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Samsung unveils 32GB Flash-based 'HDD killer'

Designed for notebooks

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Samsung has launched what it reckons its the world's first 32GB NAND Flash-based hard disk drive replacement unit. The company claimed the so-called "solid state disk" can access data three times faster than an HDD can and write files one-and-a-half times more quickly - though we don't know what HDD spec it was comparing its product to.

The SSD is a 2.5in form-factor product that operates at 5V and connects across a 66MHz Ultra DMA parallel ATA bus. Samsung said the unit consumes just five per cent of the energy it takes to run a hard drive.

Samsung launched the product in Taiwan, the better to attract the islands' numerous notebook manufacturers, who produce almost all of the world's mobile computers. Samsung is particularly keen to get its drive into laptops, which it believes will benefit most from the SSD's lower power consumption.

As the world's largest manufacturer of NAND Flash, Samsung wants to broaden the memory technology's appeal beyond MP3 players and memory cards. It has been working with Microsoft on the idea, and Windows Vista will support the use of NAND Flash caches to speed boot times. Intel recently unveiled 'Robson', an add-in card that uses a NAND Flash bank to cache operating system components to reduce start-up times and help cut battery consumption.

Samsung's SSD is seen more as an alternative to an HDD than something that operates alongside one, it seems. Samsung believes the SSD market will be worth $4.5bn by 2010, up from $540m this year. ®

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