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Topic: Hard Drives may soon be gone in a Flash

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  1. #1
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    Hard Drives may soon be gone in a Flash

    Look, no hard drive: flash only!

    From a report in Digital World Tokyo:
    — Samsung has developed a higher-capacity version of its solid-state disk (SSD), a flash-memory based replacement for hard-disk drives, and is showing it at the CeBIT trade show in Hanover, Germany, this week.

    The drive packs 32Gb of flash memory into a case the same size as a 1.8in, hard-disk drive. That capacity is double the 16Gb of a prototype device announced by Samsung last year and was made possible by the continuing miniaturization of flash-memory chip technology.

    At CeBIT the solid-state disk is being demonstrated inside a Samsung laptop computer. Because the SSD is the same size and shape as the computer's hard drive it was relatively easy to replace the hard drive with the SSD, said Yun Mini, a spokeswoman for Samsung.

    The SSD technology has three major benefits over hard drives, said Yun. The first is that data access is faster. This could be seen when the SSD-based laptop was booted up alongside the same model machine with a standard hard drive. The desktop appeared on the screen of the SSD laptop in about 18 seconds while the hard drive-based computer took about 31 seconds to reach the same point.

    The second advantage comes in durability. Because there are no moving parts in the SSD it is much better at withstanding shock and unlikely that data will be lost if the laptop is dropped. The third major advantage is that it works silently, said Yun.

    But for all these advantages there is a major hurdle that needs to be overcome before SSD can reach mass market — price. Flash memory costs around $30 per gigabyte so the memory needed for the 32Gb drive works out to about $960, before any other costs are taken into account.

    "At this moment it would be very expensive," said Yun, "but technology is moving very fast so in the near future it could be cheaper... it might just be a matter of time before such disks hit the mass market."


  2. #2

    Re: Hard Drives may soon be gone in a Flash

    Because the SSD is the same size and shape as the computer's hard drive it was relatively easy to replace the hard drive with the SSD...
    Do they have one with the same form factor as the left front temporal lobe?

    I could use that.

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  3. #3

    Re: Hard Drives may soon be gone in a Flash

    This is interesting. I'm at NAB and have been checking out Panasonic's P2 cameras. The P2 cards are solid state memory cards - with 4GB for $650! That holds ten minutes of 720p 24fps HD video. Not good for long documentary interviews, but great for dramatic narratives. (Say a line. Cut! Move camera. Say another line. Cut!...)

    The nice thing is that you don't have to deal with rewinding and capturing tapes. Just download the data directly to the PC and start editing.

    The cost and size of those P2 cards could improve quickly, if solid state memory really is targeted to overtake hard drives.

    -JF

  4. #4

    Re: Hard Drives may soon be gone in a Flash

    Very cool. Networking aside, one of the slowest components of a computer program is disk i/o. We could actually see huge improvements in performance as this technology comes into widespread use.
    Christopher Duncan
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Author of
    Unite the Tribes and The Career Programmer
    www.PracticalUSA.com


  5. #5

    Re: Hard Drives may soon be gone in a Flash

    Good point Chrostopher. Maybe we will finally be able to mash the sustain pedal and play sampled pianos with our forearms! I like polyphony!

    -JF

  6. #6

    Re: Hard Drives may soon be gone in a Flash

    I was just looking at a Lexar 133x 4GB chip for my camera that's listed on the cdw site for $237. Problem with these has been the sustained write speed. This one claims to do 20mb/sec which is one of the best.

    The fastest/cheapest flash I've seen is a TwinMos 4GB 140x chip on newegg for $102 ... a brand name I'm not familiar with. On-line reviews are mixed. Some suggest the 140x rating is more like 100x in reality which is not so shabby. Best performance reports from WinXP folks who reformat with a 16-bit fat. Mac users say they can't do that and get slower performance. At that price, I'm thinking of taking a chance with it.

    Howard

  7. #7

    Re: Hard Drives may soon be gone in a Flash

    The Panasonic P2 cards sustain 100 Mbps (bits, not bytes), but they're $650 for 4GB (bytes). The media project manager said that one of the reasons for the high cost is the issue of yields. These are pro cards, and are extensively tested to have no bad bits. Consumer memory is hit and miss.

    I was also told that you can transfer 400 Mbps from the card to the PC, but that might have been a case of salesman simplification - he was probably talking about the Firewire 400 Mbps bandwidth. I doubt that you can really get the data from the memory in the camera to the hard drive through Firewire at full throttle - even with a disc array.

    Panasonic's DVCPRO HD codec encodes at 100 Mbps, so there no doubt that the P2 cards can read and write that quickly.

    -JF

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