SanDisk launches 2.5-inch NAND flash drive to replace hard disks in notebooks

SanDisk today broadened its solid state drive (SSD) product line for the portable computer market with the introduction of a 32GB 2.5-inch Serial ATA (SATA) interface model, compatible with most mainstream notebook designs. Coming just two months after SanDisk introduced a 1.8-inch SSD for ultraportable notebooks, the 2.5-inch SSD is now available to PC manufacturers as a drop-in replacement for hard disk drives.

“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, vice president and general manager of the Computing Systems division at SanDisk, in the press 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.”

The vast majority of notebook computers manufactured today use 2.5-inch hard disk drives. The SanDisk 2.5-inch SSD fits in the same internal slot as 2.5-inch hard disks, so notebook manufacturers can switch to the SanDisk SSD without altering their hardware designs.

According to SanDisk, the key benefits of SanDisk SSDs for computer manufacturers and their customers are:

• Reliability. SanDisk SSDs deliver 2 million hours mean time between failures, approximately six times more than notebook hard disks. With no moving parts, SanDisk SSDs are also much less likely to fail when a notebook computer is dropped or exposed to extreme temperatures.

• Performance. In notebook computers, data moves to and from an SSD more than 100 times faster than data moving to and from a hard disk. SanDisk SSDs offer a sustained read rate of 67MB per second and a random read rate of 7,000 inputs/outputs per second (IOPS) for a 512-byte transfer. As a result, notebooks equipped with a 2.5-inch SanDisk SSD can boot Microsoft Windows Vista Enterprise in as little as 30 seconds and access files at an average speed of 0.11 milliseconds. A notebook using a hard disk requires an average 48 seconds to boot and an average 17 milliseconds to access files.

• Power efficiency. SanDisk SSDs have minimal power requirements, with savings rated at over 50 percent compared with a hard disk drive — 0.9 watts during active operation versus 1.9 watts. This is particularly important in extending battery life for road warriors, enabling them to remain productive while in transit.

• Cool and quiet. Because SanDisk SSDs don’t need a motor, bearings or a moving head mechanism, they generate much less heat than hard disk drives. SanDisk SSDs are also completely silent, while hard disk drives always make at least some noise during read and write operations.

“There are several reasons computer users and manufacturers should consider SSDs as prices become more affordable,” said Joseph Unsworth, Principal Research Analyst for flash memory at the Gartner research firm, in the press release. “For example, Gartner research shows hard disk failure is tied for first place with motherboard failure as the leading cause of overall hardware failure in notebooks, with each accounting for 25 to 45 percent of the total. The higher reliability of SSDs lowers total cost of ownership, and could be a driver for adoption of SSDs. This is part of the explanation of why Gartner projects global consumption of SSDs in consumer and business notebooks to leap from about 4 million units in 2007 to 32 million units in 2010.”

The 32GB, 2.5-inch SanDisk SSD is available now to computer manufacturers, with initial pricing of $350 for large volume orders. SanDisk SSDs will be demonstrated at the CeBIT show in Hannover, Germany, from March 15 to 21, 2007, in Hall 23, Stand B28, and will be featured on March 16 during the PressExpoUSA @ CeBIT 2007 event.

More information on SanDisk SSDs is available online at http://www.sandisk.com/ssd/

Related articles:
Analyst: Apple could soon expand NAND flash use in iPods and MacBooks – March 07, 2007
Jonathan Ive talks Apple design, including flash memory-based Macs – November 27, 2006
Solid-state NAND flash hard drives inch closer to portable computers – July 26, 2006

49 Comments

  1. I’ve always wondered what happens to these things (flash cards) if your power supply goes bad and they get a little extra voltage. yeah, I’ve heard of resisters. Used to date one…

    Anyone?
    Anyone?
    Bueller?

  2. I love that this is starting to happen.. but they are going to have to work quickly to increase storage capacities before many (including myself) can consider a switch.

    Presently $350 for a mere 32GB isn’t going to cover it.

  3. TT,

    I don’t think that they are more sensitive than

    hdd’s. The chipset is not much different than

    the chipset on a hard drive through which the

    data must pass before it is applied to, or

    retrieved from the magnetic platters.

  4. It’s the end of mechanical devices in personal computers. Apple has replaced the mechanical keyboard and mouse with the multi-touch interface. Soon we’ll be using solid state media for all our storage needs and buying bits over the internet (i.e. iTunes) instead of buying the media they come on. No more floppies, no more CDs, no more DVDs. Fewer things to break down, lighter, less energy use, smaller form factor. The iPhone will certainly benefit from this.

  5. Eli Harari is one sharp entrepreneur. I interviewed him once for a student business journal when he was just starting SanDisk about a decade ago. He was very gracious and thoughtful allowed me over two hours, even though he was putting in 17-hour days, seven days a week. I’ll try to get permission to post that interview online, which may be of historical interest considering he is now the darling of Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

  6. These flash replacements for hard drives are in the same position LCD monitors were a few years ago–something new, much more expensive, and more limited in size and something that everyone knows as soon as they see it/read about it that it will be the new standard technology very shortly.

    The amount of storage needs to increase and the price per gigabyte needs to decrease, but in both catagories you’re talking about percentage changes, not exponential changes.

    Two years from now you won’t be able to buy a hard drive in a laptop except as a build to order option.

    This will also place much greater pressure on hard drive manufacturers to increase drive size and lower prices even more to retain the desktop market.

  7. As far as I have read on Wikipedia. Flash memory has a finite number of erase/write cycles (normally guaranteed to be around 1 million) by manufacturers.

    From Wikipedia.org: “This effect is partially offset by some chip firmware or file system drivers by counting the writes and dynamically remapping the blocks in order to spread the write operations between the sectors. This technique is called wear levelling. Another mechanism is to perform write verification and remapping to spare sectors in case of write failure, which is named bad block management (BBM).”

    I would love someone to produce figures for the average hard drive. If a hard drive wears out quicker than NAND flash drives then these new drives are a winner but if they don’t then I personally doubt it.

    Remember that caches and rotating log files all write and erase data on the drives.

    Just my 10 penneth.

  8. The article states that… In notebook computers, data moves to and from an SSD more than 100 times faster than data moving to and from a hard disk. However it then says that with an SSD a notebook could boot Microsoft Windows Vista Enterprise in 30 seconds vs 48 seconds for a hard disk. If it is a 100 times faste, wouldn’t the start up times be more dramatically different that 30 vs 48? What am I missing?

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