Super Talent to ship 256GB SSD in April

Super Talent, a San Jose-based developer of memory devices, will soon begin commercial sales of a solid-state disk (SSD) drive for laptops that can store 256GB of data.

SSDs are an emerging class of storage device that are typically drop-in replacements for hard-disk drives but store data on flash memory chips rather than a rotating magnetic disk. The use of memory chips means the drives are more sturdy and brings a big performance boost but the per-byte storage cost is also much higher, so at present they're largely confined to niche applications.

Apple's MacBook Air is the first Macintosh product to sport an SSD -- Apple offers a 64GB SSD as $999 upgrade in place of the standard 80GB drive.

The new drive from Super Talent is the same size as a 12.5-millimeter-thick 2.5-inch laptop drive -- that's thicker than most common laptop drives, which are 9.5mm high, but the same size as some of the larger capacity drives currently on the market. Compared to other 256G B SSDs on the market the Super Talent drive is thinner.

It has a SATA-I interface so can be easily changed with a conventional disk drive without any special work.

Access time is 0.1 milliseconds, maximum sequential read speed is 65M bytes per second and write speed is 50MB per second.

Super Talent is already shipping samples of the drive to customers and plans to begin volume shipments in late April. The company, which only supplies PC makers, will sell the drive for US$5,950.

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