SanDisk releases postage stamp-sized SSD

SanDisk on Wednesday unveiled a solid state drive (SSD) that is smaller than a postage stamp and weighs less than a paperclip.

The company said the new iSSD products represent a new category of embedded drives that offer higher capacities and performance than existing storage technologies. SanDisk is aiming the iSSD drives at mobile computing platforms such as tablets and ultra-thin netbooks.

The SanDisk iSSD drive uses a serial ATA (SATA) interface in a small ball grid array (BGA) package that can be soldered onto any motherboard. A BGA is a surface mount chip that uses a grid of solder balls instead of the pin connectors used by typical SATA drives.

SanDisk said the iSSD is fast enough for use with advanced operating systems such as Windows 7 or Mac OS X.

The iSSD offers 160MBps sequential read and 100MBps sequential write speeds, SanDisk said. As an SSD, the drive has no moving parts, so it is more durable for mobile applications.

The SanDisk iSSD measures about .06 by .08 by .07 inches and weighs less than one gram.

Doron Myersdorf, senior director of SSD marketing for SanDisk, said embedded SSDs should allow hardware manufacturers to produce tablets and notebooks with an unprecedented combination of thin, lightweight form factors and fast performance.

"With our embedded flash storage leadership, SanDisk believes it is uniquely positioned to deliver the ultra compact SSD solutions needed by OEMs," he said in a statement.

Jeff Janukowicz, an analyst with IDC, said with the growth of mobile computer and ultra-thin tablets expected over the next few years, advanced operating systems will require greater hardware performance.

"New embedded SSDs, such as the SanDisk iSSD drive, which meet the stringent size requirements of small and light devices while offering greater performance, are designed to enable OEMs to deliver an enhanced user experience in their next-generation designs," he said in a statement.

SanDisk said the iSSD is currently available for equipment manufacturers to sample and is currently being evaluated by so-called "top-tier" manufacturers.

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