Ready For The Mainstream? Samsung Announces SSDs For Low-cost PCs

Seoul (Korea) - It appears that Samsung is following through with its strategy to drive SSD-based mass-storage deep into the mainstream PC market late this year. "High-performance, Low-density SATA II SSDs for low-priced PC market" will be mass-produced beginning next month, the company said earlier today.

Solid state disk (SSD) drives are among those more exciting technology trends that promise to improve our computing experience whether it is in the high-performance or in the mobile space. But new technologies usually have the drawback that they are expensive and make very little economic sense for the mainstream user - and that was especially the case for SATA II SSDs you typically can?t buy for less than $500 even today.

Rumors of substantial price drops have been floating around the Internet for some time now, but these rumors were largely focused on the 128 - 256 GB segment. But what about those 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB versions?

It seems that at least Samsung is ready to drop them into "low-cost" PCs. The company said that it will begin mass-producing drives for that market in 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB multi-level-cell (MLC) versions beginning next month.

"We?ve refined our manufacturing techniques and redesigned our low-density SSDs to get what the low-priced PC market is looking for in the way of improved cost, performance and availability," said Jim Elliott, vice president of memory marketing at Samsung Semiconductor, in a prepared statement.

While Samsung calls these SSDs "high-performance" drives, they are not quite as fast as would expect from a drive with such a name. Data read speed is 90 MB/s and write speeds vary between 70 MB/s (32 GB) and 25 MB/s (8 GB). The performance is at least 50% less than what consumers can expect from today?s fastest SSDs.

However, it isn?t performance that makes these 2.5" models (Samsung claims these drives are 30% smaller than typical 2.5" drives) interesting, it is their price point. We asked Samsung how the company defines a "low-cost" PC and were told that the company "isn?t ready to disclose that". But given the fact that upper mainstream PCs start at around $800, mainstream PCs are settled in the $500 region, low-cost PC are typically viewed as systems with a price of $399 or less. When equipped with a hard drive, these systems typically use hard drives with prices of significantly less than $50.

So, will you get a 32 GB SSD for $50? We doubt that, but the 8 GB model may be well within that reach - which would mean that a 32 GB version could land in the $150 to $200 range. But that, of course, is pure speculation.

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