Korean memory giant Samsung
demonstrated the world's first 32GB NAND flash-based hard drive today during the third annual Samsung Mobile Solution Forum
in Taipei, Taiwan. The move doubles capacity from last year's maximum of 16 gigabytes.
Like all great new technologies, Samsung's solid-state drive (SSD) merrily thrashes current generation solutions - 1.8-inch hard drive-based devices from the likes of Toshiba - in all key areas. According to the company, when compared to a traditional drive, their 32GB SSD is:
- Faster: read / write speeds of 57MB/s and 32MB/s respectively, compared to around 15 megabytes per second.
- Lighter: at 15 grams, less than a quarter of the weight (61g)
- Uses less power: one third less actually - 0.5W vs 1.5W
- More durable: SSDs have no moving parts; no heads to crash
- Silent: a spinning hard disk generates heat and noise. Flash drives do neither
It appears these benefits transfer well into the real world: a recent demonstration at CeBit pitted an SSD-equipped notebook against a traditional hard drive-based model. While the latter booted in 31 seconds, the flash drive proved its superior read / write speeds by booting in just 18 seconds.
A Samsung spokesman revealed that 32GB drives are already shipping to customers, though individuals were not discussed. The company expects that solid state drives such as this to capture one third of the notebook storage market within two years, though to do so, significant economies of scale will need to kick in.
This is currently the one single drawback of solid state drives: price. High-capacity drives are hugely expensive on a per-gigabyte basis compared with hard drive technology though with a 53% global market share in NAND flash memory, Samsung are better placed than anyone to make this a reality.
It will be interesting to see whether companies like Seagate persist with current technology -even with the help of perpendicular recording
to prop up capacity, or whether the entire industry will go solid-state. We suspect the latter, but it is a question of time.