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Write speed problems may mean no SSD price drops until next year

Many potential SSD customers have been waiting for 32nm NAND flash production to increase significantly before they make a purchasing decision. The new smaller chips are much cheaper to make, which would lower the price of SSDs made using those components.

Samsung is the world's largest producer of NAND flash chips used in SSDs, but there is a very large fly in the ointment. DailyTech spoke with half a dozen companies in the SSD market that use Samsung's flash chips, and the results are troubling.

All of the companies we spoke with noted significant write speed issues with Samsung's 32nm flash. The problems are so bad that these SSD makers are unable to use them in their SSDs, which means that they have to source chips from other flash manufacturers like IM Flash Tech and Toshiba.

"Of course every transition to a new process has its problems," stated one source who requested anonymity. "We just weren't expecting it to be this slow".

32nm NAND produced by Toshiba was also initially slow and problematic. However, most of those write speed problems have been resolved. Some of those chips will make its way into drives like OCZ's Agility series.

Meanwhile, Intel and Micron are reaping huge sales from production of 34nm NAND from their IMFT joint venture. SSD prices from rivals like OCZ and Super Talent dropped significantly after Intel introduced their second generation X25-M SSD using those chips.

All is not lost for Samsung though. The company is hard at work finding a solution, and it is still trying to sell those chips in the embedded market. However, time is running out as productions deadlines to meet the Windows 7 launch and critical Christmas shopping season are both approaching.

A major hardware refresh cycle is coming soon, with new CPUs from Intel, cheap DDR3, DirectX 11 hardware, and a much improved operating system all coming together to tempt consumers. Making SSDs a part of a new build or upgrade may prove irresistible, regardless of the cost.

Update: Samsung has responded to this article, which is available here.

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RE: Last paragraph
By descendency on 10/2/2009 12:47:29 AM , Rating: 2
The 100$ AMD Quadcore is not a bad idea, if you are going to buy a bigger monitor, but if you want to play an RTS at 640x480 (why you would... I don't know), then the bound is going to be heavily CPU. The 100$ quad core from AMD is probably not the best chip to use.

What I would advise is to look at games reviews (especially in the genre of your choice) and see how many are GPU centric and how many are CPU centric. If you want to play WoW at ungodly low resolution (like 640x480), then you will need to buy the best CPU you can get, which is a core i7 920+. (And really good RAM, for overclocking reasons...)

Really, If you are not going to upgrade your 15/17 inch flat panel you bought a few years ago when they came into fad, then you are probably wasting your time buying a very high end GPU, but people do it. But, if you are going to keep that monitor, (the one with 1280x1024 resolution) you'll definitely want a better CPU.

If you have a 22+ inch monitor, the CPU becomes a lot less important, unless the game is an RTS or the like where it is heavily CPU bound anyways.

So, the 100$ AMD quadcore sounds like a good idea in general, it's probably best to avoid it if you don't have a 22+ inch monitor, since you are probably gaming at low resolution (and therefore it takes very little GPU processing before you hit a large block of CPU code to be processed.)

Basically, the higher the product (1680x1050 = 1.6M, 1920x1200 = 2.3M, 2560x1600 = 4m...) the more likely you need a better GPU and the more attractive that 100$ quad core looks.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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