IBM tells us that the Hard Drive Active Protection System will be available on all ThinkPad R50 (pictured below) and T41 models. With the information we have on hand, it doesn't look like this feature will be included on earlier notebooks. If it was a simple software issue, IBM could simply issue a notice to upgrade all past notebooks and even those in current production. However, the Hard Drive Active Protection System is based largely on a motherboard-mounted motion sensor, which means that systems without the hardware sensor will be incompatible with the software. Refreshing designs for motherboards of current notebook systems in production would just cost a ridiculous amount of money (plus the large resources and the length of time needed to qualify the new design).

Click to enlarge.

We bet that this is a feature that past IBM consumers (and other pre-existing non-IBM notebook owners) will want, and this should put another notch towards making an IBM notebook more tempting to prospective buyers. This will prove to be a more ample feature to business users, since it gives data integrity and peace of mind.

As of yet, we have not heard of a similar feature that has been or will be provided on other brands of mobile systems. Overall, the concept is really simple (and some may wonder why no one thought of this before), but it will provide a large benefit to both IBM and its customers and is revolutionary in approach, thought, and concept.

So now it is waiting time; let's see if IBM can bring us a working sample soon. After we put it through the paces, it'll be interesting to see if it stays working…

IBM Hard Drive Active Protection System


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  • demonbug - Friday, October 10, 2003 - link

    What, no laptop drop tests? I want to know if it works! Reply
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, October 9, 2003 - link

    Well, unfortunately, unless it has either an accelerometer, it would not save anything should the notebook not spin during its fall (ie. drops to the floor perfectly flat, like when you drop, not throw, a book). Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 8, 2003 - link

    sounds interesting, but how much will this feature cost? Reply
  • OzzieGT - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    Well remember this is preliminary technology. I bet once they prove it works, tweak it, and have hard numbers to show how well it works, they can hard code the technology into a chip that can be mounted on the hard drive. Reply
  • Maverick2002 - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    agreed with #3.

    also a move like this would be very expensive (if indeed motherboard mounted). other features should be integrated along the way. what happens if the HDD just dies? motion sensor is no good then.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    I agree with number 3, this seems like something that should be integrated into the harddrive itself, not the motherboard. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    dell's CSRs suck. their payment ctr and cs don't communicate at all. this is the first time i regretted buying a dell. i hope this is just a blip in the radar for them, but i know a bunch of my friends who also are primarily dell buyers that have been saying that their support staff has been going downhill. perhaps they've been cutting salaries there to pay for those stupid commercials. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    #2 I can always get another laptop, but that data on HDD can be irreplaceable...

    Carefully reading through this article (like reading the headlines and looking at the pretty pictures... ;) ), I get the impression that this technology is integrated into the motherboard of the laptop. If so it seems very backwards...

    The logical way of doing this would be to integrate the circuitry on the HDD. A couple of accelerometers cant be that expensive, or?
  • Migroo - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    This is a good move... however whenever I've had experience of damaging a laptop, everything has died including the screen..

    It might save your data but if you drop it hard enough the laptops gonna die anyway :D
  • Shalmanese - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    Damn, I was hoping for some info on the actual T41's as well but it looks like its just the same infor we got from the press release, albeit, with pretty pictures. That real time orientation thing looks like a cool party trick that could keep me amused for a few hours :).

    Apart from that, it looks like a moderately interesting technology but one of dubious value to me. I don't think I have ever damaged or heard of anyone damaging their hard drive with excessive usage. Perhaps people who are more unforgiving with their laptops might welcome it.

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