Wednesday, October 25, 2006

End Of The Road For The Hard Disk Drive?

Given the way the price of flash memory has been dropping lately with capacities increasing, a couple of us in the office were thinking that the logical way forward would be to start using it for more main-stream purposes like backup storage or even active storage.

So, when I spotted the fact that Samsung are planning to release a couple of laptops next year that have no hard drives at all and use NAND flash memory instead, we knew our prediction wasn't so far away at all.

The Samsung laptops will have 32GB of embedded NAND flash-based, memory disks and the benefits of replacing traditional hard disk drives are many indeed and they're ideal for portable systems…
  • Solid state flash memory is less prone to external shocks, being able to withstand double the impact that would clobber a disk drive.
  • Liquid spillage damage shouldn't be a terminal condition and you're much more likely to be able to retrieve data in such cases.
  • Systems will be quieter - no hard drive whirring or clicking ever again.
  • Systems should be lighter as solid state memory weighs less than traditional hard drives.
  • Data access will be faster - the devices Samsung plan to use can read data 300% faster and write data 150% faster than normal hard drives.
  • Flash memory uses less power so we should see increased battery performance.
These systems will be released in Korea next Summer but if they're successful, then I don't think it'll be too long before solid state drives become much more widespread.

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