If there was any doubt about the state of solid-state drives, Computex seems to be putting it to rest.
SanDisk, TDK, and Intel, among others, are announcing new solid-state drives while Asus is launching the Eee PC 1000 with a larger-capacity drive.
Solid-state drives (SSDs) are used increasingly instead of hard disk drives in small computers like the Asus Eee PC and devices like the Apple iPhone because SSDs use less power and are generally more rugged--due to the fact that they have no moving parts.
The Asus Eee PC 1000, for example, will be offered with SSDs up to 40GB in capacity, beating the 20GB SSD offered in the Eee PC 901.
With this market segment in mind, SanDisk introduced a line of solid-state drives that are designed for "netbooks"--a category of compact, low-cost notebook PCs best exemplified by the Eee PC.
The SanDisk "pSSD" (Parallel ATA solid state drive) is available in 4-, 8-, and 16-GB capacities. The device can achieve a "streaming read" speed of 39 megabytes per second and a streaming write (record) of 17MBps, according to SanDisk. These speeds compare favorably with the low-performance 1.8-inch hard disk drives used in small notebooks.
The pSSD solid-state drives are expected to be available starting in August when pricing will be announced.
TDK also launched new solid-state drives. The "HS1" series is a line of 1.8-inch solid-state drives with the Micro Serial-ATA (SATA) interface. The Micro SATA specification provides for a smaller connector for the high-speed SATA interface used widely in PCs today.
The HS1 series offers capacities of 16, 32, and 64 gigabytes, respectively. The product uses SLC (single-level cell) NAND flash memory. SLC-based solid-state drives are used widely, today but many SSD manufacturers are planning to move to more advanced multilevel cell (MLC) technology later this year.
Burst performance is 100MBps for reading data and 50MBps for writing data. These speeds compare favorably with 2.5-inch hard disk drives.
TDK's SSDs are now available for volume shipment at sample prices of about $1,900 for a 64GB model and about $1,400 for the 32GB model.
On Tuesday, Intel will introduce the Z-P230 Parallel ATA (PATA) series of solid-state drives. The Z-P230 "is a cost-effective storage solution designed to replace traditional hard disk drives in netbook and nettop systems, yet is four times smaller and lighter than a standard 1.8-inch hard disk drive," Intel said. The drives come in 4GB and 8GB capacities.
The Intel SSDs are being launched along with low-power Atom processors that include the N270 for netbooks and the 230 for low-cost desktops--what Intel calls nettops. The chips run at up to 1.6 GHz with an average power consumption of 2.5 watts.
Intel will also announce high-capacity solid-state drives in the second half of this year that have capacities of 80GB and 160GB.