Love your Eee PC but hate its skimpy 4GB-20GB of SSD storage? Our most recent Eee PC, the 9-inch Eee 901, had a 12GB SSD chip (you can get 20GB in the Linux version), but even that makes it hard to install apps or store photos, music, and so on. The new 10-inch Eee PC will sport up to 40GB of SSD storage, but we're already talking about a $699 laptop there.
SanDisk sees flash memory maxing out during the next decade and believes 3D technology is the answer.
Flash memory disk supplier SanDisk said this week that it is looking beyond flash memory because of anticipated limitations. SanDisk intends to tap into 3D read-write memory technology it acquired with the purchase of Matrix Semiconductor back in 2005.
3D memory chips can store more data vertically, allowing greater densities. While conventional integrated circuits put all active circuitry on the silicon substrate, SanDisk's 3D architecture deposits multiple layers of active memory elements so that circuitry extends vertically as well.
Speaking at this week's second-quarter earnings conference call, Sanjay Mehrotra, SanDisk president and chief operating officer, said his company is "developing the 3D read/write memory that we believe will replace NAND flash sometime in the next decade when it can no longer be economically scaled."
This follows a Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure earlier in the quarter covering an agreement that SanDisk signed with Toshiba to collaborate on the development of rewriteable 3D memory. SanDisk and Toshiba "will jointly perform research and development" on 3D memory, the companies said in the disclosure.
SanDisk has made progress with the technology since it acquired Matrix, according to Chairman and CEO Eli Harari, speaking earlier this week duing the earnings conference call. "SanDisk has been making good, steady progress since our acquisition three years ago of Matrix Semiconductor...We currently have more than 200 issued patents that cover key elements of 3D rewritable memory technology," Harari said.
Based on these statements and its collaboration with Toshiba, SanDisk believes 3D memory, though challenging, is a viable successor to flash. Commercialization presents "significant challenges" but the "effort is worth the prize as 3D memory is a potential game changer," Harari said. The technology would "achieve the cost structure to disrupt hard disk drive in the coming decade," he said.… Read more
Despite industry leader Seagate's poor showing earlier this year, analysts say there's still plenty of demand for hard disk drives.
In the first quarter of 2008, HDD vendors shipped 137 million drives, which is 21 percent higher than the same quarter the year before, according to iSuppli, a market research company which keeps track of the industry. Those drives are primarily being snapped inside notebook PCs, other portable devices, desktops, and external drives.
SanDisk said Monday that Windows Vista is not optimized for solid-state drives, delaying the delivery of optimized drives until next year.
Solid-state drives (SSDs) are used instead of hard disk drives in select high-end notebook PCs today such as the Apple MacBook Air and Toshiba Portege R500.
The next generation of SSDs will use multilevel cell (MLC) technology, which will require a more sophisticated controller--a crucial component in solid-state drives. These drives will have capacities ranging up to 128GB, 160GB, and later, 256GB. MLC drives are expected to appear in a wider selection of notebooks later this year.
Speaking during … Read more
Samsung and Sun Microsystems have developed a flash chip for use in solid-state drives that offers higher endurance levels than current devices, the companies say.
The chip is targeted at server applications.
The Samsung flash memory chip is based on single-level-cell (SLC) NAND flash technology and offers a fivefold increase in data write-and-erase cycles over standard SLC flash memory, according to Samsung.
SLC-based flash chips are faster and offer more write-and-erase cycles than multilevel cell (MLC)-based devices. MLC, however, offers greater capacities and lower cost, making it suitable for notebook computers. MLC-based solid-state drives from Samsung, Intel, Micron Technology, … Read more
Dell will sell you a 128GB solid state drive for an unprecedented $649. But wait. An IDC report claims the performance gap between solid state drives and lower-cost high-performance hard disk drives is not that significant at the system level.
Solid state drives are attracting more scrutiny as they increase in capacity and decrease in price. (Dell's $649 drive is a radical price drop since many drives with half the capacity still sell for more than $700.)
Solid state drives (SSDs) are considered to be generally more power efficient, faster, and in some respects more reliable than hard disk … Read more
This post was updated at 1:50 p.m. PDT with new information about availability.
Dell is adding a little more flash to its notebook lines this week.
The Round Rock, Texas, PC maker is offering a 128GB solid-state drive as an option on its Latitude, XPS, Alienware, and Precision laptop models beginning Tuesday. Though Dell isn't usually the first to jump into the fray when it comes to tech trends, the company says it's planning to further push innovation in the next couple of months.
Though solid state isn't new technology, it isn't exactly mainstream … Read more
Samsung has begun production of 128GB solid-state drives as it tries to overcome technical hurdles with larger-capacity drives.
The Seoul-based company announced Wednesday that it has begun mass producing 1.8- and 2.5-inch 128GB solid-state drives (SSDs). The new drives are based on a technology called multi-level cell (MLC). Samsung also plans to begin producing a 256GB solid-state drive at the end of this year using MLC.
MLC allows drive makers to build larger capacity drives, though the technology also presents performance and data reliability challenges--not only for Samsung but for all solid-state drive makers.
While multi-level cell technology … Read more
Update at 1:30 p.m. PDT July 3, with additional comments from Micron Technology (at bottom).
Has the image of solid state drives as power misers been shattered? A recent review would seem to dispel the notion that these devices are more power efficient than the hard disk drives used in laptops.
In an article at Tom's Hardware titled "The SSD Power Consumption Hoax", the authors state: "We have discovered that the power savings aren't there: in fact, battery runtimes actually decrease if you use a flash (solid state drive)."
(Note: Tom's Hardware has posted a correction to its original report here.)
One of the key selling points of solid state drives has been that they use less power than hard disk drives. The claim has seemed plausible because solid state drives have no moving parts, while hard disk drives have a number of moving components.
The Tom's Hardware review, however, says: "While conventional hard drives may operate at relatively low power when little movement is required...flash based drives do not. They will draw their maximum power level constantly when in use, and as a consequence, simply spend more total time drawing maximum power than conventional drives."
The review goes on to test four solid state drives (SSDs) from Crucial (Micron Technology), Memoright, Sandisk, and Mtron. For example, in evaluating the Crucial CT32GBFAB0 32GB drive, the review states, "Users who purchase this drive because of Crucial's statements such as 'low power consumption' and the product being ideal for 'users who want longer battery life' will most likely be disappointed."
Though Intel's drives were not tested in the review, the chipmaker stated Wednesday that SSDs "can be architected to improve battery life." Intel is expected to bring out drives ranging in capacity from 80GB to 160GB later this year.… Read more
No moving parts, shock resistant, and incredibly short seek time are some of many benefits you get from a solid-state hard drive. However, for now, the price for a SSD is so incredibly high that calling "insanely priced" might not be an over statement. It's hard to justify (or to afford for that matter) spending about $1,000 for only 64GB when you can pay about 10 percent of that cost for a regular 200GB laptop hard drive.
So how about making our own SSD?