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Samsung rolls out its highest capacity 1.8" flash SSD

Back in March, Samsung announced its 64GB flash Solid State Disk (SSD). The 1.8" unit promised read speeds of 65MB/sec and write speeds of 45MB/sec.

Samsung today revealed that it has started mass production of its new drive. The 64GB SSD uses 64 eight gigabit single-level cell (SLC) flash memory chips which are built on a 51 nanometer manufacturing process.

"We see sharply increasing interest in SSDs among OEMs worldwide amid a growing push to launch premium SSD-based notebooks, particularly in the ultra-mobile category," said Jim Elliott, director, flash marketing, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.

Samsung's 64GB SSD will likely appear at online retailers and inside ultra-portable notebooks (and UMPCs) within the coming weeks and months.

SSDs have the advantage of low power consumption, low weight, durability, silent operation and high performance. These advantages are expected to allow SSDs to account for 29 percent of ultra-portable notebooks and 25 percent of mainstream notebooks according to iSuppli.

The benefits afforded by SSDs are offset by one major deficit: pricing. 1.8" SSD are currently around five times more expensive than their 1.8" HDD counterparts. By the year 2010, that differential is expected to only drop to three times as expensive.

For those that simply can’t wait for the 1.8” 64GB SSDs to arrive, the older and slower 32GB version (53MB/sec reads, 30MB/sec writes) is available online for the princely sum of $529.

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Maybe later
By chick0n on 6/25/2007 12:04:16 PM , Rating: -1
I have 2 Raptor 150g Raid 0 + Seagate 750 GB

Filled up about 1/2 of the space. another 400 gb to go !

I will just wait 2-3 years and see how many of these SSDs failed. before I hit my buy button.

RE: Maybe later
By TomZ on 6/25/2007 1:30:53 PM , Rating: 4
Something seems ironic to me about expressing concerns about the reliability of a solid-state drive and saying they are going to stick with their electro-mechanical drives. Did you know the MTBF is probably 10x higher on flash drives compared with magnetic hard drives?

RE: Maybe later
By Durrr on 6/25/2007 2:31:05 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with the SSD is the fact that it has a definite number of writes when it will no longer be usable. Flash memory is the same way. For normal file storage, this is no big deal, however, when you get into using page files on the SSD, I can see this being a failure issue.

RE: Maybe later
By TomZ on 6/25/2007 2:54:29 PM , Rating: 5
1. Mechanical systems also wear out - for example, how many times can the read/write head move before it no longer works correctly, how long before the motor goes bad, etc.?

2. Existing electro-mechanical HDDs also develop bad sectors, and embedded in the drive's firmware is the ability to mark those as bad and store data elsewhere. The same reliability mechanism exists in SSDs.

3. As I pointed out in my post above, flash-based HDDs have been the primary HDDs in many hi-rel systems for many years, probably in the mainstream for 10 years, and in higher-value niche applications for even longer.

RE: Maybe later
By InternetGeek on 6/25/2007 10:25:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'm all in favor of diminishing the amount of moving parts, but not at the expense of lifetime. Harddrives, as any other electronic device, will eventually fail which renders the reliability rationale meaningless if it wasn't for the fact that, at the current state of the technology, SSDs will fail faster than electro-mechanical HDDs because they have a fixed read/write operations value. With HDDs you are guaranted that unless something goes really wrong the HDD is virtually unstoppable.

RE: Maybe later
By TomZ on 6/25/2007 10:54:04 PM , Rating: 2
SSDs will fail faster than electro-mechanical HDDs because they have a fixed read/write operations value

No, they don't. They have a rated minimum, typically 100,000 or 1,000,000 or 10,000,000 cycles. But they don't just "drop dead" at that threshold. It is more of a soft failure, like having a bad sector on a HDD.

Problem with a HDD is there are more things that could go wrong with the entire drive, e.g., motor fails. Flash is inherently more reliable.

RE: Maybe later
By InternetGeek on 6/26/2007 12:04:22 AM , Rating: 2
No, there's the chance you cannot recover your data at all. Which is not always the case with HDDs. I, myself, have recovered data by swapping a HDDs board with another of exactly the same make. That is not a possibility with SSDs. It's not even theoretically possible.

Until I can get at least 120Gb and 5year warranty on a SSD I'm not spending $500 on a SSD. Prices should be comparable, given that HDD do not fail as often as people are making them look. I haven't had a HDD die on me for at least 15 years, and I still have old HDDs (5meg, 10megs) working. Though just for fun to be honest.

RE: Maybe later
By OxBow on 6/26/2007 3:39:08 PM , Rating: 3
Probably later since I'm not in the market for storage right now, but...

$500 to $2000 for one of these drives seems a tych excessive, but there are some out there who'll pony up that kind of cash for the bleeding edge. That's why they call it the bleeding edge. As for the OEM's, they're buying most of these in bulk for 4q'08 devices and very few of these drives will trickle into the open market for at least another couple quarters. That's not to say this goodness isn't coming to retail, but whether I buy now or "maybe later" is really moot, since "later" is really your only choice.

That's not saying I wouldn't love to have one of these, but there are a lot of things I'd love to have and don't, so...

I'd really like to see these soldered into motherboards right in line with the BUS and cutting out the IDE, SATA or Raid interfaces. Put a flash hard drive clocked at the same BUS speed as the rest of the system and use it for boot/OS jobs. This would speed up most computers beyond belief. Add in a second 15k low gig hard drive for apps and a whopping 1tb drive for storage. That'd be worth all the hype.

RE: Maybe later
By SmokeRngs on 6/26/2007 6:19:02 PM , Rating: 2
Something seems ironic to me about expressing concerns about the reliability of a solid-state drive and saying they are going to stick with their electro-mechanical drives.

Actually, the ironic part is that he's running RAID 0 and talking about reliability.

The other interesting point is that he's comparing RAID 0 with an SSD. He obviously has no clue what the differences between RAID 0 and an SSD are.

RAID 0 does nothing but allow for increased sustained sequential reads and writes of large files. At the same time, access speeds worsen. Small file transfers can also be slower than with a single drive.

SSDs generally have lower or similar read/write speeds compared to mechanical hard drives while having much lower access times. It doesn't take nearly as long to reach the information off the drive. For accessing files like those your OS uses, it's much faster.

Throughput is rarely a bottleneck except when reading or writing large numbers of smaller files or single large files.

Other than updates and pagefiles, most OSes and programs do not do much writing after initial installation and reads do not appreciably affect SSDs. Writes are what can "wear" out an SSD.

Also, SSDs have leveling implemented to spread out the writes over as much of the drive as possible to lengthen the life of the drive. As long as you aren't writing and erasing the same sectors constantly, the drive will have a long life. While I'm not a fan of MTBF ratings, most SSDs have an MTBF rating much higher than mechanical hard drives from what I've read.

I'd love to get my hands on a 64 gig SSD for an OS drive. At this time, there is no way I'm going to be forking out the money they cost, though. For me, the price is way too high for the advantages it has. Then again, I would pay a price premium for a good SSD over something like a WD Raptor since I see the SSD with more positives than the Raptor.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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