Toshiba Preps 128 GB SSDs For Q1

Tokyo (Japan) - Toshiba is the next data storage giant announcing its entry into the increasingly popular solid state disk (SSD) storage market.

The company said it will be begin sampling solid state disk drives in February of next year with mass production expected to begin as early as March 2008: Toshiba will be offering both SATA-2 SSD modules as well as SATA-2 drives in 1.8" and 2.5" form factors in 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB capacities. The modules are scheduled to be introduced in March, while the drives will be hitting the market in May.

Toshiba said that the new storage devices are designed to be "primarily" used in notebook PCs.

The company's announcement is adding fuel to speculations that SSDs could see significant price drops over today's $500+ 32 GB versions drives. In fact, Toshiba may be the most important company to bring a new dynamic to a market that largely has been dominated by Samsung so far: According to iSuppli, Toshiba is the world's second largest NAND flash supplier with a market share of 27.2% in Q3 of this year. Market leader Samsung, which began shipping SSDs earlier this year, is estimated to hold a share of 40.2%.

Toshiba said that its SSDs will sue NAND flash produced in 56 nm technology and will integrate an original MLC controller "supporting fast read-write speeds, parallel data transfers and wear leveling, and achieve performance levels comparable to those of single-level NAND flash SSDs." The use of multi-level cells was key to achieve a density of 128 GB, the firm noted.

The maximum read speed of the SSD products is rated at 100 MB/s; the maximum write speed is 40 MB/s with a SATA-2 interface. The operating life of the drives is rated at 1,000,000 hours.