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Toshiba Corp. one of the world’s largest producers of flash memory, on Monday said that in 2008 it would enter the market of solid state drives (SSD) with up to 128GB offerings. With more companies on the market of drives that combine performance of flash and capacities of hard disk drives, SSDs are likely to drop in price faster.

The first SSDs from Toshiba will be compatible with Serial ATA-300 interconnection and will be available in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities. Toshiba promises that its NAND flash-based drives will feature maximum write speed of 40MB/s and maximum read speed of 100MB/s. Initially, in March ’08, solid state drives from Toshiba will be available in modules, but eventually, in May ’08, the company will offer them in 1.8” and 2.5” hard drive form-factors.

Toshiba’s new SSD integrate the company’s own MLC (multi-level cell NAND flash) controller supporting fast read-write speeds, parallel data transfers and wear leveling, and achieve performance levels comparable to those of single-level NAND flash SSD, the manufacturer indicated. By applying MLC technology, Toshiba has realized a 128GB density in a 1.8” form factor.

Toshiba expects the launch of its SSD line-up to speed up acceptance of solid state memory in laptops and digital consumer products, and to widen the horizons of the NAND flash market.

According to market tracker iSuppli Corp., Toshiba commanded 27.5% of NAND flash memory market in Q2 2007. Only Samsung Electronics – which sold 45.9% of NAND flash memory was a bigger player, whereas companies like Hynix Semiconductor or Micron Technology could only boast with 14.6% and 5.4% of revenue share, respectively. Toshiba’s decision to enter the market of SSDs seems to be important not only for the company, but also for the whole market itself.

Toshiba’s SSDs will be showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, from January 7th to 10th. Samples and mass production will follow from the first quarter (January to March) of next year.

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