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BiTMICRO promises super-capacity solid-state disk for Q3 2008

No, you didn't just misread the title to this article. BiTMICRO Networks is moving forward with plans to announce an 832GB SATA 2.5" solid-state disk (SSD) at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

The new 832GB SSD is a part of BiTMICRO's E-Disk Altima family and uses multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory to increase storage densities. BiTMICRO claims that the drive will "deliver sustained rates of up to 100 MB per second and up to 20,000 I/O operations per second."

"This latest product pre-announcement seeks to establish BiTMICRO’s commitment to deliver solid state storage in all market applications," said Rudy Bruce, BiTMICRO's Executive VP for Marketing and Sales. "We are excited to offer E-Disk Altima SATA flash solid state drive as a PC and enterprise storage alternative offering the best-in-class capacity, performance and reliability."

The 416GB counterpart to BiTMICRO's newest SSD entry was announced in early September 2007. At that time, BiTMICRO said that samples of its E-Disk Altima family would ship in Q1 2008 with production availability coming in March 2008.

BiTMICRO has since revised that forecast and projects that samples of the E-Disk Altima will be available during Q2 2008 with production models ranging from 32GB to 832GB coming in Q3 2008.

Pricing hasn't been announced for the massive 832GB drive, but expect to pay a pretty penny. Considering that 128GB SSDs can hover around the $4,000 USD mark, it's not too far-fetched to project that an 832GB SSD could be had for the price of a BMW 1-Series.

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One question
By FITCamaro on 1/4/2008 2:15:17 PM , Rating: -1
Who in their right mind needs an 832GB drive in their laptop? I mean unless you're trying to have a portable video server or something.

I don't see much of a market for this thing considering the price it will fetch. Maybe in a military/scientific data acquisition system or something where a conventional hard drive wouldn't be as practical.

RE: One question
By elpresidente2075 on 1/4/2008 2:20:00 PM , Rating: 3
The point is that this product will drive prices for smaller capacities down. Hopefully...

RE: One question
By othercents on 1/4/2008 2:23:37 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah they sell one of those babies and BiTMICRO would have met their sales quota for the year.


RE: One question
By gradoman on 1/4/2008 2:46:24 PM , Rating: 2
$100,000,000 dollars!! Okay, well not that much, but jeezus h. christ, it's gotta be in the 10s of thousand of dollars range.

Nice capacity though...

RE: One question
By Cygni on 1/4/2008 2:21:29 PM , Rating: 4
SSD's arent just for laptops. An 832GB SSD would be incredible for the server market... an area thats desperately been requesting higher density SSD drives.

RE: One question
By keiclone on 1/4/08, Rating: -1
RE: One question
By Brandon Hill on 1/4/2008 2:32:25 PM , Rating: 5
2.5" drives are also used in the enterprise market.

RE: One question
By Rolphus on 1/4/08, Rating: 0
RE: One question
By Rolphus on 1/4/2008 3:12:39 PM , Rating: 1
Current server lineup, that is.

RE: One question
By GaryJohnson on 1/5/2008 10:50:10 AM , Rating: 2

Is HP's server lineup not part of the enterprise market?

RE: One question
By 16nm on 1/4/2008 5:21:55 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, they are standard now on pretty much all server platforms from all server vendors. Their performance, efficiency AND operating temp. is superior to 3.5" SAS drives.

RE: One question
By cyclosarin on 1/4/2008 2:42:09 PM , Rating: 5
Why put it in a larger form factor when you can put it in a 2.5 and use it in pretty much anything you want? You can always mount a smaller device in a larger bay, you can't go the other way.

RE: One question
By mindless1 on 1/4/08, Rating: -1
RE: One question
By mindless1 on 1/5/2008 4:23:15 AM , Rating: 2
Since someone who is cluesss downrated my post, I should elaborate.

IF it weren't for the volume limitations of the case size, it wouldn't have to use MLC chips to achieve this capacity.

What does that mean? It means not only higher write speeds, it typically means 10X the write cycles. If you're spending several thousand dollars, this seems not so great a demand.

RE: One question
By Lonyo on 1/5/2008 6:14:28 AM , Rating: 2
But who would buy a 3.5" SSD?
3.5" SSD's would be even less competitive in terms of price on the desktop, they would have narrower compatibility, and they offer little benefit to desktops (you don't need to be an concerned about power consumption etc in a desktop computer since it doesn't run on batteries).

I think they're probably using 2.5" drives because that's the way to get most demand for this type of product while costs remain high.

RE: One question
By mindless1 on 1/7/2008 4:12:17 AM , Rating: 2
Would would buy - anyone who wants most capacity possible

Less Competitive - Completely non-applicable, the idea of price competition has no merit since it costs so much more than anything else

Benefit - Same as in a laptop, higher speed, reliability, less prone to mechanical crashes. The idea that a benefit is lower power is mostly wishful thinking, in a laptop the HDD is only a minor consumer of power.

I'm not saying they should do away with 2.5". Not at all, if you reread what I wrote I am saying that for this price they should be making products for MORE form factors than just 2.5".

For example, today you could have had a 2TB SLC chipped SSD in a 3.5" form factor. When thinking of mechanical HDDs, the internal data transfer rates were a limitation due to the platter, but with SSD and SATA300 plus the low latency you don't need as many *drives* to reach a performance level, or in this volume, the capacity.

Who would buy it is anyone that isn't thinking the same as you that it needs to be smaller than the available space to mount it. Solid state drives are the future of PCs as well as laptops!

RE: One question
By mobutu on 1/4/08, Rating: 0
RE: One question
By fifolo on 1/4/2008 8:56:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, I still can't fire out how to get one of those 3.5 inch floppies in the 5.25 inch bays in may case....

RE: One question
By fifolo on 1/4/2008 10:26:59 PM , Rating: 4
note to self:
always proofread cheap attempts at sarcasm

RE: One question
By JakLee on 1/4/2008 2:39:06 PM , Rating: 2
I for one can't wait til the price on the SSD's becomes reasonable for desktop users to take advantage of their speed. Laptops are great (& I own 2) but I would really like to have a pair of 200+gig in a raid array as my primary boot drive.

RE: One question
By Ammohunt on 1/4/2008 2:58:29 PM , Rating: 2
Yep a small array of ssd's for enterprise wide Oracle transaction logs.

RE: One question
By littlebitstrouds on 1/4/2008 2:38:43 PM , Rating: 2
Same people who filled up their 40mb hardrives 15 years ago... it's progress, who cares. No doubt we'll be there at some point. Personally I've filled my 160gb notebook drive many times and had to back stuff up on an external, I welcome the extra space.

RE: One question
By FITCamaro on 1/4/08, Rating: -1
RE: One question
By elpresidente2075 on 1/4/2008 3:04:59 PM , Rating: 5

RE: One question
By diego10arg on 1/4/2008 4:51:54 PM , Rating: 2
You should think getting an eee ;)

RE: One question
By elpresidente2075 on 1/5/2008 1:42:01 AM , Rating: 2
Buying one in August.

RE: One question
By psypher on 1/4/2008 3:40:04 PM , Rating: 1
30gb free? I don't have that much space free on my zune... My laptop has 370gb of storage and my desktop has 2.5tb of storage. My laptop has a lot of database files and my desktop has my dvd's, music and photos on it. i think i have about 150 gigs free on my laptop and about 800gigs on my desktop.

Now if i could have a pair of these drives in my laptop, i would love to house almost my entire media collection for on the road viewing... i travel more than i would like to, so that would be sweet.

RE: One question
By kalak on 1/7/2008 8:28:42 AM , Rating: 1
Congratulations, Goofy...

RE: One question
By ksherman on 1/4/2008 2:47:04 PM , Rating: 2
I for one would LOVE that much storage on my laptop. Its my only computer, and I too have filled it many times. My external stores a ton too, but is far to inconvenient to have to carry around. Plus this drive is most likely faster than my 5400rpm drive.

RE: One question
By MrBungle on 1/4/2008 3:11:45 PM , Rating: 5
Two words: HD porn.

RE: One question
By BruceLeet on 1/4/2008 8:11:04 PM , Rating: 5
Thats three words

RE: One question
By xsilver on 1/6/2008 3:07:27 AM , Rating: 1
you'll get a nice surprise then when he says its 9 inches

RE: One question
By Souka on 1/4/2008 3:16:04 PM , Rating: 2
"Who in their right mind needs an 832GB drive in their laptop? "

Welcome to the world of business....

video editing and VM images....especially with VISTA taking multi-gigabyte just for the base install....

RE: One question
By amanojaku on 1/4/2008 3:25:09 PM , Rating: 2
There are at least two areas that can use a drive like this.

The first is the server world, which has been transitioning from 3.5" drives to 2.5" drives for the past few years. The SSD would compete with the vaunted SAS drives, which are default storage devices in some HP and Dell servers. SAS drives offer significant performance improvements when compared to SCSI and have a smaller footprint. As a result, you find SAS drives in standard servers and blade servers. Hell, HP even has a 6-drive SAS blade!

The second area is the extremely small bleeding edge crowd looking for desktop or server performance in a laptop. When you consider the use of virtualization (for instance, VMware) it's not uncommon to see storage needs increase. With 832GB sales people could demo a multi-tiered application on many virtual machines, and the performance of an SSD would make that system perform as well as a desktop.

But let's not forget those with money to burn and the need to be the first one on the block with a shiny new SSD! I just wish I was one of the lucky bastards... :-(

RE: One question
By 16nm on 1/4/2008 5:27:47 PM , Rating: 2
SAS drives offer significant performance improvements when compared to SCSI and have a smaller footprint.

FYI, SAS is SCSI. SAS == Serial Attached SCSI . 2.5" drives have a smaller foot print than 3.5" ones because they are an inch less. It has nothing to do with SAS.

RE: One question
By amanojaku on 1/4/2008 8:30:58 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, I should have clarified that SAS performance is largely due to the serial design rather than the old SCSI shared bus design. They're both SCSI, but SAS has a dedicated bus, yielding a minimum theoretical disk-to-host transfer of 150Gbits/sec per drive.

The 2.5" drive design was used by SAS and (to my knowledge) never by SCSI. As a result of the smaller form factor you do see performance gains compared to 3.5" drives. But you are correct in that SCSI drives would also see performance improvements if they were switched to 2.5" form factors. A smaller drive size = less power used and less heat generated, both of which increase the performance of a drive.

The final two improvements of SAS over SCSI are elimination of clock skew and terminators. All electrical devices communicate via timed signals. If both ends of the communications path are clock synced they can communicate at their greatest rate. If they are not synced (they are skewed) they must compensate for the lost signal clock, which introduces delay.

The lack of terminators means there is no signal reflection in the SAS communications patch. Signal reflection also lowers the speed of a link by forcing both ends to determine if signals were duplicated. No duplication means simpler logic at each end and faster processing overall.

With the use of the SAS interface any drive will see performance improvements as long as data can be sent and received from the internal storage medium to the transfer interface fast enough. SSDs should see the use of SAS in the future.

RE: One question
By Some1ne on 1/4/2008 3:45:00 PM , Rating: 2
Who in their right mind needs an 832GB drive in their laptop?

People looking to completely replace their desktop with a laptop?

RE: One question
By 16nm on 1/4/2008 5:31:45 PM , Rating: 5
Who in their right mind needs an 832GB drive in their laptop?

Hmm, someone with 832 GB of data??? :)

RE: One question
By Oroka on 1/4/2008 5:58:52 PM , Rating: 3
For the price, no one NEEDS it. For raw storage SSD will not be economical for the better part of a decade. A 1TB external HDD would be a much better solution. You dont need crazy speed for storage.

This product is more of a 'I was there first' offering, I doubt it is even ment to be pratical, just generate media attention. Untill this article, I had never even heard of BiTMICRO... so even if they dont sell a single unit, they have acheived thier goal IMO.

RE: One question
By mindless1 on 1/4/2008 11:19:14 PM , Rating: 2
On a positive note, they're developing tech that will help improve performance and reliability of future generations, while flash price:capacity will continue to fall.

All we need is to remember what 4GB of flash cost in 1998 compared to now, and be a little patient about the future. No matter how much capacity or how fast it was, you'd get used to it and still just want more, by you I mean everyone, we like to see advancements.

RE: One question
By FredEx on 1/5/2008 9:00:32 AM , Rating: 2
Somebody always has to be, 'I was there first'. That is part of advancing ahead. BitMicro has been around for about 8 years doing work in this same field. I'll predict solid state storage will be economical far less than a decade from now. Possibly as soon as 2010.

RE: One question
By The Boston Dangler on 1/4/2008 6:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
bitmicro has been cranking out ssd's for a while now, mostly for specialized industrial applications.

when a military pilot hops out of his plane, he takes with him a lunchbox-sized flight data recorder. do you think conventional hard drives are used? no, sir.

RE: One question
By rdeegvainl on 1/5/2008 9:50:08 AM , Rating: 2
yeah, with amazingly small capacity for a drive of that size, they really need to upgrade.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
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