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Samsung's SSDs And LCDs

CES '09: Morsels From Our Meetings
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Samsung Shows Off Storage/Displays

Samsung had a ton of technology to show off at CES; we focused on the storage and display products it was demonstrating.

It was interesting to talk to the company’s hard drive and SSD divisions back to back. Naturally, they’re completely separate divisions, both trying to grow their respective businesses. But it seems clear that solid state technology is the growth opportunity. The hard drive guys were showing off upcoming 1.5TB EcoGreen drives, which are the slower-spinning 5,400 RPM disks designed to cut back on power consumption. No plans were in place yet to make the jump to 1.5 TB with the 7,200 RPM Spinpoint F1s, though.

Also on display were Samsung’s new external DAS drives based on 2.5” disks. This is a market segment that Samsung recognized it was late in addressing and is now doing so.

On the SSD front, Samsung mentioned that it’s now shipping the 256 GB drives it announced almost a year ago. Unfortunately, a quick search online for any of the company’s SSDs suggests that this isn’t a big retail play for Samsung. So, even if you had the >$1,000 a 256 GB repository would likely cost, we still haven’t found anywhere to actually buy one. Meanwhile, Intel is shipping its 160 GB MLC drive for just under $1,000.

In a completely different exhibit room was Samsung’s display division, which was showing off a couple of new digital signage products, its LCD monitor lineup, and the latest TVs. We got our first look at the company’s 120 Hz monitor in our GeForce 3D Vision review. That same panel was on display in the booth, along with 120 Hz and 240 Hz LCD TVs. Of course, the televisions output content that was originally 60 fps, so instead of displaying true 120 or 240 fps, interpolated frames appear between the source frames. On a 120 Hz display, one extra frame is interpolated. A 240 Hz panel adds three (60 to 120 to 180 to 240).

After standing in front of the massive display technology exhibit for a while, we asked Scott Birnbaum, vice president of Samsung’s LCD business, where someone would see the improvement in going from conventional LCD displays to 120 and 240 Hz models. His response was that the most palpable gains came from small, fast-moving objects. So, watching a baseball game, for example, would be the most likely way to experience the benefit of a panel with 240 Hz mode.

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