely the first with that much storage in the form of a solid-state drive (SSD). Until now, most SSDs for laptops have remained in the 32GB to 128GB capacity range.

A Protege R600 laptop from Toshiba. CNET

The Portege R600-ST4203 is the newest model in Toshiba's Portege R600 ultraportable series. It weighs just 2.4 pounds and is only 0.77 inch thin, which is about as thin as the Macbook Air. It has a durable, shock-absorbing chassis, and a 12.1-inch wide-screen LED display. The laptop includes Windows Vista Business and is powered by Intel's Ultra Low Voltage Core 2 Duo SU94005 processor.

The SSD used in the Portege R600-ST4203 is Toshiba's newest second-generation SSD, which features SATA standard and multilevel cell (MLC) NAND flash memory technology. The MLC NAND technology helps increase the density of the SSD, thus allowing more storage space. However, this means it is not the fastest SSD you can find. High-speed SSDs normally use single-level cell NANDs, like the Intel X-25E Extreme does. Nonetheless, Toshiba's 512GB SSD will likely be faster than traditional 5400rpm hard drives found in most notebooks.

Toshiba expects the new machine to provide customers with an enhanced level of protection, portability, reliability, and fast data access. The company claims that the adoption of this 512GB solid-state technology enables the user to enjoy shorter boot times, faster application loading, and access times that are 300 percent faster than 128GB or smaller SSDs.

While those claims still need to be verified, one thing is for sure: the new laptop isn't cheap. It's going to be available for purchase early next month exclusively on Toshiba's Web site for an estimated $3,500.

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