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SanDisk Corp., a leading maker of flash-based products, unveiled at Computex Taipei 2008 its family of low-cost solid-state drives for Parallel ATA interface (pSSDs). The new drives are specifically designed for ultra low-cost personal computers (ULCPCs) and are tailored to be affordable, but not really provide high performance.

SanDisk is making the new SSD modules available in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities with a streaming read speed of 39MB/s and a streaming write performance of 17MB/s. The modules are designed for Parallel ATA interface that is supported by both outdated and newer core-logic sets. According to SanDisk, pSSDs for low-cost PCs are based on multi-level cell and single-level cell flash memory chips.

The manufacturer did not reveal mean time before failure (MTBF) characteristics of its pSSDs. MTBF is an important figure for flash-based drives considering the fact that each flash cell can be recorded for a limited amount of times.

“We’re excited to be involved in this emerging market of ULCPCs, which take the concept of affordability into new directions – ones that are ideally suited to the multiple benefits of SanDisk’s technology. Based on consumer response to some of the first ULCPCs, these devices are quickly developing a popular following. Our new pSSDs are enablers for manufacturers to create what could become the next wave of personal and portable computing devices,” said Rich Heye, senior vice president and general manager at SanDisk’s SSD business unit.

Gartner market tracking firm expects the low-cost SSD category to grow from 635 thousand units in 2007 to over 33 million units in 2012, and that represents a five-year compound growth rate of 117%.

“The opportunity for SSDs in the emerging market of ultra low-cost PCs is promising. As semiconductor innovation enables more powerful functionality at lower prices, storage requirements will continue to be elastic, providing opportunities for companies that can command compelling low-cost SSD solutions,” said Joseph Unsworth, research director at Gartner.

The fact that SanDisk enters the market of ULCPCs with solid-state drives further outlines growing importance of affordable computers.

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