Samsung Puts 128 SSDs Into Mass-production

Seoul (Korea) - Samsung today said that it has begun mass producing 1.8" and 2.5" multi-level cell (MLC)-based solid state drives (SSD) with 64 and 128 GB storage capacity. Samsung also promises "more attractive" pricing, which indicates that SSD technology will become more competitive with traditional hard drives and be in reach for more consumers.

Samsung’s announcement has written "mainstream" all over it - it does not offer those speedy data transfer rates we have heard in recent weeks and there is the note about "attractive pricing". Of course, that brings up the question how much these drives will cost. Samsung traditionally does not comment on price and, not surprisingly, spokesman John Lucas declined to comment on possible pricing. But we can speculate.

Before we do that, let’s have a quick look at the specifications of the drives. Samsung claims that MLC based SSD has a write speed of 70 MB/s and a read speed of 90 MB/s, which are performance levels that are well below single-level-cell (SLC)-based SSDs which can achieve read speeds of 130 MB/s. In fact, Samsung’s new SSDs are even a bit slower than today’s fastest hard drive, WD’s 3.5" Velociraptor.

Samsung claims that the 128 GB SSD, which is built from 64 MLC NAND flash memory chips of 16 GB each, is energy efficient at 0.2 watts in standby mode and 0.5 watts in active mode. Probably most interesting is the drive’s expected life: Samsung claims the drives will last 20 times longer than the average 4-5 years of hard drives - which would mean that the SSD is rated at 80-100 years.

So, what about the price? Considering the fact that these drives are in mass-manufacturing, the fact that there is talk about "more attractive" pricing in an environment where entry-level 64 GB SSD notebooks can be purchased for about $1600 (check Dell) sounds to us like SSDs are finally ready to take a first shot at the upper mainstream segment of computers. This would mean that vendors such as Dell would have to drop the current $600 price of 64 GB substantially: Flash prices typically fall by about 40% every year and $300-$350 for a 64 GB drive sounds realistic to us.

In any case, you may want to begin looking a bit more seriously at this segment if you are interested in purchasing a SSD or a computer with such a drive.

But don’t get too excited just yet. Hard drives are still cheaper and Samsung’s vice president of memory marketing, Jim Elliott, said in a statement that these 64 GB and 128 GB MLC SSDs are aimed at "business users and many PC enthusiasts". So far, the company is not talking about "value" PCs.

Samsung said it will introduce a later this year.

  • "Samsung said it will introduce a later this year."

    What's a later? Sounds high tech.

    Did you mean ladder?
    Are they coming out with ladders this year?
    Or letter? Are they introducing Samsung Letters?

    Well anyway, I heard they will be releasing SSD's later this year too.
    This Ladder sounds kewl though.
  • etittel
    SuperTalent already offers a 60GB SSD (in their MasterDrive MX series) for $365, as this newegg link attests: My best guess is that we'll see prices for 128 GB in about the same range by the end of this year. BTW, SuperTalent also tells me (I write for Tom's Guide and other publications, just for the record) that they will be launching a new version of this series this week that will offer 100 Mbps write speed and 120 MBps read speed for these drives. Should be interesting!

  • The article tries to compare SSD speeds with disks in some sustained transfer. In real life an OS is constantly asking a disk to retrieve 8K blocks of data from various tracks and sectors. The truest measure of "disk" performance is therefore not some 100Mbps sustained speed but rather the time the disk takes to retrieve a block/track of data. This is the sum of track seek (which in the case of the WD mentioned above is 4.2ms) + rotational latency (5.5ms) it therefore takes the WD around 10ms for a head to find a block of data on its platters and begin reading it which the OS needs. Typical SSD "seek" times are 0.1ms which is around 100 times faster than the WD. Trust me, there is absolutly no comparison in the real world between any conventional rotating disk and an SSD!
  • etittel
    Dear Brett:

    I think the approach derives from standard HD test methodology. I do agree that your point is well-taken, and that such tests don't necessarily reflect the real value of an SSD to a notebook user. But it does make sense to compare how SSDs perform vis-a-vis conventional HDs in the conventional framework, even if it doesn't tell the whole story.

    I've been using an SSD in my Dell Latitude 620 notebook for about two months full-time now, and I agree the real benefits come more from things other than sustained read/write speed numbers. How about a 30-second boot into the Vista desktop, a one hour increase in battery life while doing standard productivity, three or four ounces less weight, and lower heat output?

    I do get it. Check out my recent Viztaview article "Solid State Drives Benefit Notebook PCs" at

    Thanks for posting,