SanDisk Launches PC Solid-State Drive

The hard drive maker's expansion of its product line, as well as Intel's first SSD launch, is an indication that the market is sure to heat up.

SanDisk on Tuesday introduced a 32 Gbyte, solid-state, flash memory drive, broadening its offerings for hard-disk drive replacements in the notebook market.

The company launched the 2.5-inch Serial ATA interface model the day after Intel unveiled its first solid state device, which has a maximum capacity of 8 Gbytes.

The SanDisk drive is compatible with most mainstream notebook designs, and follows by two months the company's introduction of a 1.8-inch SSD for ultra-portable notebooks. The new drive is available to computer manufacturers for $350 in large volume orders.

Advantages of solid state devices over hard-disk drives include lower power consumption, considerably less heat, and virtually no noise. The disadvantages include a higher price tag per gigabyte, and far less storage capacity.

Nevertheless, SSDs have their place in the market for low-end PCs sold to poorer nations, which don't need the same amount of capacity required in PCs used to store music and video in the United States. Intel, for example, uses its Z-U130 SSD in its Classmate PC notebook, which is sold in developing nations. The drive also can be used in PCs, servers, and routers to speed common computing tasks, such as boot times and data access.

SanDisk's expansion of its product line, as well as Intel's first SSD launch, is an indication that the solid-state hard drive market is sure to heat up. Samsung Electronics also is focused on the market, offering 32 Gbyte SSDs that compete directly with SanDisk.

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