Solid-state disks hit half a terabyte

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Solid-state disks hit half a terabyte

Las Vegas (CA) – Toshiba said it will showcase a 512 GB solid-state disk (SSD) drive at next month’s Consumer Electronics show (CES). The 2.5” drive is likely to be the highest-capacity SSD when shown at the tradeshow, but the device will not go into production until the second half of next year.

Toshiba’s new SSD will continue the race for the highest capacity SSD and given the fact that 2.5” SSDs are now hitting a range that is still considered to be mainstream for traditional 3.5” hard drives and high-end for 2.5” drives is impressive.

In terms of performance, the drive will follow the path of recent SSDs announcements and is promised to offer a read speed of 240 MB/s and write speeds of 200 MB/s. These specifications put the drive among the fastest SSDs currently on the market. There was no information on how much power the drive will consume.

SSD announcements typically come without any pricing information – with a good reason, since these drives are typically expensive and are not in reach for the mainstream buyer. While Toshiba’s 512 GB drive is based on the firm’s 43 nm Multi-Level-Cell (MLC) NAND flash technology, which is often an indication of lower-priced drives, we received word that the drive will not cheap and cost at least what current 256 GB drives are going for when it will become available in the second half of next year.

Today’s 256 GB drives cover a wide range from a rumored sub-$1000 price that OEMs pay for Samsung’s largest SSDs at this time to about $8000 for industry-grade devices. Most 256 GB SSDs that are actually available through retail stores carry price tags between $3000 and $5000 these days.

Prices of flagship SSDs are unlikely to change anytime soon, we hear, as NAND flash manufacturers scramble to leverage this market to make their NAND flash sales profitable. In fact, companies such as Intel have mentioned repeatedly that, from a financial perspective, SSDs is the most attractive flash market at this time.

In a side note, Toshiba announced that it will cut its production of NAND flash memory in one of its main plants by about 30% beginning in January. “Recession in the global economy and the slowdown in consumer spending are having a significant impact on demand for semiconductors,” the company said. “This is particularly notable in NAND flash memories, where decreased demand for applications such as memory cards and MP3 players has generated excess supply.”

Toshiba is the world’s second largest NAND flash manufacturer, behind Samsung, with an estimated market share of just over 25%.