Following an influx of solid state drives aimed at both the high-end and mainstream market, for awhile there it looked like SSDs might actually give traditional hard drives a run for its money. But as it turns out, money remains the issue, and higher per gigabyte costs will keep SSDs from being a threat to HDDs in 2009, and the same will probably hold true in 2010, memory makers say.
In the mobile sector, SSDs will close out the year with only a 1-1.5 percent penetration rate, and less than 10 percent in the low-cost PC segment, according to data by DRAMeXchange.
But it's not all gloom and doom for SSDs. Memory makers say the upcoming transition to 30nm and lower nodes will push NAND flash prices down, while some remain hopeful that Windows 7 will change the storage landscape.
Earlier today Seagate announced several additions to its line of BlackArmor external hard drives.
The drives, which are aimed at small businesses, include the BlackArmor NAS 220 storage server, BlackArmor WS 110 external drive and the BlackArmor PS 110 portable drive. The NAS 220 will be able to hold up to 4TB of storage, and sports data protection for up to 20 PCs on a network. The WS 110, which is meant to be a desktop accessory, will come with USB 2.0 and eSATA connectors, and packs with up to 2TB worth of space. And, lastly, the PS 110 comes with up to 500GB of storage, and will feature with a standard USB 2.0 connector.
The NAS 220 will be available starting at $699.99 for the 4TB model starting in July, whereas the WS 110 and PS 110 are available now for $309.99 (2TB) and $159.99 (500GB), respectively.
SSD technology continues to mature, both in price per gigabyte and performance. On the latter front, Super Talent's new MasterDrive SX SSDs come equipped with 128MB DRAM of cache, which the company claims delivers "exceptional" write speeds.
"We developed the MasterDrive SX series to offer extreme reliability at an aggressive price point that makes sense for mobile professionals and enthusiasts. Moreover, these drives boast power efficiency and write speeds that few SSDs can match," said Super Talent Director of Marketing Joe James.
Available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities, the latter two sport 220MB/s and 200MB/s read and sequential write speeds, respectively (the 64GB checks in with 200MB/s and 120MB/s read and write speeds), while all three models sip just half a watt of power in read mode and 0.15W while idle.
No MSRP information has yet been made available, but street pricing for the 64GB and 128GB have currently settled in at around $173 and $336, respectively. No word yet on availability for the 256GB model.
Not long after their acquisition of SiliconSystems, Western Digital has finally released their own line of high end SSDs.
The SiliconDrive III range of SSDs are primarily aimed at the aerospace, communications and military markets, and only come in sizes up to 120GB. But, they do feature SiSMART, will come as 2.5-inch SATA/PATA or 1.8-inch Micro SATA devices, and will feature native SATA 3Gb/s or ATA-7 interfaces. They’ll feature read and write speeds of 100MB/s and 80MB/s respectively.
In what we hope becomes a trend, another manufacturer this week has stepped up to the storage plate with a 128GB USB flash drive, this one from Edge Tech. The company will make an official announcement next week, but has given us the skinny on their fat capacity drive.
Dubbed DiskGO, Edge Tech says its 128GB thumb drive can store approximately 85,000 photos, 128 hours of video, 32,000 MP3s, or over a million documents. Keeping all that data secure is a combination of a "rugged aluminum casing" and CryptArchiver Lite encryption software. The Lite version allows users to encrypt up to 25MB of data using 128-bit AES encryption, while the full version ups the ante to 32GB and either 256-bit AES or 448-bit Blowfish.
But what some might find far more appealing than its feature-set is the price. Edge Tech has priced the 128GB DiskGO at $390, which is about $150 less than Kingston's recently announced DataTraveler.
You can pre-order the DiskGO direct from Edge Tech, with shipments to start on July 31st.
Yesterday, the largest USB flash drives on the planet checked in at 64GB. Today, Kingston claims the capacity crown with the release of its DataTraveler 200 (DT200), the world's first 128GB USB flash drive that's twice the capacity of yesterday's biggest thumb drives.
"The new DT200's robust storage capability lets consumers store complete libraries of music, photos, and videos.," said Andrew Ewing, USB business manager at Kingston. "It is also a great tool for business users who carry around large databases or files."
Also available in 32GB and 64GB capacities, the DT200 series boasts read and write speeds of up to 20MB/s and 10MB/s, respectively. Other features include a capless design and password protection.
No word yet on availability, however pricing has been set at $120 (32GB), $213 (64GB), and $546 (128GB). Ouch!
Just recently Kevin Schader, the SD Association’s Director of Communications, announced that SDXC cards packing up to 64GB of storage would be arriving early next year.
The cards, which will start at 64GB and have transfer speeds of 52MB/s will pave the way for the theoretical limit of 2TB cards with 300MB/s transfer speeds, according to Schader, but he wasn’t able to say exactly when.
The 64GB specification was sent out to member companies of the SD Association in April, so there should be plenty of ways to use them once they’re out.
In what's fast become a crowded lineup, OCZ has released yet another SSD series, this latest one called the Agility. The 2.5-inch SATA II SSD is being aimed at mainstream desktop and notebook users not looking to spend a fortune on solid state storage.
"The new Agility Series of SSDs are the latest addition to the OCZ lineup of solid state drives and are designed for cost-conscious consumers seeking the performance and reliability benefits of SSDs at an aggressive price," said Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management at OCZ.
On the surface, that sounds like another way of saying the new drives will be slow, but that isn't the case, OCZ says. Helped in part by a 64MB cache buffer, the 60GB and 120GB models will offer read, write, and sustained write speeds of up to 230MB/s, 135MB/s, and 80MB/s respectively. The 30GB model will check in a little slower at 185MB/s, 100MB/s, and 60MB/s for its read, write, and sustained write speeds.
According to some recent research, Samsung is the current leader in the half-billion dollar SSD market.
Having pulled in $185.88 million in revenues, Samsung held about 31.7 percent of the $585 million market in 2008. In second place was storage array SSD supplier STEC with $92.06 million, or about 15.7 percent. SanDisk finished third, selling $54.94 million worth of flash memory, giving them a 9.4 percent market share (down noticeably from their 17.3 percent market share in 2007).
You've heard the cliché big things come in small packages, but what you've probably never heard of is stuffing 128GB of solid state storage capacity into a form factor so tiny you could swallow it, secret agent style. That's exactly what InnoDisk has done, who was showing off its aptly named nanoSSD at Computex.
Despite its small stature, the nanoSSD offers pretty impressive performance numbers with InnoDisk claiming read and write speeds of 150MB/s and 160MB/s, respectively. It can also withstand an accelerative force of 20g, and to prove it, InnoDisk had its nanoSSD hooked up to a custom, rapidly vibrating motherboard, which you can see here.