Samsung plans to mass produce low-density laptop SSDs

The market for low-density solid-state drives will grow by 57% a year until 2011

The popularity of low-cost PCs around the world is driving "explosive growth" for small-capacity solid-state drives (SSD), Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday as it announced three new models.

SSDs are made from NAND flash memory chips and are used to store software, songs, pictures, documents and other data on computers. The devices hold several advantages over common hard disk drives (HDD), including being speedier, lighter and quieter and using far less power.

The market for low-density SSDs will grow by 57% per year annually until 2011, due mainly to brisk demand for low-cost PCs, Samsung said.

Samsung SATA II SSDs

Samsungs new SATA II SSDs

The company said it will start mass-producing three new low-capacity drives -- 8GB, 16GB and 32GB SSDs -- next month. The storage drives are each about 30% smaller than 2.5-in. HDDs, a small size normally used in low-cost PCs and netbooks, or minilaptops.

The new SSDs will also run faster than older-generation SSDs made for low-cost PCs, Samsung said, because they include high-performance SATA II (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) controller technology inside.

Samsung's latest SSDs can all read data at 90MB/sec., while writing at speeds that vary from 70MB/sec. for the 32GB model to 45MB/sec. for the 16GB SSD and 25MB/sec. for the 8GB drive.

These speeds mark an improvement over the company's first SSDs for small devices, which were launched in 2006. Those devices, 32GB and 16GB SSDs, could read at 57MB/sec and write at 32MB/sec.

Samsung is the world's largest memory chip maker. The most popular style of low-cost PC on the market today that use SSDs are minilaptops such as the Eee PC from Taipei-based Asustek Computer Inc.

The devices are a new style of mobile PC that weigh less than 2.2 lb., sport 7-in. to 10-in. LCD screens, carry long-lasting batteries and connect wirelessly to the Internet. They generally cost from $199 to $599, far less than the average notebook.

Global netbook shipments are forecast to reach 8.02 million this year and then more than double to 18.3 million units in 2009, according to Taiwan's Market Intelligence Center (MIC).

Acer Inc., the world's third-largest PC vendor, has said it expects to ship between 5 million and 6 million of its Aspire One netbooks this year, while Asustek has forecast Eee PC sales at 5 million this year.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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