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Samsung Electronics on Wednesday said that shortly it would start to produce solid state drives (SSDs) aimed at ultra low-cost personal computers (ULCPCs). The devices promise to be small in size and low in capacity, but very affordable to manufacture, which would be appreciated by manufacturers of  inexpensive computers.

“We’ve refined our manufacturing techniques and redesigned our low-density SSDs to get what the low-priced PC market is looking for in the way of improved cost, performance and availability,” said Jim Elliott, Vice President of memory marketing at Samsung Semiconductor.

According to Samsung, its low-density, higher-performance SSDs are only 30% of the size of 2.5” SSDs or HDDs, which makes them an attractive replacement for existing hard drives used in low-cost PCs. It is interesting to note that the low-density Samsung SSDs use the same high-performance SATA II controller technology as that being used on Samsung’s just-introduced MLC-based 128GB SSD. Available in densities of 8GB, 16GB and 32GB, the new multi-level-cell (MLC) SSDs will be mass produced beginning next month.

Samsung’s new MLC-based SSD at 32GB capacity will read data (sequentially) at 90MB/s and write it (sequentially) at 70MB/s – performance levels much greater than low-density SSDs on the market today. The 16GB reads at 90MB/s and writes at 45MB/s, while the 8GB reads at 90MB/s and writes at 25MB/s. By contrast, SanDisk’s recently introduced SSD modules available in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities feature streaming read speed of 39MB/s and a streaming write performance of 17MB/s.

Samsung incorporates four individual 16Gb MLC NAND chips in its 8GB SSD, as well as four dual-die packages and four quad-die packages of 16Gb NAND for its 16GB and 32GB SSDs respectively. Furthermore, by including a 32MB DRAM as the buffer and four-channel system for the new low-density SSDs, these solutions are better suited for high-speed reading environments, the company said.

Samsung has expanded its SSD market offerings since it introduced its first SSD in 2006 in 16GB and 32GB capacities targeted at the Ultra Mobile PC market. This was followed by the announcement of the 64GB SSD in 2007, a 128GB SSD in 2008, and sampling of a 256GB SSD in the second half of 2008.

With increased sales of low-cost PCs and recent efforts by most major PC manufacturers to develop their own low-cost PC offerings, the market for lower density SSDs has been experiencing explosive growth. By unit sales, the low-density SSD market is expected to increase annually by 57% until 2011, with SSDs for low-priced PCs being the main driver of market demand.

Tags: Samsung, Flash memory, SSD

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