SanDisk Launches 32 GB Solid-State Drive

SanDisk has announced a new entry in its line-up of flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs), the SSD SATA 5000, a 32 GB 2.5-inch hard drive designed to function as a drop-in replacement for traditional 2.5-inch hard drives in notebooks and other computer systems.

"The SanDisk 2.5-inch SSD brings the extreme durability, outstanding performance and low power consumption of solid-state flash memory to the entire notebook computer market," said Amos Marom, VP and general manager of SanDisk’s Computing Systems division, in a release. "As SanDisk continues to drive innovation in flash memory, the per-gigabyte price of SSD storage will come down and SSD capacity will go up. PC manufacturers and consumers will find it easier and easier to move away from rotating hard disks to the superior experience of SSDs."

In January, SanDisk introduced a 32 GB 1.8-inch SSD hard drive intended for ultraportable systems, media players, and hand-held devices.

The idea behind the 2.5-inch model is to offer computer manufacturers an easy drop-in replacement for traditional hard drives. Why would someone go with a comparatively small-capacity 32 GB flash drive rather than a traditional hard disk, commonly available at capacities of 120 GB today? The main reasons are performance and reliability. The SanDisk SSDs can push 67 MB/sec in sustained reads, and have much faster random read speeds than traditional hard drives. According to SanDisk, an SSD drive can boot Windows Vista in as little as 30 seconds, and access files at an average speed just over a tenth of a millisecond. Conversely, booting from a traditional notebook hard drive takes an average of 48 second, and the drives need 17 ms to access a file. (Think if all those milliseconds you’ll never see again!) Perhaps more importantly, the SSDs are cooler, quieter, and have far lower power requirements than traditional hard drives, using use 0.9 Watts during active use compared to 1.9 Watts of a traditional hard drive. That means your notebook’s battery lasts longer.

And let’s not forget the big selling point: no moving parts. Solid-state drives are far less likely to fail due to bumps, drops, shocks, or temperature changes.

SanDisk’s 2.5-inch 32 GB SSD is available now to computer makers, with an initial price of $350 per unit for volume orders. No word on when they’ll be directly available to consumers or what their price might be—but we expect the answers are "soon" and "higher."