Micron announced Tuesday that it will soon begin delivering 256GB solid-state drives for notebooks and servers. SSDs have quicker access times and consume less power than standard SATA or SCSI hard drives.
The 256GB drives could begin showing up in laptops and notebooks this winter along with 32GB and 128GB versions. But Micron spokesperson Beth Gregg said that due to demand, "The next crop of sample drives will not be available for seven to eight weeks."
Micron's RealSSD 256GB drive is 2.5 inches, while the 32GB and 128GB drives are 1.8 inches. Mass production is scheduled for late 2008.
Notebooks and Servers
Micron said the SSD drives are specifically targeted for notebooks, subnotebooks, enterprise servers and disk arrays and will reduce weight and power consumption while boosting performance. It added that the drives are nearly twice as fast as traditional SATA or SCSI drives.
The company also said the drive is 10 times faster than traditional drives when accessing transactional processing data, since traditional drives have a long latency period when they "spin up" to retrieve data. And Micron said the drive delivers more than 250MBps in sequential read/write speeds, making it possibly the fastest commercial SSD available.
SSD technology has been around since the 1990s, but reliability and especially prices have held it back. Even today, SSD drives cost nearly 10 times as much as traditional disks, but reliability has improved significantly, Micron said. Traditional drives have a mean rating of 1.7 to 2 million hours between failures, while SSD drives now approach 1.5 million hours.
Micron's SSD competitors include Seagate, Texas Memory Systems, and Samsung. Samsung announced its own 256GB SSD drive in June with a 200MBps access time -- similar to Micron's specs. Small-quantity prices for this capacity are between $500 and $600. Alienware, Dell, Sony and Hewlett-Packard offer Samsung's SSD.
Micron officials would not discuss pricing and declined to name manufacturers that may be sampling the drives for upcoming products.