New Crop Of SSDs Shown At Computex In Taiwan

The SSD market is continuing to heat up as vendors introduce more models and more ways to integrate the technology in other storage products.

Several new solid state disk drives are being shown at Computex, the annual international IT conference being held this week in Taiwan.

These include a new series of SSDs for notebook, netbook, and tablet PCs from SanDisk; a new bootable PCI-Express model from OCZ Technology Group; and an SSD embedded in an optical drive from Hitachi-LG Data Storage.

SSDs store data in the same format as conventional hard drives based on spinning disks. However, because they are based on Flash memory, SSDs have no moving parts, and so feature higher storage performance than hard drives.

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Analyst firm IDC earlier this year said that about 11 million SSDs were sold in 2009, and that it expects SSD shipments to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54 percent between 2008 and 2013.

SanDisk, Milpitas, Calif., on Monday unveiled its SanDisk SSD G4 line of drop-in replacement storage devices for notebook PC hard drives, as well as its SanDisk SSD P4 series of SSD modules for use in netbooks and tablet PCs.

Both models feature twice the maximum capacity of the company’s previous models, as well as improved boot times and system responsiveness, SanDisk said.

The SanDisk SSD G4 ranges in capacity from 64 GB to 256 GB, and features sequential read/write speeds of up to 220 MB per second and 160 MB per second.

The SanDisk SSD P4 features capacities of 8 GB to 128 GB for OEMs building smaller devices for which traditional hard drives are unsuited.

The drives are currently being evaluated by OEMs, and are expected to be available in the third quarter of 2010, SanDisk said.

OCZ, San Jose, Calif., unveiled its RevoDrive, a bootable PCI-Expressed SSD with read speeds of up to 540 MBs per second and write speeds of up to 530 MBs per second.

The new RevoDrives are targeted at builders of high-performance gaming PCs and workstation, OCZ said.

The company also unveiled its new 1.8-inch Vertex 2 and Onyx SATA II SSDs for mobile PCs. Both come in 1.8-inch form factors, and include a SATA interface with a variety of different capacity points.

Next: Hybrid Optical Drive With Embedded SSD

Another vendor, Taipei-based Pretec Technology, unveiled its CFast Hypersonic, a tiny new SSD featuring read performance of up to 250 MBs per second and write performance of up to 110 MBs per second.

Hitachi-LG Data Storage, a joint–venture between Hitachi and LG to build optical drives, used Computex to unveil its HyDrive, an optical drive in which an SSD is embedded.

The HyDrive, which is expected to be available starting in August, will initially include either a 32-GB or 64-GB SSD, with models featuring capacities of up to 256 GBs expected to be available in August.

Hitachi-LG expects its HyDrive to be used in one of two ways to boost the performance of conventional hard drives via the included driver software. The entire SSD could be used as a cache for hard drives, or part of the SSD could be used to run a Microsoft Windows or Office application with the rest serving as a cache, the company said.

The first OEM for the HyDrive is expected to be Irvine, Calif.-based Moneual, which plans to use it in a new home theater PC in August. Mobile PC maker Asus is also planning to use the HyDrive on part of its Eee PC family after tests are complete, Hitachi-LG said.

The HyDrive is the first optical drive to include an embedded SSD. However, Seagate is already embedding SSDs in a conventional hard drive.