Imation Gets Into The Solid State Game

Oakdale (MN) - Flash-based solid state drives (SSDs) are far from being mainstream, but the segment is certainly gaining speed with at more and more manufacturers joining the race to cash in on the high profit margins this market offers right now. The competition increases especially outside the traditional hard drive industry with companies such as Hitachi and Seagate being a bit slow out of the gate. Imation is the latest manufacturer to announce SSDs - based on Mtron's Mobi performance drives.

The company, which is commonly known for its CD, DVD and tape media, announced its debut in the mass storage market with the 2.5" SATA MOBI 3000 and 7000 series models, which come out of partnership with Mtron. Since Mtron recently announced its Mobi SSDs, which the firm claims are the fastest SSDs on the market at this time, it isn't surprising that the Imation SSDs are based on the same technology.

Both Imation SSDs are targeting the higher end of their target markets, the 3000 series the home enthusiast and the 7000 series the enterprise user. Performance-wise, the 3000 models promise sustained data read rates of 100 MB/s, the 7000 series up to 120 MB/s. Write rates are 80 MB/s and 90 MB/s, respectively. Random access times are less than 0.1 seconds, Imation said.

This speed comes at a price, of course. And interestingly, the Imation drives are more expensive than the suggested retail price of the 2.5" Mtron drive ($650). Imation said its 32 GB 3000 series will sell for $700 and the 7000 series for $1160. Street prices are higher at this time, with online stores asking for at least $955 for the 32 GB 3000 drive and at least $1180. A 16 GB version is currently selling for about $600. Imation also offers a 64 GB 3.5" model, which was listed by online stores with prices between $1875 and $2880 at the time of this writing.

The premium for the 7000 series drives not only buys more performance, but more rigid case as well. While the 3000 drives are wrapped in a plastic casing, the 7000 models have an aluminum case. The power consumption of the SSDs is the same in idle mode (0.5 watts), but the 3000 model is more economic in active mode (2.0 versus 2.7 watts). Both drives are rated at 1 million hours Mean Time Between Failures.