The popularity of low-cost PCs around the world is driving "explosive growth" for SSDs (solid-state drives), Samsung said Wednesday as it announced three new models of the device.
SSDs are made from NAND flash memory chips and are used to store software, songs, pictures, documents, and other data on computers. The drives hold several advantages over common HDDs (hard disk drives), including being speedier, lighter, quieter, and using far less power.
The market for low-density SSDs will grow by 57 percent per year annually until 2011, due mainly to brisk demand for low-cost PCs, Samsung said.
The company said it will start mass producing three new low-capacity drives -- 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB SSDs -- next month. The storage drives are each about 30 percent smaller than 2.5-inch HDDs, a small size normally used in low-cost PCs and netbooks, or mini-laptops.
The new SSDs will also run faster than older-generation SSDs made for low-cost PCs, Samsung said, because they include high-performance SATA II (serial advanced technology attachment) controller technology inside.
Samsung's latest SSDs can all read data at 90MBps, while writing at speeds varying from 70MBps for the 32GB SSD, to 45MBps for the 16GB SSD, and 25MBps for the 8GB SSD.
These speeds mark an improvement over the company's first SSDs aimed at small devices, which were launched in 2006. Those devices, 32GB and 16GB SSDs, could read at 57MBps and write at 32MBps.
Samsung is the world's largest memory chipmaker.
The most popular style of low-cost PC on the market today that use SSDs are mini-laptops, or netbooks, such as the Eee PC by Taiwan's Asustek Computer.
The devices are a new style of mobile PC that weigh less than 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds), sport 7-inch to 10-inch LCD screens, carry long-lasting batteries, and connect wirelessly to the Internet. They generally cost far less than the average notebook PC as well, between $199 to $599.
Global netbook shipments are forecast to reach 8.02 million this year and then more than double to 18.3 million units in 2009, according to Taiwan's Market Intelligence Center (MIC).
Acer, the world's third-largest PC vendor, has said it expects to ship 5 million to 6 million of its Aspire one netbooks this year, while Asustek has forecast Eee PC sales at 5 million this year.