Samsung readies 4 GB flash drive for Windows Vista PCs

UPDATE 26 July 3:20 PM EST: Samsung's 4 GB Vista flash SSD to be priced under $200

San Jose (CA) - Samsung on Tuesday announced a solid state disk drive that promises to completely eliminate hard drive delays on PCs. The disk is designed to take advantage of Microsoft's "Ready Boost" feature in Windows Vista and will be available "around" the time the new operating system launches.

Wouldn't it be nice, if you did not have to wait for the hard drive to start spinning every time you launch your PC out of its sleep state or switch between open applications? Several upcoming NAND flash technologies are designed to address that problem and promise users a substantial boost in system performance, while lowering the power consumption of a computer system at the same time.

Samsung, the world's largest NAND flash manufacturer, was first to announce a hybrid hard drive that uses flash memory in combination with a traditional hard drive and recently also announced that it will be offering a 32 GB solid state disk (SSD) drive for mobile computers.

Now the company announced a 2.5" 4 GB SSD: It does not quite offer the space required to be promoted as a mass storage drive, but it is large enough to store lots frequently accessed data. According to Samsung, the "performance booster can be located virtually anywhere on the motherboard and is connected through the ATA port." It is unclear at this time how the drive actually will be mounted inside a PC, if it is located "on the motherboard."

Samsung said that the SSD is compatible with Microsoft's "Ready Boost" - previously referred to as "Super Fetch" - which will enable the operating system to requisition Flash memory from flash memory devices - and most likely other SSD devices such as DRAM drives - for use as higher-level read caches. According to Samsung, the feature will improve system responsiveness and allow users "to avoid the hundreds of annoying multi-second delays they experience every day when moving within and between frequently used applications."

The SSD and Ready Boost apparently will be intelligent enough to prepare a user's favorite applications and data in the background: "When a user requests that data, rather than being limited to servicing 100-200 requests per second (as with a traditional HDD), Samsung's SSD can service up to 5000 request per second, virtually eliminating data seek delays. The 4 GB SSD can work in tandem with a hybrid hard drive, coming into play as a secondary source of cached data," the firm said. Also, data stored in the SSD is automatically compressed 2x, which - according to Samsung - can double the capacity of the device to 8 GB.

Samsung spokesman John Lucas told TG Daily that the SSD will be available "just before or around" the time of the launch of Windows Vista. Pricing of the SSD has not been announced.

UPDATE 26 July 3:20 PM EST: Samsung's 4 GB Vista flash SSD to be priced under $200

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