Solid-state hard drives (SSDs) may be picking up steam in both capacity and speed, but one place they still haven’t become practical yet is price: a 64GB SSD could very well cost more than the laptop you put it in. With that in mind, SanDisk has developed the Vaulter Disk, a product that exploits the speed benefits of SSDs without requiring huge capacities that drive up cost.
The Vaulter Disk basically functions like an enormous flash-based cache. Commonly used files, such as those for an operating system, can be loaded onto the Vaulter rather than the hard drive, then accessed quicker through a PCI Express bus, without even requiring the hard drive to spin up. Less commonly used files, like the applications you keep around to do your taxes, or your library of family photos, can still be kept on the hard drive, which becomes a sort of “archival” space.
The intent is to supplement traditional hard drives, not replace them. “SanDisk Vaulter Disk consistently boosts user responsiveness by taking advantage of the best native characteristics of a flash-based module and a hard drive,” said Tavi Salomon, Vaulter product manager at SanDisk, in a statement. “It is the parallel operation of both Vaulter and the hard disk that provides an affordable solution for consumer PC users who will benefit from flash memory performance.”
Initially, SanDisk will offer the Vaulter Disk in capacities from 8GB to 16GB. The devices will begin making their way into the hands of original equipment manufacturers early next year.