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SanDisk joins the Flash SSD arena

DailyTech reported yesterday that Samsung developed a new 50 nanometer 16Gb NAND flash memory chips that provide 100% faster read speeds and 150% faster write speeds. The announcement sparked a lot of interest from consumers looking for larger and faster offerings than Samsung's current 32GB Flash SSD drive.

SanDisk today entered the SSD fray with a 32GB drive of its own. The 1.8" SanDisk SSD Ultra ATA 5000 drive uses patented TrueFFS flash management technology and has a 2 million hour MTBF. The drive has no moving parts, so it is completely silent and weighs less than traditional 1.8" mobile hard drives. The drive also consumes 0.4W of power when active, versus 1.0W for a traditional mobile hard drive.

When it comes to performance, the SanDisk SSD Ultra ATA 5000 offers sustained reads of 62MB/sec and can complete random reads at 7300 IOPS (512-byte file size). The drive can boot Windows Vista Enterprise on a notebook in 35 seconds and has an average access time of 0.12 ms.

“Once we begin shipping the 32GB SSD for notebook PCs, we expect to see its increasing adoption in the coming years as we continue to reduce the cost of flash memory.  When these SSD devices become more affordable, we expect that their superior features over rotating disk drives will create a new consumer category for our retail sales channels worldwide,” said SanDisk CEO Eli Harari.

SanDisk leveraged technology from its acquisition of M-Systems in developing its new SSD drive. SanDisk gained a wide portfolio of 1.8", 2.5" and 3.5" SSD drives when it acquired M-Systems.

SanDisk’s new SSD Ultra ATA 5000 drive is currently available to OEMs and is expected to add $600 to the price of a new notebook computer in the first half of 2007. That figure is expected to drop as the year progresses.

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By Timberbarn on 1/4/2007 8:35:20 PM , Rating: 2
The use of flash-based storage has many interesting ideas.

In a media-center PC, the flash storage can easily be used for the operating system adn application storage while permitting a disk-based storage to be used for storing the media files. The advantage of this is that a 5400RPM drive can easily beused that will produce less noise, vibration and heat while using less energy. All of this while providing more than acceptable performance. The slower speeds,an less heat generation should generally lead to increased reliability at the same cost, or the same reliability at lower costs. The advantages that mechanical drives have interms of sequential throughput are best optimized. When not needed for straming input or output, the drive is turned off, reducing energy, noise, and wear.

In a business server situation, the flash-based storage produces far lower access times and substantially improved random reads and writes. This would be excellent in a transaction server where large nmbers of small reads adn writes are common. The lower energy usage and small size, would make for ideal use in blade systems and rack installations. I could easily see many such drives inside a 1U rack server while running RAID5 or RAID6.

At current prices, These are probably not significantly more expensive than simple SCSI or SAS raid systems that may be used for server operating systems. With far greater reliability, I could see them used in small, remote locations where basic functions are needed. Sometimes, costs are not so easily identified, and simple may be worth a small initial cost.

What other ideas do some of you have?

"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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