The Solid State Disk market got another player Wednesday, when DRAM and flash memory manufacturer Super Talent Technology announced a new line of SSDs.
The company's 3.5-inch SSD will be available in capacities of up to 128 GB, while the 2.5-inch SSD will be available in sizes of up to 64 GB, and the 1.8-inch SSD up to 32 GB. In all, Super Talent is releasing seven models, in 16-, 32-, 64-, and 128-GB capacities.
The SSD market is quickly getting crowded, with many leapfrogging announcements made recently. Last month, Adtron announced 160-GB Serial ATA and IDE drives, with read speeds up to 70 MB/sec. Meanwhile, SanDisk is shipping drives up to 32 GB, and Ritek has announced drives up to 64 GB. Samsung also offers an SSD in 32-GB capacity. And earlier this week, Intel announced a line of flash drives up to 8 GB.
Increasing Transfer Rates
Super Talent's drives are all compatible with the industry-standard Serial ATA interface and available in the three common form factors of 1.8 inch, 2.5 inch, and 3.5 inch. These sizes mean they can serve as drop-in replacements for many existing hard drives in ultraportables, notebook, and desktop PCs.
However, the new drives have data transfer rates of only 28 MB/sec. Super Talent said that a new storage controller will be released in May, and that it would increase the performance to the SanDisk level of 60 MB/sec.
At the lower end of SSD capacities, said Shawny Chen, a research analyst with Current Analysis, the drives are useful primary for "road warriors" for whom durability, boot times, and power requirements offset added costs.
The higher capacities are approaching hard drive sizes, she noted, but "flash capacities will always follow hard drives'. Hard drive manufacturers will always push their capacity." At the moment, she said, the SSDs are targeted for OEM manufacturers. "We'll have to see if consumers want them," she noted.
Advantages and Disadvantages
SSDs, which use flash memory and have no moving parts, offer several advantages over traditional magnetic storage. Solid-state drives are faster in data transfer and access speeds than hard drives. They are more rugged, completely silent, use up to 85 percent less power, and don't heat up. SSD makers also say such drives have significantly longer lifetimes and offer much faster boot times.
The current downsides are that SSDs are more expensive per gigabyte than standard drives, although the price is dropping. "We've engineered these drives to offer twice the data throughput at half the cost per gigabyte compared to the first SSD drives we introduced a year-ago," Joe James, Super Talent Marketing Director, said in a statement.
The San Jose, California-based company said the products will be available next month to OEMs and resellers, and that pricing will be announced at that time. As a reference, the SanDisk 2.5-inch 32-GB SSD, released this week, is offered at $350 in volume.