The SSD market was moving at a peaceful albeit underwhelming pace until Intel joined the party, promptly putting the smackdown on the competition. Intel's X-25M SSD proved to be twice as fast as other drives to have gone through Maximum PC's lab, helping it to earn a Kickass! award.
Now Samsung looks to follow suit, which comes as somewhat of a surprise given that the company hasn't been at that forefront of performance with SSDs topping out at less than 100MB/s. But that was before, and Samsung's new 256GB SSD not only offers up to twice as much storage space as its 64GB and 128GB models, but is more than twice as fast as well. Samsung says its 256GB comes rated at 220MB/s read and 200MB/s, or fast enough to store 25 high definition movies in just 21 minutes and able to launch applications 10 times faster than the speediest 7200RPM notebook drive.
Steven Peng, SSD technical marketing manager at Samsung, said the speed increase was made possible through multichannel interleaving, noting that "the basic architecture remains unchanged. However, there are design improvements such as optimized firmware, and improvements to the controller."
Samsung said it has begun mass producing the new 256GB SSD, but has not released information on pricing or availability.
Samsung’s 2.5-inch SSD packs 64 gigabytes of storage into an above-average package. Granted, the SLC-based drive delivers sustained read transfer rates that are slower than those of nearly all the SSDs reviewed here. But the drive makes up for this inadequacy by posting write speeds that match those of the fastest SLC-based drives in this roundup.
Our real-world experience with the drive followed suit. The Samsung SSD turned in a Premiere time of 8:43, nearly 2 minutes slower than Memoright’s GT-series 64GB SSD, but a mere 10 to 20 seconds behind the rest of the non-MLC drives we tested. The Samsung’s PCMark Vantage scores were within 4 percent of Memoright’s SSD, even though the latter crushes theSamsung by nearly 6 milliseconds in its random access write measurement.
Pioneer has to be feeling giddy following its most recent court victory. Pioneer had accused Samsung of willfully infringing on two of its patents -- U.S. Patent Numbers 5,182,489 and 5,640,068 -- covering plasma display technology. It took an eight-day trial to convince Hon. David J. Folsom in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Marshall, who awarded Pioneer with a $59 million verdict, part of which covers lost profits and royalties.
"We are very pleased with the jury's finding," says Mr. Baxter of McKool Smith, the firm who represented Pioneer. "This was a complicated case and we were fortunate to have jurors that closely examined the facts before reaching their verdict."
And fortunate Pioneer was. The jury ruled in favor of the company on every count brought against Samsung. Not surprisingly, Samsung has yet to comment on the ruling.
AT&T this week launched the Samsung Epix, the first smartphone with a built-in optical mouse, which sits above a QWERTY keyboard. The integrated rodent gets paired with a 320x320 touchscreen measuring 2.5 inches on the i907 Epix, giving users an epic amount of control over navigation. Other specifications include:
3.6Mbps HSDPA connectivity
2 megapixel camera
Video Share support
No surprises on the software front, as at the heart of it all sits Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional. Storage duties are handled by a microSD slot with support for up to 32GB. Samsung claims up to 7 hours of talk time on the 4.4-ounce device, and up to 14 days in standby time.
Netflix continues to lay the groundwork for subscribers to stream movies and television shows to their TV sets with yet another partnership announcement. This time around, it's Samsung who the online rental service is cozying up to, as owners of Samsung's BD-P2500 and BD-P2550 Blu-ray disc players now have the ability to instantly stream content from Netflix's catalog.
As you might recall, a similar announcement was made with LG last summer. In addition to the $99 Roku set-top player and upcoming fall dashboard update to Microsoft's Xbox 360 console, Netflix subscribers have a bevy of options to choose from in streaming content to the living room.
"Samsung presents a new value proposition for Blu-ray players by posititioning it as a portal to a world of engaging digital content, be it Blu-ray discs, movies from Netflix, or other online content," said Reid Sullivan, VP of Marketing, Audio/Video & Imaging at Samsung.
Both Blu-ray players sell for about $400, and Netflix points out that existing owners can upgrade their device at no cost by flashing the firmware. Once upgraded, BD-P2500 and BD-2550 will have access to Netflix's growing library of 12,000 movies and TV episodes.
If thin is in, then Samsung moves to the front of the class. The company just put its prototype 40-inch LCD on the runway at the Korea Electronics Show in Seoul last week, a scintillating model which measures just 7.9mm thick. That's enough to earn 1/10th of a millimeter worth of bragging rights over Phillips, who showed off what was previously considered the thinnest LCD at 8.0mm at the IFA exhibition in Berlin this past August.
So how did the two companies fit all those electronics into an ultra-thin frame? The answer is they didn't. Instead, each company's respective prototypes moved the tuner and much of the electronic inner-workings into an external box located near the screen. Whether this approach ultimately leads to a consumer product remains to be seen, as neither company has talked about making their LCD commercially available.
Samsung this week announced plans to re-enter the U.S. computer market with a lineup ranging from ultraportable to desktop replacements aimed at business professionals. On the lighter side, Samsung's X-Series looks to position itself as a strong competitor to Apple's MacBook Air, and the company isn't shy about letting this be known.
"These products really go after Apple and Sony," said Bret Berg, senior product manager for Samsung's U.S. computer division. "This is the MacBook Air killer."
Samsung will look to back that statement with its X360, a 2.8-pound notebook measuring 1.2 inches at its thickest point and sporting a 13.3-inch display. For $1,900, the X360 comes with a 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U9300 processor, a 120GB hard drive, and 4GB of DDR3 1066MHz RAM, whereas the $2,500 model steps up to a 1.4GHz U9400 chip and a 128GB solid-state drive, or twice the storage space of the Apple Air selling for $2,600.
For those who need a little more screen real estate, the X460 bumps up to a 14.1-inch display while adding in discrete graphics (GeForce 9200M GS 256MB) and a DVD burner. Like its slightly smaller sibling, the X460 will come in two flavors. The $1,700 version buys a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P3750 processor and 250GB hard drive space, or pony up $100 more for a 2.26GHz P8400 chip and a 320GB hard drive.
E-tailers will start carrying the new lineup in mid-November.
One of the first questions new system builders ask centers around the amount of RAM to invest in, and it wasn't very long ago when the decision came down to 1GB or 2GB. With the emergence of Vista, and particularly the 64-bit version, the big question now is whether or not to go with 4GB. How long will it be before we see 16GB rigs in quantity?
It could be sooner than you think, and at least one company has already begun preparations. Samsung said it has started sampling 50nm DDR3 devices that ultimately will enable memory modules up to 16GB in capacity. The samples consist of 2Gb (that's lowercase 'b') chips with double the density of current 1Gb parts, while also cutting back on power by over 40 percent.
According to Samsung, the new small form factor paves the way for 8GB RIMMs and 4GB SODIMMs, equating to 16GB and 8GB respectively in dual-die packages. Next up - finding mainstream applications capable of feasting on hordes of memory.
Samsung said it will begin mass producing the 2Gb chips by the end of the year and make 2Gb DDR3 its primary DRAM process technology in 2009. As for pricing? We'll have to wait and see.
SanDisk is teaming up with major music labels, including Sony BMG, to offer “slotMusic”; 1GB memory cards preloaded with full length albums.
The albums will be sold at retailers likes Wal-Mart and Best Buy and will be encoded in high quality mp3 format. The microSD cards will have no DRM restrictions, allowing the music to be easily downloaded to a computer or loaded onto an mp3 player. SanDisk also anticipates that be offering 1GB cards, artists will take the liberty of offering more than just an average 11-track album, maybe even venturing to offer music videos, interviews, album art, bonus tracks, and other premium content.
This business venture is an interesting one, especially considering that SanDisk seems to be attempting to revive physical media. This could prove to be a difficult endeavor, especially with companies like Apple being ahead of the game with iTunes. There’s speculation that this is SanDisk’s way of trying to offset the takeover bids from Samsung and Toshiba, though analysts say there is little the company can do to try to stay independent.