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SanDisk And Samsung Want To Replace Hard Disks In Laptops With Flash Drives

The solid-state disk drive battle is being waged over different features including capacity, access speed, size and shape, reliability, and price.
Another format and standards battle is brewing, but this one doesn't involved high-definition video. SanDisk Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. are battling over NAND flash memory. SanDisk on Thursday sought to trump Samsung with a 32-Gbyte solid-state disk drive (SSD.) The day before Samsung said it had begun sampling 16-Gbyte memories using an advanced 50-nanometer process technology.

Both companies want to see their technology built into laptop computers. The SSD battle is being waged over different features including capacity, access speed, size and shape, reliability, and price. The flash memory technology has also been increasingly poaching on traditional hard drive technology, which continues to surpass SSD in capacity and other features.

"Once we begin shipping the 32-Gbyte SSD for notebooks PCs, we expect to see its increasing adoption in the coming years as we continue to reduce the cost of flash memory," said Eli Harari, SanDisk CEO, in a statement. "When these SSD devices become more affordable, we expect that their superior features over rotating disk drives will create a new consumer category for our retail sales channels worldwide."

SanDisk said the new drive could increase the price of a laptop by about $600 when they appear in machines in the first half of 2007. That price is something of a breakthrough compared with Samsung's 32-Gbyte NAND drive that was launched last spring with a much higher price.

Samsung, which said it plans to begin mass production of its new NAND drive in the first quarter, noted that the 50-nm technology improves density while doubling read speed and boosting write performance by 150%.

Both high capacity SSD drives will be initially aimed at enterprise and corporate users while consumer markets are expected to follow after prices drop.

SanDisk said its 32-Gbyte drive will boot Vista quickly, observing that the 1.8-inch device can boot Vista Enterprise in 35 seconds versus the 55 seconds that are required to boot the Microsoft operating system with a hard disk drive.