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Your Memory in a Flash With portables more packed than ever, flash memory looks like the future.

By Mike Hogan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Portables: Everybody wants one. But with portables come issues--issues of weight, inadequate runtimes and the trauma that data can experience when the floor breaks a portable's fall. As if those problems weren't enough, new notebooks will be packing extra weight around the middle: Vista and Microsoft Office Suite 2007.

Some claim that a dose of Flash memory is all a portable needs to become a highly functioning member of computing society. Specifically, the latest generation of drives from Samsung and Seagate put 128MB or 256MB of Flash cache in front of your portable's platters so they don't have to spin up as often to feed the processor. In fact, Samsung's MH80 drive remains idle 99 percent of the time, says Andy Higginbotham, director of hard disk drive marketing at Samsung. This greatly reduces wear and tear as well as the drive's vulnerability to sudden stops. MH80's idle platters draw 70 percent to 90 percent less power than a traditional drive and generate less heat, he adds, letting your notebook get by with a smaller, cooler-running power plant.

Hybrid hard drives, or HHDs, also help with Microsoft's new Windows version, which can be quite a load--especially when running its new Aero interface. Turns out Vista can use Flash memory in clever ways to boot up more quickly and shuttle its pudgy Office 2007 offspring on and off your hard drive more quickly. In fact, hybrid drives depend on Vista's new hooks to do what they do, so Windows XP machines need not apply.

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