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Micron Unveils Family Of Solid-State Drives

Under the new RealSSD brand, Micron will make 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch solid-state drives for notebooks and desktops.

Micron on Wednesday introduced a family of solid-state drives for notebooks, desktops and servers, as demand for the storage devices rises in computing environments.

Under the new RealSSD brand, Micron unveiled 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch solid-state drives for notebooks and desktops. The drives are offered with 32Gbytes and 64Gbytes of storage. Micron is sampling both devices, and plans to start mass production in the first quarter of next year.

In addition, Micron introduced SSDs for embedding in blade server systems and other industrial PC environments. The drives are used to boot operating systems faster, or as reserves for often-accessed files. Samples of those products are also available, with mass production set by the end of the year.

SSDs use solid-state memory to store persistent data. The drives emulate conventional hard-disk drives, and can replace the latter in any application. SSDs have no moving parts, making them quieter and faster than HDDs. SSDs are also less apt to fail and use less power.

SSDs, however, also have their limitations. HDDs are available with far more storage capacity, and they are also a lot cheaper.

Micron's SSDs for notebooks and desktops use a SATA II interface, which is also used by HDDs. The Micron products offer "native" support, which mean they don't require a SATA bridge chip like other products. The new drives use less than 2 watts of power while active, and have a lightweight plastic casing that's lighter than the casings used for similar density HDDs, the company said. Component weight is important in some devices, such as ultra-mobile PCs.

Micron's embeddable drives for blade servers and other industrial PC systems range in density from 1 Gbyte to 8 Gbytes, and use a USB 2.0 interface. Micron also introduced a RealSSD Module, which is a sold-state storage device designed for enterprise servers. The modules, which use a SATA interface, are smaller in size to allow for increased system airflow. The modules are about 1-inch high, 5.3 inches long and 0.2 inch thick.

SSDs are often found in notebooks used by the military, and people who work outdoors, on the warehouse floor, or in other rugged environments. Smaller drives are used in systems to store boot-up information that a computer can access quickly to reduce the amount of time it takes to launch the operating system.

Market researcher In-Stat predicts SSDs will reside in half of all mobile computers by 2013, and possibly replace HDDs as the preferred storage medium in laptops within 10 years.

Micron has lots of competition in the SSD market. Rivals include SanDisk and Samsung.

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