updated 10:55 pm EDT, Sun May 25, 2008
Samsung 256GB SSD
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. This comes in a chassis that is also described as one of Samsung's thinnest at 9.5mm (0.37in), making it suitable for very thin and light notebooks.
More important still is the cost of the technology behind the drive, Samsung says. 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.
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. Costs haven't yet been announced.
The company is one of the most frequent suppliers of SSDs to PC makers and sees its 1.8-inch 64GB drive in use by Apple's MacBook Air, the Lenovo ThinkPad X300, and several PC models from Dell and its sub-label Alienware. No customers have been named by Samsung, though the firm notes that it's involved in designing for "all of the top PC and server manufacturers" in the US, Asia, and Europe.