Samsung Announces 64GB Flash Drive

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Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. plans to begin shipping a solid-state disk drive with double the capacity of its current highest capacity drive in the second quarter of this year, it said Tuesday.

Solid-state disk drives are intended as replacements for conventional hard-disk drives and use NAND flash memory rather than a rotating magnetic storage disk. They offer several benefits including faster data read and write times, greater shock resistance and lower power consumption but are also more expensive.

The first solid-state disks (SSDs) began appearing last year as prices for flash memory dropped making them realistic for use in products for the first time.

Samsung currently offers 16G-byte and 32G-byte drives and will begin shipping a 64G-byte model in the next quarter, it said at an event in Taipei. The drive is the same size as a 1.8-inch hard-disk drive and is intended as a direct replacement for a hard-disk in products such as laptop computers, multimedia players and portable navigation systems.

It will offer better performance over Samsung's previous models in addition to higher capacity. Data read speed has been increased from 53M bytes per second to 64M bytes per second and write speed is up from 30M bytes per second to 45M bytes per second on the new drive.

Samsung is a major manufacturer of flash-memory chips and stands to see its business benefit from greater use of the chips. It forecasts demand for the drives jumping from 2.2 million drives in 2006 to 173 million drives this year and 9 billion drives by 2010. In value terms the market was worth US$56 million last year and Samsung's demand projections mean growth to $218 million this year and $6.8 billion in 2010.

Samsung is not alone in pursuing this market. In January this year SanDisk Corp., another large flash memory chip maker, unveiled a 32G-byte 1.8-inch drive and earlier this month announced a similar capacity 2.5-inch drive.

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