Feeds

SanDisk bigs up its flash postage stamp

Just keep taking the tablets

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

SanDisk has announced a postage stamp-sized flash iSSD product for tablet computers at the Flash Memory Summit, with capacity ranging from 4GB to 64GB.

IDC has conveniently defined a new flash product category, embedded flash, for what are called "highly portable consumer electronics devices", presumably meaning anything from music players through mobile phones to tablet computers. SanDisk says the iSSD is the first product in this new category, which IDC seems to have defined so as to rule out all flash products shipped in mobile phones, music players and tablet computers to date. Frankly, that seems idiotic.

Jeff Janukowicz, IDC's research manager for solid state drives, is quoted in the SanDisk release talking about: "The ultra-thin tablet and mobile computer markets" and "stringent size requirements of small and light devices". Even if we grant him that ultra-thin tablets are a proper computing category compared to thin tablets and, logically, thick tablets, and that mobile phones which, denying common sense, must be supposed not to use embedded flash, the distinction between this and non-embedded flash used in all the other mobile internet devices to date seems artificial.

Some observers may think dark thoughts about IDC inventing a market category to suit SanDisk but we couldn't possibly comment on that notion.

Maybe the category's real distinction is that it refers to BGA-packaged flash? Samsung's OneNAND (pdf) flash came in a BGA package so if BGA-ness is the defining factor then Samsung got there before SanDisk.

The iSSD product is 1.85mm thick and claimed to be smaller than a postage stamp. We're all so blasé about physical size that we're not that impressed - SanDisk announced a finger nail-sized SSD only last month. That one went up to 16GB of capacity but the iSSD holds four times more data. The iSSD uses multi-level cell (MLC) flash, probably two-bit, and if it is used in devices that are used more for content consumption than content creation the well-known MLC write endurance problem should be much less of an issue.

The other measurements are 16mm x 20mm and the little tab weighs less than a gram if it's a 4GB jobby and a little more if it's a 64GB version. It comes with a SATA interface (SATA II we reckon) in a Ball Grid Array (BGA) package (157 ball BGA with 0.5 mm pitch). It offers 160MB/sec sequential read and 100MB/sec sequential write speeds.

SanDisk says the packaging means manufacturers can "avoid the additional weight and thickness required by a connector-based SSD solution". It also means that the SSD sits snugly against its host board and impedes any cooling airflow less - which only really matters if it is used in a device with a fan, such as a notebook computer.

It supports SMART diagnostics and the TRIM command and its write endurance is defined by SanDisk as the total number of terabytes that can be written (TBW) before the drive fails. For a 4GB model it is 2.5TB, 5TB for the 8GB version, and so on linearly to 40TB written for the 64GB version. The predicted lifespan requires customers to know the average data write rate per time period and this is used to divide the TBW figure and so produce a working life period.

The iSSD, available for sampling now, is being evaluated by some unidentified manufacturers and its price will vary with the order quantity. ®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.