Samsung has faced a lot of adversity when it comes to getting their fancy new SSDs to consumers. While they’re responsible for producing nearly half of the NAND flash in SSDs sold, they can’t seem to sell their own boxes.
That’s why they’re aiming their sights on the gamer crowd. According to Jim Elliott, Vice President of Memory Marketing for Samsung, “In addition to processing power, advanced graphic cards and high-resolution monitors, gamers want a fast storage drive for reduced loading times and faster game performance. Our 256GB SSD provides much better overall performance than conventional HDDs, as well as longer battery life for the notebook gamer. Clearly, all PC gamers will benefit from the blistering speeds and dazzling photorealism enabled by the Samsung 256GB SSD.”
Sure, the SSDs do cost a pretty penny, but if there’s any crowd that will pay a premium for the latest piece of hardware that will give them a competitive edge, it’s gamers. No official word yet as to when we can expect the adverts.
Solid state drives show immense promise with regards to reliability and read speeds, but current-generation models are rife with drawbacks. Due to NAND flash memory’s architecture, writing data to a block (after the first time) requires copying the entire contents of that block to cache, erasing it, and rewriting it with the added data. Large numbers of small writes run the risk of overloading the SSD’s disk cache, causing high latency. Multi Layer Cell (MLC) solid state drives, especially those utilizing JMicron’s JM602 controller, are particularly susceptible.
Fortunately, Samsung’s SSDs, like Intel’s (whose X25-M is the gold standard for solid state drives), use their own controllers, and the results are impressive. This 256GB SSD reached sustained average read speeds of 175MB/s, just 12 percent slower than the Intel drive and 75 percent faster than a Western Digital VelociRaptor. Better still, the Samsung drive’s average sustained write speeds topped 150MB/s, much faster than the 64.3MB/s average offered by the Intel drive. Oddly, Intel’s X25-M still reigns supreme in our Premiere Pro encoding test, beating the Samsung drive by nearly two minutes. The Samsung’s random access times, while slightly slower than the X25-M’s, still average at under .2ms for read and write.
The Samsung drive’s PCMark Vantage score, at 14,088, is less than half that of the Intel drive’s, but still double that of any standard hard drive.
Sprint on Thursday announced the Samsung Reclaim, the first phone in the U.S. constructed from eco-friendly bio-plastic materials. In addition to being constructed from 80 percent recyclable materials, Sprint said it will donate $2 to The Nature Conservancy's Adopt an Acre program each time a customer purchases a Reclaim.
"This generous donation from Sprint will help us protect and restore some of America's most beautiful and ecologically-important landscapes for future generations to enjoy," said Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. "We applaud Sprint's sustainability efforts, as innovation and new technology are crucial to the future of conservation."
Features of the Reclaim include a slide-out full QWERTY keyboard, Sprint Navigation with GPS support, 2MP camera with 3x digital zoom and camcorder, expandable memory up to 32GB, and an integrated web browser.
The Reclaim will be made available in choice of Earth Green or Ocean Blue starting August 16 for $50 (after $30 instant rebate and $50 MIR) with a two-year service agreement.
With the introduction of the SNE-50K, Samsung has finally entered the Ebook market, hoping to compete with Amazon’s Kindle.
The SNE-50K (notably, the name isn’t as catchy as its competitors) will come with 512MB of onboard storage, a five-inch touch screen, a stylus, and no wireless or Internet capabilities. Though, while it can’t connect to you to the net, it is awfully slim, measuring only nine millimeters thick.
The reader is currently looking to launch in South Korean first, where it’ll partner with the Kyobo Bookstore, one of the largest booksellers in the region. No word yet on how much it, or its books, will cost but it’s expected to be on display in January at CES.
Is that 1GHz in your pocket or, well, you know the rest. The answer may soon be 'both,' as Samsung and Intrinsity jointly announced a 1GHz ARM processor that will likely find a home in the iPhone and other similar devices. Code named Hummingbird, the co-developed 1GHz chip is very similar to the 600MHz Samsung processor based on the ARM Cortex A8 design that currently powers the iPhone 3G, CNet reports.
"Samsung could drop Hummingbird into the existing S5PC100 design with few or no changes," said Tom R. Halfhill, senior analyst at the Microprocessor Report. "Bingo! A next-gen iPhone that could run at speeds up to 1GHz."
On the design side, getting to 1GHz meant using a 45nm manufacturing process, whereas most other ARM chips currently on the market are built around a 65nm manufacturing process. That represents somewhat of a change in design philosophy from ARM, who previously focused more on power efficiency than it did on high-performance.
Nevertheless, Samsung and Intrinsity say the new chip's multi-Vdd / multi-frequency design methodology ensures Hummingbird can run at a high speed even at the minimum supply voltage of 1.0V.
Back in February of this year, Samsung developed and validated its first 40nm DRAM chip, and now five months later, the chip maker announced it has begun mass producing 2Gb DDR3 using the smaller manufacturing process.
Samsung says the move to 40nm will provide around a 60 percent increase in production capacity over a 50nm process, and it won't all be relegated to the server market, according to news and rumor site DigiTimes. In addition to 16GB, 8GB, and 4GB RDIMMs for servers, Samsung will use the 40nm manufacturing process to build UDIMMs (unregistered in-line memory modules) for workstatios, desktops, and notebooks of up to 4GB.
The energy efficient chips support a data rate of up to 1.6Gbps at just 1.35V, double that of an 800Mbps 1Gb-based dual-die package.
In the interest of bolstering their line of portable hard drives, Samsung recently announced their newest 1.8-inch drive, which supports capacities up to 250GB.
The new drive, known as the Spinpoint N3U, will come with a native USB controller instead of a PATA controller, allowing it to work without any data conversion. This also provides fewer potential points of failure. The drive will use up to 40 percent less power than a drive of similar capacity, and can withstand a free fall drop of up to 50 centimeters.
Shipments are slated to begin in mid-July, and the drive is expected to cost $199.
According to recent reports, Samsung is planning to launch an 11.6-inch netbook based off of Nvidia’s Ion in July.
The reports haven’t said much, but what is known is that the netbook will be run off of an Intel Atom N-series CPU, and that it’ll break Intel’s previously listed 10.2-inch size limit for netbooks. Intel has since cancelled preferential pricing for Samsung.
No official word yet on exactly what the netbook will be called, or what regions can expect it.
It looks as though all those early jitters notebook vendors had surrounding Nvidia's Ion platform have started to subside, as yet another vendor confirmed plans to build a netbook based around Nvidia's Ion chipset.
This time it's Samsung who's jumping on board, following the announcement of Lenovo's IdeaPad S12 due out in August, the first Ion-based netbook announced from a major PC maker. But while Samsung wasn't the first to announce a netbook with Nvidia graphics, Netbook Choice reports Samsung's N510 is due this month.
A full spec sheet hasn't yet been made available, but in addition to the Ion platform, look for the 11.6-inch N510 to sport an Intel N280 Atom processor (1.66GHz), a 160GB hard drive, 1GB of memory, WiFi, and a webcam.
Samsung this week announced the S5P6440, which is the company's latest ARM11 processor and the first to be designed using a 45nm lower power CMOS process technology.
"Today's ultra-competitive consumer electronics market demands rapid performance upgrades and effective cost reduction to continue its expansion," said Dr. Kwang-hyn Kim, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing at Samsung Electronics' System LSI division.
The new chip is based on an ARM1175 CPU core, which runs at either 533MHz or 667MHz. A 64-bit AXI bus running at 166MHz connects the core and all on-chip hardware accelerators and peripheral interfaces. In addition, the S5P6440 boasts 2Dgraphics acceleration hardware compliant with the OpenVG API standard, enabling graphical goodies like alpha blending for transparency effects, anti-aliasing, and vector graphics support.
Samsung says it has begun sampling the new ARM11 processor to key customers and will start volume shipments sometime in Q3 of this year.