COMPUTEX - Solid-state disks coming on strong

Solid-state disks, which use flash memory, are plentiful at Computex - further evidence they are on course to quickly replace hard disks in mobile PCs.

If you're in any doubt that flash memory-based solid-state disks are on a course to quickly replace hard-disk drives in laptop computers, just take a look along the aisles of this year's Computex trade show.

Solid-state disks and machines containing them are plentiful at the show, which brings together the world's most important PC manufacturers and component makers with buyers from around the world, and is a good gauge of the direction of the industry.

That solid-state disks are replacing hard-disk drives shouldn't come as a total surprise: they're lighter, quieter, use less power and are sturdier than hard drives. The transition is being accelerated by fast price drops in the flash market. For example, an 8G byte chip that cost US$11.36 at the end of 2006 currently costs US$8.47 on the spot market. That's a drop of 25 percent in six months.

For example, SanDisk debuted its first SSD, a 32G-byte model, at January's CES but a mere six months on at Computex it's showing a 64G-byte model. The company says much higher-capacity drives are possible today but will be too expensive for most enterprise users, so it's increasing the capacity of its drives while keeping them at what it considers the sweet-spot of price and storage space.

Like SSDs from competitors, the SanDisk drives are offered as drop-in replacements for 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch hard-disk drives and so can be offered by system makers without the need for any modifications. As SSDs become more common the company believes smaller form-factor drives will be used in machines specifically produced for solid-state storage.

"The old technology of the hard disk is going to go away from the mobile PC market and be replaced by [solid state] media," said Doreet Oren, director of product marketing at SanDisk's computing solutions division in Israel.

Some analysts agree. In a report issued in May, iSuppli said it expects 24 million laptops sold in the fourth quarter of 2009 -- about 60 percent of the anticipated market -- will have flash storage, versus less than 1 percent in the last quarter of 2006.

Also on show at Computex is a wide range of solid-state disks intended for the industrial sector. Such drives are targeted at military and aviation applications and began replacing other storage methods several years before their entry into the PC market, thanks to the willingness of such customers to pay higher prices.

Apacer Technology is demonstrating a 128G-byte industrial SSD that can replace a 2.5-inch hard drive and operate at temperatures between -40 degrees Celsius and 85 degrees Celsius. It will be available in the fourth quarter, and a second version with double the data read speed of 200M bps (bits per second) will be available in early 2008.

Alongside it was a flash-based RAID (redundant array of independent, or inexpensive, disks) drive which has two Compact Flash card slots. The capacity depends on the cards used.

It's not only in the SSD arena that storage advances are on show at Computex.

Toshiba has the latest in its line of 1.8-inch hard-disk drives, a model that can store 100G bytes, on show. The drive can be fitted into portable media devices, like the iPod, or ultra portable PCs. Toshiba is also using Computex to unveil its first HD DVD rewriter drive for laptop computers. A single-layer HD DVD-RW disc can store up to 20G bytes of information, which is just over 4 times the capacity of an equivalent DVD.

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has its 1T-byte drive that was unveiled at CES and new at the show is a 250G-byte 2.5-inch drive for laptop computers. The 5K250 includes drive-level encryption and has 56 percent more storage space than its predecessor, the 160G-byte 5K160.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?