Samsung develops Flash-based harddrive

San Jose (CA) - Samsung announced that it has developed the first solid state disk (SSD) based on NAND Flash memory technology. 1.8" 16 GByte SSD drives will ship in August of this year.

Using Flash for harddrives is an idea that has been around for a while. But taking advantage of low power consumption as well as fast data transfer rates usually comes at a high price. For example, M-Systems offers such harddrives with up to 176 GByte capacity and SCSI interfaces, but charges prices that reach deep into the five-figure Dollar range.

Samsung made waves in April with the announcement of a hybrid harddrive that uses the firm's NAND Flash to reduce power consumption and accelerate especially startup times of computers. The company takes this step one step further with an announcement to offer 1.8" harddrives for notebooks and Tablet PCs that are completely based on Flash and do not use any moving parts.

According to Samsung, the SSD, the developed drive uses 4 and 8 Gbit Flash chips. Combining up to 16 of these devices, the company claims to be able to offer SSDs with a capacity of 8 and 16 GByte. Power consumption of the SSD is about five percent of a typical harddrives. Considering the fact that harddrives usually consume up to 20 percent of a battery's capacity, the use of the SSD translates in about 34 minutes of additional computing time in a notebook that needs to be recharged after 3 hours.

The company claims that the performance of the SSD exceeds the speed of other harddrives by more than 150 percent. The storage disk reads data at 57 MByte per second and writes it at up to 32 MByte per second, the company said.

The performance stays below that of M-Systems' drives (up to 320 GByte per second), but pricing should also come in significantly lower. Samsung did not comment on the cost of a SSD drive, but considering current Flash pricing we would expect the 8 GByte drive to start be positioned in $500-600 price bracket and the 16 GByte unit to ring in at about $1200.

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