I see that I haven’t mentioned solid state drives in nearly two years, but it is one area where technical advances are coming hot and heavy as indicated by yesterday’s announcement by Samsung of a 256GB SSD which could be shipping in products by the end of 2008:
Samsung late on Sunday promised what it says is a breakthrough in solid-state drives with the launch of its first 256GB SSD. The drive offers twice the capacity of the Korean firm’s previous 128GB SSD but is also much faster. The 256GB edition reads sequential data at 200MB per second, twice the rate of the original model, while also seeing an even greater increase in write speeds: where the earlier drive writes at 70MB per second, the new SSD writes at 160MB per second.
The big question of course is the cost and while Samsung isn’t quoting prices yet, there is some good news:
Rather than use costly single-level cell (SLC) technology, the company has managed to develop a multi-level cell (MLC) storage drive that transfers as quickly as the best SLC storage while costing much less to produce than past SSDs. Improvements to the storage controller have also extended the longevity to as long as SLC drives, giving the 256GB drive longevity as good or better than some rotating hard disks.
SLC and MLC refer to how much information can be stored in one flash memory cell. A multi-level cell stores more than the single bit in a single-level cell providing a greater areal density and lower cost per bit.
Samsung expects its new drive to be sampling for computer manufacturers by September and shipping to those clients by the end of the year; this applies to both a 2.5-inch drive for more traditional notebooks and a 1.8-inch drive for ultraportables and other much smaller devices.
No customers have been announced, but it will be interesting to see who jumps on board and how inexpensive these beauties really are.