The first Ultrabook models from Acer and ASUS have been listed and they have a hard time keeping below the $1,000 mark, a requirement from Intel. Acer has since been looking at hybrid harddrives and says that other comapnies will follow to keep the price down on Ultrabooks.
Intel announced the new concept design it calls Ultrabooks earlier this year. One Ultrabook could be at most 0.8″/20 mm thick, offer up to 10 hour battery time and at the same time high performance processors and storage.
One of the points Intel has been very strict on is that an Ultrabook will have either SSD, or harddrive with SSD cache. The physical size of the storage unit had to be less than 9.5 mm thick to get the overall thickness down. Acer has already done the latter with Aspire S3 that will come with at least one model with 320 GB together with 20 GB SSD as cache.
The first wave of Ultrabooks all use an SSD, and if the companies follow Intel’s guide lines at keeping below 1 000 dollar it means 10-15% of the production costs goes to a SSD. And the end user only gets 128 GB of storage, which is on the border of being too little. With a so called hybrid harddrive you get more storage and a lower cost, without slowing down the computer.
The next generation Ultrabooks are expected in Q2 2012, together with Intel Ivy Bridge. Then we can expect more companies to start using hybrid drives.