Here's some sobering news if you're hoping to pick up a low cost, high capacity solid state drive (SSD) any time in the near future. According to A-Data chairman Simon Chen, the SSD market won't experience robust growth for at least another two years.
NAND flash chips are at the root of problem. While the development of chip controllers have matured and TRIM support is now commonplace, NAND flash memory still costs way too much to push SSDs into the mainstream on any kind of level approaching hard drives.
Chen did note that NAND flash chip prices have come down a little bit since the fourth quarter of 2009, but not nearly enough to make an impact. Market research firm DRAMeXchange backs Chen's claims, noting that contract quotes for mainstream 16Gb (gigabit) multi-level cell (MLC) chips have stayed high at $4.06 so far this month.
Memory maker A-Data has traditionally been associated with value-oriented and entry-level RAM kits, but the company continues to expand its higher-end lineup. Today that includes the introduction of A-Data's new XPG Gaming Series DDR3-1600G 8GB dual-channel kit.
"The ultimate gaming experiences are relying on proper choice of PC hardware and overall performance. Therefore, we introduced XPG Gaming Series DDR3-1600G as 8GB dual-channel kit," said Action Chen, Deputy Project Manager of A-Data XPG Department. "Gaming enthusiasts are able to enjoy the extreme capacity and high-speed by using XPG Gaming Series DDR3-1600G 8GB dual-channel kit with 64-bit OS and satisfy their insatiable thirst for ultimate gaming experience."
Not the most elegantly worded quote we've ever seen, but c'mon, the dude's name is "Action." Besides, it's about the RAM, and according to A-Data, all ICs are verified by "high standard criteria" before the engineers slap them on a 6-layer PCB. Latencies check in at 9-9-9-24 at 1.55V to 1.75V.
The kit is available now through "selected distributors and resellers." No word on price.
Don't even bother trying to follow the memory market until you've taken a dose of Dramamine. The DRAM industry has more ups and downs than a Six Flags amusement park, only without all the thrills. According to A-Data, that doesn't look to change in 2010, and you should brace yourself for a memory shortage in the latter part of the year.
Speaking at a recent company event, A-Data chairman Simon Chen said strong PC replacement demand in both the consumer and business sectors will put the squeeze on memory makers to keep up. Chen expects demand to outpace supply by 1-2 percent in the second quarter, and then remain throughout the second half of the year.
Chen attributes the demand to Windows 7, which he says will spark a ton of replacement PC purchases. As a result, expect DRAM prices to go up, a trend we've already been seeing, especially in the notebook memory market.
The new year is supposed to bring about change, but it might just be more of the same, at least in the memory industry. According to Simon Chen, chairman of memory maker A-Data, DRAM chip supply will remain tight throughout most of 2010.
On the plus side, Chen doesn't anticipate any major price hikes. But he did warn that with major producers playing it conservative the past couple of years rather than putting a bigger focus on capacity expansion, supply will have a tough time keeping up with demand.
Chen's comments fall in line with a recent DRAMeXchange report suggesting the market will see a shortage, which seems to be the general sentiment in the memory industry. Elpida Memory CEO Yukio Sakamoto recently voiced the same concern.
As for A-Data, Chen said his company plans to add 3 or 4 new overseas offices, bringing the total to 16 or 17. The new offices will most likely be opened in China, India, or both.
DRAM maker A-Data has decided to begin using a new anti-counterfeiting system they are calling “DNA Authentication”. According to the company, the fraudulent selling of fake RAM is a “serious and growing problem" in the tech world.
It seems A-Data has had a lot of troubles with the selling of fake DRAM chips with A-Data logos. According to the company, “…we adopted the DNA authentication technology to protect our intellectual property and our consumers’ interests."
So what does this mean? When you cut through the marketing speak, it’s basically just a new type of ID label on RAM sticks. To verify the authenticity of the chips, consumers can use a black light to reveal the unique code on the sticker. Like many of these ID systems, the label is designed to tear itself to shreds if removed. Will it do much to stop fraud, or will the fraudsters just fake these labels too?
For probably the first time in a very long time, the future appears bright for the memory market. Either that, or A-Data chairman Simon Chen is sporting an awfully bright pair of rose-colored glasses.
According to Chen, both the NAND flash and DRAM sectors have recovered in the second half of 2009, following the easing of an oversupply of chips that previously kept prices uncomfortably low. Chen views this as a positive sign moving forward, saying the overall memory sector is expected to return to its 2006 or 2007 form in 2010.
If true, this bodes particularly well for A-Data, who has aspirations of once again reigning as the most profitable among Taiwan-based memory module companies in 2010. A-Data is planning on expanding in India, Russia, Brazil, and Mexico, and according to Chen, sales generated from the emerging markets should grow significantly in 2010.
There's always some jackass at every party who still thinks it's funny to push people into the pool while fully clothed. What if they were carrying around a portable hard drive filled with family photos, work documents, government secrets, and other data that's now drenched in water and chlorine?
Yeah, that's probably never happened to anyone in the history of portable hard drives, but there's always a first. If you're lugging around A-Data's new SH93 mobile drive, you won't have to lose any sleep at night wondering what you'd do in exactly that situation. Heck, you wouldn't even need to get out of the pool right away, because according to A-Data, it's SH93 portable HDD, wrapped in a rubber-plastic mix and special cushion materials, has passed the 1M waterproof test for 30 minutes. Go ahead and practice your backstroke!
You could even drop it out of a second story window for a quck air-dry. After all, the rugged drive also passed the military standard MIL-STD-810F drop test.
Available in 250GB, 320GB, 500GB, and 640GB capacities, you'll probably never subject your portable HDD to the above abuses, but hey, it's good to know you can fumble your beer while watching the Super Bowl and not worry about frying your portable backup.
A-DATA today unveiled a new line of colorful USB flash drives with a swivel design case the company claims will keep the USB connector free from harm.
"Unlike conventional swivel-designed USB flash drives, the unique asymmetric outer casing of C903 protects the USB connector and serves as a lock mechanism to prevent the connector from sticking out due to constant turning and wearing," A-DATA stated in a press release. "The same design enables users to turn and store the USB connector properly in place with much of an ease."
The case comes constructed with a glossy metallic finish wrapped around either a bright red or blue USB stick, with initial capacities available up to 32GB.
Tough times for memory chip makers continue, but relief may soon be coming, if not for just a short period of time. According to Simon Chen, chairmen of A-Data Technology, DRAM prices have a very good chance of returning to cost levels in the third quarter of 2009, DigiTimes reports.
The comments came during the Computex Taipei trade show, in which A-Data has been showing off new memory products, including overclocked DDR3 memory kits and SSDs. However, Chen did caution that while pricing may soon go up, a full recovery isn't likely to take place until 2010. Contract pricing for June will be a telltale sign of things to come, Chen said, and DRAM chip makers would be wise to closely monitor and control their inventory.
A-Data's newest external hard drives employ you to "enjoy technology with a touch of style." And by that, A-Data means you should decide between rolling with sweet pink, sapphire blue, purple, or a white color scheme for your portable storage needs.
The color selection comes courtesy of A-Data's CH91 external HDD line. Coated in a metal-like paint spray, the new drives are available in capacities up to 500GB (250GB and 320GB also available) and support Microsoft's ReadyBoost technology. The USB powered drives measure 134mm x 82mm x 16.7mm, feature a blinking LED to indicate power and activity, and comes with a USB Y cable, suede pouch, and backup software.