Flash drive aims to improve Vista performance

The new drive is compatible with Windows ReadyBoost

Samsung Electronics Co. today announced plans to sell a 4GB solid-state disk drive (SSD) that can be used as high-speed NAND flash cache to boost performance on PCs running the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system.

The new drive is compatible with Windows ReadyBoost, a new Windows Vista feature that uses flash memory to increase system performance. The SSD should be installed in a 2.5-in. ATA disk drive bay, but can also reside in a 3.5-in. bay with an adapter kit, according to Don Barnetson, director of flash marketing at Samsung Semiconductor Inc., the subsidiary manufacturing the new drive.

Barnetson said that by caching hard drive data with an SSD, "a typical user will see performance gains that will make working with their PC lightning fast."

Barnetson said that the SSD will ship in conjunction with the launch of Vista in November and should sell for under $100.

According to Samsung, the Windows ReadyBoost feature of the Windows Vista operating system will automatically populate the SSD with the data a user needs before they ask for it.

Samsung 4 GB SSD

When combined with Windows Vista's new underlying SuperFetch memory-management technology, Microsoft's ReadyBoost delivers application performance improvements by automatically loading in flash memory the applications you use most often. SuperFetch keeps track of the apps you use most frequently, and is even date aware, recognizing the difference between business days and weekends. (For more information on ReadyBoost and SuperFetch, see: Visual Tour: 20 Reasons Why Vista Will Be Your Next OS).

"When a user requests that data, rather than being limited to servicing 100-200 requests per second (as with a traditional HDD), Samsung's SSD can service up to 5000 request per second, virtually eliminating data seek delays," Samsung stated in a news release.

The 4GB SSD can also work in tandem with a hybrid hard drive -- flash memory combined with spinning disk -- to be used as a secondary source of cached data.

The flash cache complements DRAM, and because Windows Vista automatically compresses all data stored in a ReadyBoost device, the 4GB drive would, in practice, act as though it were holding up to 8GB of user data.

The new drive can also be used in applications other than Vista for tasks related to special industrial needs.

Pricing and availability information was not immediately available.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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