Toshiba Plans to Offer SSD Drives

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Computer and electronics giant Toshiba announced today that it plans to enter the market for solid-state drives (SSDs), with initial units to be available in 1.8- and 2.5-inch sizes as well as traditional 3.5-inch sizes, with capacities ranging from 32 to 128 GB. The company plans to showcase the drives in January at the CES show in Las Vegas, with mass production starting on the first units hitting the market in March 2008.

Toshiba is the second-largest manufacturer of flash memory, after Samsung, so it’s not much of a surprise that the company wants to enter the SSD market. Solid-state hard drives offer faster response times and lower power requirements than traditional hard drives, and—since they have no moving parts—are more resistant to shocks and drops. What’s surprising is that Toshiba has not announced plans to make its own SSDs before now.

Toshiba’s SSDs will features SATA interfaces capable of maximum write speeds of 40 MB a second and read speeds of 100 MB per second in sequential mode; the drives will offer an estimated operating life of 1 million hours. Toshiba is also promising to cram 128 GB into a 1.8-inch form factor using a new memory controller.

Samples of the 1.8- and 2.5-inch drives should debut in April 2008, with mass production getting underway in May.