Taipei (Taiwan) - Is there a flash hard drive in your future ? If you have been thinking about replacing your good old hard drive with a solid state device, but have been turned down by price (or lack of availability), you soon may have a few options : Samsung today unveiled a 64 GB drive - which indicates that capacities are rising quickly and prices may be dropping at a similar pace.
We have been writing about solid state disk drives, commonly referred to as SSDs, for quite some time. Samsung has been releasing bits and pieces of its drives for almost a year now and Sandisk, as the other major consumer brand in this segment, has also been teasing its customers with upcoming (but not yet available) products for several months.
But SSDs may be finally heading out into the market, initially to OEMs only. Both Samsung and Sandisk targeting a Q2 release of 1.8" and 2.5" form factor SSDs that will be available in ultra mobile devices such as UMPCs as well as higher end notebooks. So far, we have been hearing about 1.8" 32 GB SSDs that may be launching with a price tag somewhere between $600 and $1000 as well as a 2.5" version that was recently announced by Sandisk and that will be selling to OEMs for about $300.
Samsung’s 32 GB SSD
That price may drop quickly, as Samsung today announced that it will also be offering a 64 GB model in a 1.8" form factor. The new device is built 8 Gb single-level cell NAND flash chips, which Samsung says achieve much higher performance than the preceding 4 Gb versions of the 32 GB SSD. In numbers, Samsung claims that read and write performances have been increased by not quite 20% and almost 60% respectively, which translates into a data read speed of about 64 MB/s and a write speed of 45 MB/s in the new 1.8" model.
What is remarkable about this new SSD is the aggressive development of this technology. Once only considered to be a threat for 1" hard drives, NAND flash is quickly evolving into what could be a real competitor for any mobile hard drive in the not too distant future. At 64 GB, the capacity is already at about at 50% of what is a common hard drive size in today’s mainstream multimedia notebooks. Samsung already has 16 Gb flash cells in development, which will boost 1.8" capacities to 128 GB early next year.
Now we only need these devices only to become available in reasonable numbers. Samsung said that it plans to ramp mass production of the 64 GB model during the current quarter. Pricing has not been announced, but we do expect this SSD to check in at a tray-price of about $750.