Samsung Announces 256 GB SSD

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South Korean electronics giant Samsung continues to improve the capacity of flas-based solid state drives, announcing this week a new 256 GB, 2.5-inch drive with an SATA II interface. And the MLC 256GB SSD isn’t just a drop-in replacement for existing 2.5-inch drives: it actually outperforms them, offering a sequential read speed of 200 MB/s and a write speed of 160 MB/s.

“With development of the 256GB SSD, the notebook PC is on the brink of a second stage of evolution,” said Samsung Semiconductor’s VP of memory marketing Jimm Elliot, in a statement. “This change is comparable to the evolution from the Sony Walkman to NAND memory-based MP3 players, representing an initial step in the shift to thinner, smaller, SSD-based notebooks with significantly improved performance and more than ample storage.”

Samsung’s 256 GB SSD also offers encryption technology that protects data on the SSD from unauthorized access, even if the drive is removed from a system.

Flash-based solid-state drives offer concrete benefits over traditional hard drives, including lower power consumption, faster startup times, and—since they have no moving parts—greater resistance to damage from shocks, bumps, and drops, making them ideal for notebook computers and portable devices. However, the capacities of SSDs have lagged behind traditional hard drives, and on a cost-per-GB basis, SSDs are still much more expensive then standard hard drive, making them a premium option.

Samsung expects to launch the 2.5-inch SSD in September, with a 1.8-inch version following in the fourth quarter of 2008. The company did not offer any pricing information…but don’t expect it to be inexpensive.