The popularity of low-cost PCs around the world is driving "explosive growth" for SSDs (small capacity solid state drives), Samsung said Wednesday as it announced three new models of the device.
SSDs are made from NAND flash memory chips and are used to store software, songs, pictures, documents and other data on computers. The drives hold several advantages over common HDDs (hard disk drives), including being speedier, lighter, quieter and use far less power.
The market for low-density SSDs will grow by 57 percent per year annually until 2011, due mainly to brisk demand for low-cost PCs, Samsung said.
The company said it will start mass producing three new low capacity drives -- 8G byte, 16G byte and 32G byte SSDs -- next month. The storage drives are each about 30 percent smaller than 2.5-inch HDDs, a small size normally used in low-cost PCs and netbooks, or mini-laptops.
The new SSDs will also run faster than older generation SSDs made for low-cost PCs, Samsung said, because they include high performance SATA II (serial advanced technology attachment) controller technology inside.
Samsung's latest SSDs can all read data at 90M bytes per second, while writing at speeds varying from 70M bytes per second for the 32G byte SSD, to 45M bytes per second for the 16G byte SSD and 25M bytes per second for the 8G byte SSD.
These speeds mark an improvement over the company's first SSDs aimed at small devices, which were launched in 2006. Those devices, 32G byte and 16G byte SSDs, could read at 57M bytes per second and write at 32M bytes per second.
Samsung is the world's largest memory chip maker.
The most popular style of low-cost PC on the market today that use SSDs are mini-laptops, or netbooks, such as the Eee PC by Taiwan's Asustek Computer.
The devices are a new style of mobile PC that weigh less than 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs), sport 7-inch to 10-inch LCD screens, carry long-lasting batteries and connect wirelessly to the Internet. They generally cost far less than the average notebook PC as well, between US$199 to US$599.
Global netbook shipments are forecast to reach 8.02 million this year and then more than double to 18.3 million units in 2009, according to Taiwan's Market Intelligence Center (MIC).
Acer, the world's third-largest PC vendor, has said it expects to ship 5 million to 6 million of its Aspire one netbooks this year, while Asustek has forecast Eee PC sales at 5 million this year.