Samsung to ship fast 512GB solid-state drive

Samsung is set to ship a 512GB solid-state drive with speed-boosting "toggle-mode DDR" technology.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

Samsung is set to ship a new high-speed solid-state drive that can hold 512GB of data, as these drives begin to standardize at higher levels of capacity.

Samsung, currently considered the leader in solid-state drive market share and technology, is touting a new development called "toggle-mode DDR (double data rate) NAND," which the company says allows high-performance without a corresponding increase in power consumption. (NAND technology is synonymous with flash memory, used widely in high-end smartphones such as Apple's iPhone.)

"Toggle mode NAND uses a synchronous interface as opposed to an asynchronous interface of standard NAND thereby permitting a larger bandwidth," said Gregory Wong, president of Forward Insights, a consulting and market research company, which specializes in NAND memory.

Wong continued. "The standard NAND interface is about 40 Mbps (megabits per second) and is a performance bottleneck for performance-oriented systems such as SSDs. The toggle mode DDR2 NAND is 200Mbps. This means that you can achieve the same SSD performance with toggle-mode NAND as with a standard NAND interface with a lower-power footprint," he said.

Solid-state drives are indisputably fast. But as Apple's pricing scheme shows, big capacities mean big price tags. Apple

Intel and Micron Technology offer analogous technology with their SSDs, Wong said.

Samsung is also boasting sequential read and write speeds of 250MBps (megabytes per second) and 220MBps, respectively. "(These speeds are) similar to the other SSDs available. That's because the bottleneck is the SATA 3.0 Gbps interface. If they used a SATA 6.0 Gbps interface then the drive could be faster," he said. SATA, or serial ATA, is the standard interface used for hard disk drives and SSDs today.

As a general speed benchmark, two standard length (approximately 4GB each) DVD movies can be stored in just a minute, Samsung said.

The new SSD also delivers "streamlined boot time and application access, showing an approximately nine-fold improvement in random performance over HDDs," Samsung said.

When contacted Thursday, Samsung could not immediately provide pricing information. But high-capacity 256GB and 512GB SSDs are priced at a considerable premium over hard-disk drives, as the Apple pricing scheme shows in the graphic above.

Samsung plans to begin volume production of the 512GB SSD next month.