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TDK readies netbook-friendly SSD series

Cheap enough to oust the 160GB HDD 'standard'?

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TDK has begun pitching SSDs at laptop makers, and said it will ship its new SDGA2 line out to manufacturers at the end of the month.

TDK's approach appears to focus more on netbooks than notebooks. Yes, it said its new products are designed as HDD replacements, but the capacity range - 1GB up to just 64GB - puts it well behind the capcity curve for 2.5in notebook-oriented drives.

TDK's initial offerings will follow the 2.5in form-factor, but it said it will offer 1.8in versions too. They're all Sata II units.

The lower capacity models - 1, 2, 4, 8, 17 and 32GB - use single-layer cell (SLC) Flash technology that's faster and offers better longevity than the multi-layer cell (MLC) approach employed with the 64GB drive. MLC versions of the 16GB and 32GB drives are also on offer.

The MLC drives have maximum sustained read and write speeds of 95MB/s and 28MB/s, respectively. The SLC drives have the same read speed, but can write data at up to 55MB/s. Compare that to Intel's popular X25-M SSD, which has read and write speeds of 250MB/s and 70MB/s, respectively.

The drives use TDK's own controller chip, the GBDriver RS2. This uses the hard drive-oriented Smart (Self-Monitoring and Analysis Reporting Technology) system to report the drive's inevitable capacity decline over time, the product of Flash storage's limited write life.

The SDGA2s also support on-drive AES-128 automatic data encryption.

TDK didn't say how much it will charge for the drives. If it's to compete effectively in the netbook arena, it'll need to come close to the price of a 160GB HDD, the current de facto standard for small, cheap computer hard drives. ®

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