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SanDisk cranks up solid-state drive speed

ExtremeFFS flash file management system "has the potential," SanDisk says, to accelerate random write speeds by up to 100 times over existing systems.

LOS ANGELES--Technology introduced at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference by SanDisk could boost solid-state drive performance in Windows Vista by 100 times.

The largest supplier of flash memory cards unveiled an advanced flash file system for solid-state drives that "has the potential" to accelerate random write speeds by up to 100 times over existing systems.

Despite being generally faster than hard-disk drives (particularly at reading data), solid-state drives fall short of hard disks when they randomly write data. Random writes are generally considered to be the Achilles heel of solid-state drives.

To maximize random write performance, SanDisk developed the ExtremeFFS flash file management system that uses a "page-based algorithm" so when "a sector of data is written, the SSD puts it where it is most convenient and efficient," SanDisk said.

The result is an improvement in random write performance as well as in overall endurance.

"For SSDs to perform optimally in Windows Vista, and thus replicate or surpass the functionality of hard disk drives, a new flash management technology is needed to accelerate SSD write speed and endurance," said Rich Heye, senior vice president and general manager for SanDisk's solid-state drive business unit.

SanDisk will present this technology here at WinHEC 2008 on Wednesday. ExtremeFFS will ship in SanDisk products in 2009.

Heye also introduced two metrics that can help users evaluate solid-state drives.

One metric, vRPM, enables comparisons in performance between a solid-state drive and a hard-disk drive or another SSD. The other metric, LDE, calculates the lifespan of a solid-state drive.

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