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Samsung develops flash-based disk

Disks will have a capacity of up to 16GB; first disks will target sub-notebooks and tablet PCs. Photo: Samsung's solid-state disk

Flash memory maker Samsung is trying to drive a new kind of disk for PCs.

The company announced Monday that it has developed a "solid-state disk" using flash memory for PCs, which traditionally have used hard drives. The 1.8-inch NAND flash-based disks, which will be available in August, will have a capacity of up to 16GB. The first disks will target sub-notebooks and tablet PCs.

Pricing hasn't been announced yet.

Samsung disk

The move to a flash-based disk comes as Samsung, a leader in the flash memory market, tries to double the density of flash memory year by year while driving down cost and increasing the number of markets it can sell flash memory into. The company has been trying to expand the reach of its flash memory business. One target is the consumer electronics market, which is a high-volume but low-margin business. Reaching high densities and volumes of flash memory chips will help to lower costs and make it more feasible to include them in more electronics devices.

The company said the solid state disk is made up of 8-gigabit chips and consumes power at a rate of less than 5 percent of current hard-disk drives. The challenge is to offer capacities in the same range of current mobile hard drives, such as those used in Apple Computer's popular iPod music players, which currently top out at 60GB.

The solid-state disks also weigh less than half of what comparably sized hard drives weigh, according to Samsung. Solid-state disks also don't use moving parts, making them less prone to skipping and also allowing them to be nearly silent.

The disks will read data at 57MB per second (megabytes per second) and write at 32MB per second, according to Samsung.

The disks will also come with a hard-drive style interface, making it easier for manufacturers to use them in PCs.