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Dell first: 256GB solid-state drive on laptops

Dell is offering one of the largest-capacity solid-state drives to date in its XPS laptop line.

Updated at 11 p.m. PST with information about Apple.

Dell is doing its part to usher in the age of the super-sized solid-state drive. For the first time, Dell laptops can be configured with the newest large-capacity SSDs from Samsung.

Back in the day (last January), laptop buyers were stuck with a Henry Fordesque choice: order any solid-state drive you want with your laptop as long as it's 64GB.

What a difference a year makes. On Friday, Dell quadrupled this to 256GB. The Samsung SSD is now available as an option on Dell's XPS M1330 and M1730 laptop lines. Apple announced a 256GB SSD option on its MacBook Pro on January 6.

Dell added a 256GB solid-state drive option to its XPS M1330 and XPS M1730 laptops
Dell added a 256GB solid-state drive option to its XPS M1330 and XPS M1730 laptops Dell

Upgrading from the base XPS configuration with the 256GB SSD will add $400, Dell said Friday. And Dell said the SSD will "be available on additional laptops in the coming weeks."

Dell has also added a 500GB hard disk drive option that will add $150 to the base configuration price.

Solid-state drives are generally faster at getting data than hard-disk drives (and in some cases, much faster), but pricing is a hurdle for consumers. SSDs still command a premium, but that premium is shrinking. SanDisk said last week that it will begin offering a 240GB SSD for $499. SSDs with this kind of capacity had been priced well over $1,000.