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M-Systems ships $40k 90GB Flash drive

Small drive, big price tag

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Intelligent flash storage arrays

Memory specialist M-Systems this week released a 90GB hard drive based not on spindles, platters and mobile read/write heads but solid-state Flash memory.

The announcement comes a week after the company's CEO, Dov Moran, claimed that Microsoft - an M-Systems customer - has dropped the hard drive from the Xbox 2 spec.

That claim led some observers to wonder whether M-Systems would be providing comparably-capacious solid-state storage for the next-generation console. On the basis on the 90GB drive, it seems unlikely. The costs of the part is said to be "less than $40,000", according to the company.

No wonder it's pitched at military and aerospace roles - they're the only ones who can afford it. The company is touting the unit as a shock and vibration-proof alternative to ruggedised hard drives.

The Flash drive fits inside a standard 2.5in Ultra ATA shell. M-Systems' TrueFFS Flash management technology spots and bypasses bad memory blocks.

For buyers on tighter budgets, M-Systems offers a $2000 4GB version and a $5500 12GB model. In each case, the price isn't fixed, but fluctuates according to the state of the Flash memory chip market. ®

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