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Flash into the future: Mtron marches ahead

Posted: 02 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:flash memory SSD? storage? flash memory? solid-state disks?

Bae: Mtron's SSD are the world's best in terms of performance.

Flash memory solid-state disks (SSDs) are not new devices. Designed as replacements for HDDs, flash technology was first presented in 1984, and the first commercially available products were introduced in 1988. However, the technology was quite expensive, with device prices ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, so only military and industrial customers could avail of them. Recently, a handful of companies became aware of the possibility of developing flash memory products for the volume market and started to release relatively low-cost flash memory SSDs with prices ranging from $600 to $900.

Mtron Co. Ltd is a start-up company that produces flash memory SSDs. According to Bae Young-Hyun, senior executive VP and co-founder, "Mtron's SSD are the world's best in terms of performance." He added that the "better performance is coming from the difference of the architectures. Known and standardized functions and products can easily be implemented by anybody, but what really differentiates the performance is the unique architecture technologyin this case, the Hydra architecture." He said that his company's products are slightly higher in cost than competitors' products, but the performance is double.

Mtron offers 16-, 32-, 64- and 128Gbyte SSDs, with a read rate of 100MBps write rate of 80MBps, and 0.1ms access time. With these features, the company's products are drawing demand from enterprise server sectors such as high-end computing systems and data centers. The company has already supplied 700 units to Daum Communications Corp., one of Korea's largest Web portal companies for UCC services. This year, Mtron plans to expand markets to notebook computers and ultramobile PCs.

Bae forecasts that flash memory SSD will occupy 10-20 percent of the premium notebook PC market and nearly 50 percent of the mobile storage market. Apart from computing, the flash memory SSD can also be applied to consumer electronics such as STBs, video camcorders and HDTVs with time-machine functionality.

Niche market still
The overall performance of flash memory SSDs overwhelm HDDsthey are strong against outside stress or impact and stable as well as noise-free. There is no disk rotation and no booting process, and thus, the flash memory SSD delivers 100 times faster data searching speed, lower power consumption and lower heat.

However, the price and capacity are still hurdles that need to be overcome. Although the price has been lowered continuously, it is still far higher than that of an HDD. "Because of this, flash memory SSD will find its way into computing-oriented storage, while HDD will find SSD in storage concept," noted Bae.

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