CES: Toshiba Unveils SSDs For Mobile, Mini-mobile PCs

Toshiba and its U.S.-based Toshiba Americas Electronic Components subsidiary introduced three new types of SSDs, including one line of SSDs in a 2.5-inch hard drive form factor and smaller SSD modules with either a SATA or a PCI connector.

The new SSDs feature Toshiba's third-generation, 32-nanometer MLC technology, said Brian Kumagai, senior business development manager for the company's NAND flash products.

There are two types of SSDs, depending on the technology of the Flash memory on which it is built. Some SSDs feature single-level cell (SLC) memory technology, in which one bit of data occupies one cell of the flash memory, making it optimized for performance and data reliability. Other SSDs feature multilevel cell (MLC) technology, in which four bits of data occupy one cell of the Flash memory for greater capacity.

The new storage drives all support the new TRIM command under which the Windows 7 operating system can increase SSD performance by telling the SSD controller to actually delete data from memory cells instead of merely flagging those cells as having deleted data.

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Toshiba's new 2.5-inch SSD, the HG3 line, is available in 64-GB, 128-GB, and 256-GB capacity points, and features a maximum sequential read speed of 250 MB per second and write speed of 180 MB per second, Kumagai said. This compares to 230 MBps and 170 MBps speeds using Toshiba's second-generation NAND.

The HG3 drives are slated to ship in 2.5-inch form factors in both 9.5-mm and 7-mm heights. The same drive will also be in a 1.8-inch case, or a 1.8-inch caseless or LIF (low insertion force) form factor for OEM or embedded purposes.

Toshiba's new SG2 SSD modules feature 128 GB of capacity with a maximum sequential read speed of 180 MBps and write speed of 70 MBps, Kumagai said.

They will be available with a standard SATA connector or a mSATA (micro-SATA) interface which plugs directly onto a PCI slot, he said.

The new storage drives are being demonstrated in Toshiba mobile PCs at CES starting Wednesday. They are expected to be available to PC OEMs in sample quantities this quarter, with mass production expected to start in the second quarter of 2010, Kumagai said. Some of them will eventually make their way into the channel as well, he said.