Mtron claims speediest solid-state disk

More PC makers are offering SSDs as options in laptop, but consumers should pay close attention to the specs, Mtron says

Solid-state disks (SSDs) are fast becoming popular as drop-in replacements for hard-disk drives but they are not all alike, said South Korea's Mtron.

SSDs use flash memory rather than magnetic storage, which means faster reading and writing of data, lower power consumption, and zero noise. They've been around for several years although it is only recently, after flash memory chip prices fell, that they have become practical for use in laptop computers.

Major PC makers are starting to offer them as options in some laptop models, but consumers looking to SSDs for a performance boost should pay close attention to the specifications, said Sean Roh, assistant manager of the marketing department at Mtron .

The company, which is based near Seoul, makes its own SSD that it claims is faster than any other on the market. It offers a sustained read speed of 100MBps and a sustained write speed of 80MBps, he said.

By comparison, Sandisk reports a read speed of 67MBps and a write speed of 47MBps for its recently announced 64GB SSD and Samsung Electronics said its SSD reads at 56MBps and writes at 32MBps.

The faster speeds are possible thanks to the use of a custom-designed drive control chip.

In a demonstration at the SEK show, which opened in Seoul on Wednesday, the company had five competing 2.5-inch drives and its own 2.5-inch drive hooked up to a personal computer running benchmarking software. The test appeared to confirm that the Mtron drive performed at around the speeds claimed and also beat out the competition.

Among the competing drives, all of which had labels to cover the manufacturer's name, the slowest read data at about 28MBps and the fastest at about 96MBps, while write speeds ranged from 17.6MBps to 68MBps (the fastest read and write speeds were not on the same drive). The Mtron drive hit a read speed of 97MBps and a write speed of 72Mbps in the test, the benchmark software reported.

Mtron, which is about three years old, has already signed up distributors in some markets and is looking to sell its 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives to PC makers for use in their machines. It isn't planning to offer the drives direct to consumers.