The PC hard drive could soon be an endangered species.
As the price of Flash memory crashes, it is being used in areas traditionally occupied by magnetic storage systems. USB Flash keys are fast becoming the portable storage medium of choice, and a growing number of digital music players (such as Apple's iPod nano) use Flash memory rather than miniature hard drives. Some are trying.
In Korea, Samsung has launched two computer products that use solid state drives (SSDs). Both the NT-Q1-SSD ultra mobile PC (about £1,300) and the NT-Q30-SSD (around £1,900), a 12.1-inch screen notebook, have a 32GB NAND Flash drive.
Samsung claim an SSD can read data at 57MB/s and write at 32MB/s, significantly faster than a hard drive's typical 24MB/s, thus offering faster access to applications and slicker multi-tasking.
The boot-up time for Windows XP is said to be 25% to 50% faster and an SSD is up to 60% lighter than a comparable 1.8in hard drive.
It's also more robust - Samsung claims that the SSD can withstand deceleration forces (that is, being dropped) double what would cripple a standard hard drive. Which makes SSD perfect for laptops?
It uses far less power (0.5W when busy, compared to a hard drive's 2W) - significant, since hard drives use 10% to 20% of a laptop's battery power. And finally, the lack of moving parts means Samsung's SSD-enabled PC can operate in complete silence.
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