Toshiba brings out business-card-size solid-state drives

New solid-state drives, which feature capacities of up to 62GB, are designed for notebooks and Netbooks.

Toshiba has unveiled solid-state drives based on the new mini-Sata interface standard, which lets manufacturers create very small drives for use in Netbooks and other portable or embedded devices.

The Japanese hardware maker introduced on Monday the two 32-nanometer-process SG2 SSD modules, each of which comes in two capacities. In a separate announcement the same day, the Sata-IO consortium said it is developing mini-Sata (mSata).

Toshiba's new solid-state drives Toshiba

The new interface specification will provide a "high-performance, cost-effective storage solution for smaller devices like notebooks and Netbooks," said the Sata-IO consortium, which includes Toshiba.

One of Toshiba's SG2 modules uses an mSata interface, while the other uses a standard Sata II connector in a "Half-Slim" caseless format. The modules, which come in capacities of 30GB and 62GB, are each smaller than a business card, according to the manufacturer. The mSata module measures 30mm x 4.75mm x 50.95mm, while the Sata II module measures 54mm x 4mm x 39mm.

The company said that the 62GB version of the module is one-seventh the volume and one-eighth the weight of the standard 2.5-inch SSDs currently used in Netbooks.

"Our latest 32nm mSata and Half-Slim caseless modules enable hardware designers to add the performance and reliability advantages of a solid-state drive in a smaller, footprint for notebooks, portable electronics and other embedded storage applications," Toshiba memory chief Scott Nelson said in a statement.

The SG2 modules have interface speeds of up to 3Gbps, a maximum sequential read speed of 180MBps, and a maximum sequential write speed of 70MBps. The modules will go into volume production in October, Toshiba said.

Other manufacturers working on the mSata specification include Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Samsung, SanDisk, and STEC.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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