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Samsung offers 64Gbyte solid-state drive for ultraportables

Posted: 29 Mar 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solid-state drive? flash drive? solid-state flash?

64Gbyte solid-state flash drive from Samsung

Samsung Electronics has unveiled a 64Gbyte solid-state flash drive that could find a home in power-strapped ultraportable notebooks, provided the price is right.

Samsung introduced the 1.8-inch drive at its annual Mobile Solution Forum in Taipei, Taiwan. The Korean company said it plans to start mass production in Q2.

At 64Gbytes, the new product would have twice as much storage as the largest flash drive used in notebooks today. Solid-state drives are particularly useful in ultraportable notebooks, because the hardware uses less power than traditional hard drives and doesn't have any moving parts, which means they're more durable.

Potential stumbling block
Price is a potential stumbling block, however, in getting the device in notebooks, said Shawny Chen, analyst for Current Analysis. "We have to consider how much of a price premium would be added."

In February, an ultraportable, which Current Analysis defines as less than 4lbs, had an average retail price of $1,750, compared with $2,000 around 10 months earlier, according to the market researcher. With manufacturers competing on price, it's unlikely they would be willing to increase prices for a beefier flash drive, Chen said.

Samsung didn't disclose price, but said the read-and-write performance of the new drive is higher than the company's 32Gbyte version by 20 percent and 60 percent, respectively. As a result, the new drive outperforms conventional HDDs "even greater than had been anticipated," the company said in a statement. Solid-state drives (SSDs) in general are faster than traditional rotating-media hard drives.

Beyond notebooks
Samsung believes the use of SSDs will expand beyond notebooks to personal navigation systems and digital camcorders. The company also foresees 100Gbyte-level SSDs in the server market. Samsung said the overall SSD market is expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2010, up from only $200 million this year.

While still far more expensive than HDDs, SSDs have been coming down in price, which has boosted demand. Samsung's competitors include SanDisk, which recently introduced its first 32Gbyte drive, and Intel, which has introduced an 8Gbyte drive.

- Antone Gonsalves

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