Samsung’s 64GB solid-state drive enters production


Samsung’s new SSD. Source: Samsung.

Samsung says its 1.8″ 64GB solid-state drive has now entered mass production. The Korean firm announced the drive around three months ago, boasting that it would feature a 64MB/s read speed and a write speed of 45MB/s. (For reference, the company quoted read and write speeds of 15MB/s and 7MB/s, respectively, for a conventional 80GB 1.8″ hard drive.)

To achieve its high storage density, which Samsung claims is the highest of any SSD on the market today, the new drive uses single-level cell flash memory chips based on 51nm process technology. Each chip packs 8Gb (1GB) of data, and there are 64 of them spread out inside the SSD.

According to Samsung, SSD sales “will increase at a rapid 270 percent pace industry-wide between now and 2010 to become the largest growth segment in the NAND flash industry.” The company also expects the use of 2.5″ and 3.5″ SSDs in notebooks and desktop PCs, respectively, to “gain a great deal of momentum” over the next three years.

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    • ladiesman217
    • 11 years ago

    THINKPAD 64GB SAMSUNG SDD SOLID STATE DRIVE 1.8 SATA 2

    i have this one for sale $450 listed it on ebay as well contact me ladyfinger69@gmail.com if interested

    • Kent_dieGo
    • 12 years ago

    Maybe they are getting B and b mixed up? That would only make the read speed 29 times slower than a hard drive.

      • UberGerbil
      • 12 years ago

      Yes, it’s a typo. The size of the drives are in GB, the transfer rates (both for HDs and SSDs) are in MB/s

        • Damage
        • 12 years ago

        I’ve fixed the error. Apologies. We shouldn’t make those mistakes.

          • Prototyped
          • 12 years ago

          This is why SI suggests using the unit symbol “B” for byte and “bit” for bit. Minimal ambiguity.

          The binary prefixes are another thing — many people are reticent to use “kibi-“, “mebi-“, “gibi-“, “tebi-” and so on, which is unfortunate, since they make a pretty clear distinction between “thousands/millions/billions/trillions of bytes” and “2^10/2^20/2^30/2^40 bytes”. Wikipedia’s style guides have standardized on the SI recommendations thankfully; maybe others will follow their lead?

            • UberGerbil
            • 12 years ago

            y[

            • evermore
            • 12 years ago

            And to make it more confusing, b originally stood for byte, and B for bit, since bits were “invented” first so bytes didn’t originally need a symbol.

            Maybe we just need to invent new symbols, different “squiggly lines” that are spoken as bit and byte but aren’t just letters. Then we can have bit and byte keys on a keyboard, and maybe get around to a degree symbol on US keyboards too.

    • Kent_dieGo
    • 12 years ago

    So a hard drive can read 230 times as fast? Wouldn’t Windows take 30 minutes to load? i hope they have lots high speed of cache. Until soild state memory is faster than a hard drive, forget it. I can live with the increased power draw which seems to be the only advantage.

      • Thebolt
      • 12 years ago

      You’ve got some really fast hard drives…

      If 45MBps is constant in usage it’ll be about 50% slower than an average desktop 3.5″ hard drive’s peak read speeds and near the speed of the non peak write speeds.

      I take it that this 1.8″ drive will be a bit slower than a desktop 3.5″ drive, nothing to scoff at.

      • UberGerbil
      • 12 years ago

      No, that’s a typo. HD transfer rates are measured in MB/s.

      A 10K Raptor hits reads in the 80s, while recent 7200rpm desktop drives gets into the 70s. The 2.5″ laptop drives vary quite a bit: the 7200rpm drives can hit 60 but they’re uncommon (and expensive); the 5400rpm drives more typically found in laptops range from 30-40. The 1.8 drives, which are typically 4200rpm, are slower still — 15-20*[http://www.storagereview.com/160notebook.sr?page=0%2C1<]§ So this SSD is already competitive with mainstream laptop drives on raw transfer rate (for reads, which matters much more than writes) But SSDs have near zero latency for random access, something laptop HDs tend to be very slow at both in absolute terms (measured in milliseconds) and relative to desktop drives (typically 7ms for desktop drives vs 14ms or worse for laptop drives). And for many operations seeks dominate over raw transfer rate.

    • Taddeusz
    • 12 years ago

    SSD’s are certainly exciting technology but I wonder about their long term reliability.

    Considering flash memory has a finite number of writes per cell before it can no longer retain data I wonder what the life expectancy of newer flash chips has become? How long would one of these SSD’s last in a laptop during normal usage before you start getting data loss or in the least marked bad cells? I understand newer flash chips have automatic detection of bad cells. Still, flash memory has a finite write life after which it becomes useless.

      • anand
      • 12 years ago

      Wikipedia has some information about this:

      Another limitation is that flash memory has a finite number of erase-write cycles (most commercially available flash products are guaranteed to withstand 1 million programming cycles) … With these mechanisms in place, some industry analysts[1] have calculated that flash memory can be written to at full speed continuously for 51 years before exceeding its write endurance, even if such writes frequently cause the entire disk to be overwritten.

      §[<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory<]§

      • panzerlied
      • 12 years ago

      And mechanical drives die eventually too. I’d assume that a SSD and a mechanical drive would probably die about the same time.

      • HiggsBoson
      • 12 years ago

      This is my concern as well.

      However in practice I think we can agree that as long as the life of the devices is “long-enough” and replacement cost is “cheap-enough” for most users, it’s not going to matter. Nevertheless it’s still interesting to think about the corner cases, of which I think there will be many (myself included).

      Additionally, I imagine that the swap file management in an SSD laptop will have to be configured differently.

      EDIT:
      Actually another thought just occurred to me, how does this type of device fail? Does the capacity start to diminish as individual “cells” die? Do writes start getting corrupted? Does the device simply and catastrophically stop responding to commands? Is reading affected?

      If they can find a way to make the worst-case failure mode of the device (due to wearing out, not due to accident or other reasons) simply to stop being able to perform writes, that could be in and of itself reason enough to switch for most users (when the value proposition is good enough): never have to worry about losing or recovering due to a drive failure.

        • Taddeusz
        • 12 years ago

        From what I understand if the cell failure detection is working correctly all you should notice is that the drive would progressively start getting smaller once cells start to fail.

        Once a cell fails it can no longer retain data or can only retain data for a very short period of time.

          • UberGerbil
          • 12 years ago

          Yes, as bad blocks are detected they get retired (this can happen without loss of data, because read-after-write fails to verify the data, so it gets rewritten elsewhere and the bad block is removed from service). Most flash in these sorts of high-value uses actually has some extra capacity in reserve, so there can be some loss of blocks before there’s any detectable “shrinkage.”

          Modern flash controllers use wear levelling techniques to spread writes around transparently. In the case of HD replacement, much of the data on the disk is written infrequently or not at all, and just a few active areas (document files, the page file, browser cache, etc) see the vast majority of writes. Since the blocks storing these files can be exchanged with the much larger pool of blocks that never or rarely see writes, longevity is much better than you’d naively think from just looking at the write cycle limits alone.

            • ew
            • 12 years ago

            Factoring wear leveling with commonly stated 1,000,000 write cycles can give you a pretty good estimate of how long a drive like this will last.

            First lets say it really is only 100,000 write cycles and assume wear leveling is distributing writes perfectly evenly. That means you can write 6,400,000GB to this drive before it fails.

            Now lets assume your writing to the drive at 45MB/sec constantly. That means you could write to the drive constantly for 142,222,222 seconds or 4.5 years. I’d say that’s pretty damn good considering your going to want to take a break from all that writing and do a little reading once in a while.

            • Prototyped
            • 12 years ago

            That “perfect wear leveling” is a pretty optimistic viewpoint.

            Keep in mind that things like the FATs/MFTs get written to a whole lot more often, and the fact that there’s only a limited pool of free blocks used for levelling, and writing to the same spot over and over is the worst-case. You end up with a number that’s significantly lower than that 4.5 year figure.

            • ew
            • 12 years ago

            That is why I went with 100,000 write cycles instead of 1,000,000. If I’d used the commonly stated 1,000,000 cycles it would have been 45 years. So yes, probably less then that. Also I was talking about continues writing which will never happen in the real world.

    • UberGerbil
    • 12 years ago

    Still no word on price. It will be high, for a while.

    They’re also not quoting random writing IOPS figures, which have been staggeringly low for some of the competing SSDs.

    They’re right about demand, though. This is getting into the range where people really will consider it an HD replacement for a notebook. I know lots of people running around with 60GB HDs in their laptops, and almost no one has more than 120GB so the next doubling will pretty much do it (even though bigger 1.8″/2.5″ HDs will be available by then)

    And there’s a huge potential market for these in camcorders, too.

    • paco
    • 12 years ago

    read and write speeds of *[<15GB/s and 7GB/s<]* Wow, I wish my hard drive was that fast

      • Logdan
      • 12 years ago

      y[

      • UberGerbil
      • 12 years ago

      I wish nonvolatile SSDs were that fast.

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