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Introducing RapidDrive technology
An interview with Idea Product Group notebook team
Kevin Gao, Yu Xinli & Gao Zheng
Can you explain what is RapidDrive technology?

Kevin Gao: RapidDrive technology is an optional Enhanced Experience feature, available on certain IdeaPad Y460 and Y560 multimedia notebooks. It combines fast SSD storage with a standard HDD to give even faster Windows 7 boot times and better application performance.

What is different about RapidDrive technology, compared to a notebook with SSD storage?

Yu Xinli: RapidDrive technology combines the best of both worlds — the speed of SSD storage with the affordability and capacity of standard hard drive technology. SSD storage is very expensive per GB compared to a normal hard drive.

What kind of challenges had to be overcome to introduce this technology?

Yu Xinli: There are two significant challenges in developing this. Firstly, from hardware side, how do you actually install SSD storage alongside a normal hard drive? We've developed a patented PCI-E adaptor which means we can install the SSD via the PCI-E internal expansion connector, leaving the SATA connector for the hard drive, just like in any notebook.

Liu Xuguo: But I think the biggest challenge is how the computer interacts with the two storage devices. As we've seen with another 'hybrid storage' solution on the market, it creates difficulties for the user in having two separate storage devices. For example, when you install new applications, it will automatically install them in a default location like "c:/program files". If the SSD storage drive is identified as "c:/" only, and is already at full capacity, it will cause errors every time you install new software, as the system will tell you there is no storage space available. So to solve this problem, and other issues related to security patches and incremental updates applied throughout the life of the operating system, we have developed a patent-pending software solution that lets the computer treat the two separate drives as a single device. So if you look in the Windows file system you will see only one single drive, combining together the capacity of the SSD and the standard hard drive. This 'middle layer' file management system will assign new programs and files to the SSD storage are as first priority, only using the HDD space if the SSD is at full capacity.

So what is the capacity of the SSD?

Yu Xinli: To begin with, we will offer 32GB and 64GB capacity options. This is alongside up to 500GB capacity in the standard hard drive. The exact configuration will vary by region.

Will Windows 7 be installed on the SSD when the customer buys the computer?

Liu Xuguo: Yes, that's right. In the factory we will preload not just Windows 7 on the SSD, but also our Lenovo applications like OneKey™ Theater or OneKey™ Rescue System. The applications, operating system, drivers and other files are all fully-optimized for Enhanced Experience to make them load much faster. This, combined with their installation on the SSD will make the boot time to Windows desktop even faster. Some portion of the SSD will also be reserved as the Windows Paging File — this is used by Windows as 'virtual memory' additional to the normal RAM installed inside the computer. With the SSD acting as the Paging File, general Windows 7 performance will also benefit, especially when multitasking several applications.

The remaining space, which will typically be around 15GB on a 32GB SSD, will be empty, ready for the user to install their favorite applications and files.

What kind of benefits can users expect from RapidDrive technology?

Kevin Gao: A Lenovo Enhanced Experience PC with RapidDrive technology offers big performance benefits. You can boot Windows 7 around 66% faster than an equivalent non-optimized PC — that's a PC without RapidDrive or Enhanced Experience optimizations. Even compared to a fully-optimized Enhanced Experience Y460 or Y560, the RapidDrive version will be 8-11 seconds quicker.

But probably the biggest benefit is everyday application performance. We think this is very useful to all consumers. With RapidDrive technology you can open applications 2X faster, and open large documents and install new software around twice as quick as an equivalent PC without RapidDrive. With today's powerful software, consumers are using large files like videos or interactive presentations and flash files more and more. So with RapidDrive technology, opening these documents and the applications that run, users will get a very 'Enhanced Experience'.

So the benefits of RapidDrive technology seem very obvious, how can I buy it?

Kevin Gao: It will be an optional feature on our new IdeaPad Y560 and Y460 multimedia notebooks. The exact available and pricing will vary by region, but with current SSD costs, we don't think the price adder for RapidDrive technology will be too significant, and well worth the investment for the benefits in the overall experience of using the computer.

Who is the target audience for RapidDrive you think?

Kevin Gao: I think all consumers can benefit from this technology because the general performance level for applications and improved boot times are a benefit for everyone. However, I think if you are using your computer for gaming or multimedia files, especially if you do graphic design, or even office-type applications like complex spreadsheets or presentations, you will see huge benefits.

Will we see this technology on other notebooks in the future?

Kevin Gao: In theory we could apply the technology to other notebooks in our portfolio. But first we will launch it on our new multimedia Y series notebooks, and then assess which other models it might be suitable for.

Thanks for your time. We look forward to seeing this solution in the market very soon with the launch of the Y460 and Y560 notebooks.
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Enhanced Experience PCs
IdeaPad U150
IdeaPad U160
IdeaPad U350
IdeaPad U450
IdeaPad U450p
IdeaPad U460
IdeaPad U460s
IdeaPad U550
IdeaPad V360
IdeaPad V460
IdeaPad Y450
IdeaPad Y460**
IdeaPad Y550
IdeaPad Y550p
IdeaPad Y560**
IdeaPad Y560d
IdeaPad Y650
IdeaPad Z360
IdeaPad Z460
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IdeaCentre A300
IdeaCentre A600
IdeaCentre A700
IdeaCentre A710
IdeaCentre B300
IdeaCentre B310
IdeaCentre B500
IdeaCentre B505
IdeaCentre B510
IdeaCentre K300
IdeaCentre K305
IdeaCentre K320
IdeaCentre K330
Lenovo G450*
Lenovo G460*
Lenovo G550*
Lenovo G560*
Lenovo H220
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Lenovo H305
Lenovo H310
Lenovo H320
ThinkCentre A58
ThinkCentre A63
ThinkCentre A70z
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ThinkPad X301
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**RapidDrive is an optional feature on Y560 and Y460
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