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BitMicro announces 1.6TB solid-state drive

New drive crams enormous storage capacity into standard 3.5-inch format, but it's not ready for delivery just yet.

BitMicro Networks has announced plans for a 1.6TB solid state drive the size of a standard 3.5-inch hard disk.

The Altima E3S320 solid state is the first in the 3.5-inch format to advertise a capacity above 1TB. According to a company spokesman, BitMicro launched a solid-state 1TB drive last year but only for users of the Fiber Channel data-transfer format. The latest product, announced this week, has a SCSI, or Small Computer System Interface.

The Altima Ultra320 SCSI model is expected to ship in volume by the third quarter this year, the company spokesman said. "These models are targeted towards military, enterprise, and industrial applications requiring rugged high capacity and high performance," he said.

The drive is expected to ship in capacities ranging in density from 16GB to 1.6TB. The company has not yet disclosed pricing.

The speed of accessing data on the drive varies, but a single level cell NAND flash drive will provide sustained data-transfer rates of up to 230MB/sec, the company said.

The company sells a wide range of small drives in the Altima family in various capacities from 3GB and up, and in Fiber Channel, SAS, Serial ATA and SCSI formats.

Solid-state drives are popular with the military because they offer the security of being able to remove them from a system and secure them elsewhere. The new drive debuted at the West 2008 exhibition in San Diego, Calif., a show that appeals largely to the defense industries.

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.