SanDisk unveils new SSDs for laptops and netbooks

It's positioning them as replacement drives for existing hardware

SanDisk unveiled its next-generation solid-state drives (SSDs) at the International CES. One series is aimed at the hot netbook market and the other at laptops. The company's new higher-performance SSD for laptops are priced at less than US$250 for a 120GB model and are being positioned as a "drop-in replacement" for hard disk drives to extend the life of existing hardware.

The new G3 notebook and pSSD netbook drives boast sequential read/write speeds of 200MB/sec 140MB/sec, respectively.

If those performance claims pan out, the drive would surpass Intel's 10-channel consumer-class X25-M SSD drives for write speeds. The X25-M model has a sequential read and write rate of up to 250MB/sec and 70MB/sec, respecitively.

SanDisk's new pSSD-P2 and SanDisk pSSD-S2 SSDs for netbooks are 1.8-in. drives built on SanDisk's 43-nanometer multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory. They are expected to become available in February in 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities.

"Netbooks represent the fastest-growing PC segment in 2009 and 2010, yet widespread adoption of SSDs in netbooks has been limited by speed, capacity and cost constraints," Rich Heye, general manager of solid-state drives at SanDisk, said in a statement.

SanDisk did not release pricing for the new netbook SSD drives, saying only that a 32GB modular SSD is priced at parity with 2.5-in. HDDs in reseller quantities.

SanDisk's third-generation of 2.5-in. laptop SSDs are priced lower than other consumer SSDs on the market at $149 for a 60GB model, $249 for a120GB version and $499 for a 240GB drive, according to Doreet Oren, marketing director for SanDisk's SSD business. The G3 series SSDs are expected to be available in mid-2009.

By comparison, Intel's 80GB X25-M drive is priced at US$595.

Doreet said the G3 drives are also the fastest on the market today and are five times faster than 7,200-rpm hard drives and more than twice as fast as SanDisk's previous generation of notebook SSDs, offering 400 write IOPS and 4,000 read IOPS.

"This is definitely the fastest SSD on the market today. This is a totally new controller in these drives, with new flash management software -- Extreme FFS," Doreet said.

SanDisk announced its Extreme FFS advanced flash file system in November, saying it is optimized to work with Windows Vista and has the potential to accelerate random write speeds by up to 100 times over those in existing systems.

SanDisk said it's hoping the new lower prices will prompt companies to choose SSD as a replacement for existing laptop hard drives instead of spending money on all new machines.

"These existing WinXP notebooks can be upgraded to a 60GB SSD for $149, resulting in a system that frequently outperforms a new notebook with a HDD, thereby delaying the need for large capital purchases," Heye said.

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Lucas Mearian

Computerworld
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