Toshiba upped the ante for 2.5-inch solid state drives (SSDs), sampling a device packing 256GB of MLC (multi-level cell) NAND flash storage. The “THNS256GE8BC” has a 3.0 Gb/sec. SATA interface, and is joined by 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB SSD modules aimed at lower-cost devices, says Toshiba.
MLC-based SSDs have been increasing in size and, finally, starting to become affordable. Earlier this month, for example, Super Talent announced its MasterDrive OX, said to provide 128GB of storage for approximately $420. Toshiba's THNS256GE8BC, whose workaday moniker suggests it will primarily be sold to device manufacturers directly, now provides double the capacity, for a total of 256GB.
Like the Super Talent device, the THNS256GE8BC has a metal housing and a 2.5-inch form factor, making it capable of slotting into existing laptop-sized hard drive bays. The NAND flash memory itself is mounted on a 2.77 x 2.1 x 0.1 inch (70.6 x 53.6 x 3.0mm) board inside, the company says.
Toshiba didn't specify pricing for the THNS256GE8BC, but rated it for maximum read speeds of 120MB/sec., and maximum writes of 70MB/sec. These speeds, while significantly faster than many SSDs introduced earlier this year, are slower than those of the Super Talent MasterDrive OX, which has read and write ratings of 150MB/sec. and 100MB/sec., respectively. Competition is also provided by Intel's 2.5-inch X-25M, an 80GB device said by the chipmaker to be capable of 250MB/sec. reads.
Putting it into perspective, though, the THNS256GE8BC's read speed is more than twice as fast as uncached reads from a typical SATA laptop hard disk drive. Meanwhile, latency, while not specified by Toshiba, is likely to beat any mechanical drive by several orders of magnitude.
Toshiba touts the THNS256GE8BC as having “performance characteristics essential for today's mainstream notebook PCs,” including highly reliable storage and support for fast data transfer rates. The device includes an SATA II interface capable of transferring data at up to 3.0Gb/sec., according to the company.
Also said to be sampling now are new SSDs that have a custom 2 x 1.2 inch (50 x 30mm) form factor. The 8GB, 16GB, and 32G devices, known as the THNSA08G0P4L, THNSA16G1P4L, and THNSA32G1P4L, respectively, are said to read data at 80GB/sec. and write it at 50MB/sec. The smaller SSDs, which also have 3.0Gn/sec. SATA II interfaces, are aimed at lower-cost netbooks, UMPCs (ultra mobile PCs), and other portable devices, says Toshiba.
Toshiba says the THNS256GE8BC, THNSA08G0P4L, THNSA16G1P4L, and THNSA32G1P4L are all sampling now, and should be available in quantity during the fourth quarter. They are being showcased this week at the CEATEC show in Makuhari, Japan, the company adds.
As noted above, Toshiba did not release pricing, but an article on EETimes.com claims the 256GB THNS256GE8BC sells for $946 in sample quantities. The publication also claims that the 8GB THNSA08G0P4L will cost $47, the 16GB THNSA16G1P4L will cost $95, and the 32GB THNSA32G1P4L will cost $189.
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