Toshiba hopes for 512 GB SSD by end of 2009


Toshibassd128gbIt’s no secret why the adoption rate of Solid State Disk drives is plodding along slower than a Commodore 64 trying to display multitudes of sprites on the same screen. There’s two main reasons: high price and low capacity. Actually, if you combine them you get one reason: the price per GB is several factors higher when compared to traditional magnetic hard drives.News of out Toshiba via Electronista addresses that issue: the electronics giant expects to offer a 512 GB SSD drive by the end of 2009. They’re on the right path as their 128 GB SSD unit should be appearing in the next few months. The best news from all this is that they expect to reduce SSD prices by 40 to 50% a year, which helps that price per GB ratio tremendously. Applying 40% to a 64 GB drive that cost about a grand last year means that same drive might run you $360 next year. Still a relatively high cost, but it’s a dramatic drop.



Huh? The C64 was notorious for its graphics power at displaying multiple sprites simultaneously! Ah, the days of Flight Simulator and Karateka…


Here is a summary of current retail pricing to illustrate Kevin’s point regarding cost per gigabyte of storage. 2.5″ hard drives are 4X cheaper per GB than 1.8″ drives and are now the standard form factor in sub-notebooks. UDMA CF cards are already cheaper than SSDs and continue to drop in price as new generations are introduced. It makes sense for small handheld devices to migrate to Compact Flash for primary storage as 16GB and 32GB high speed CF cards are introduced and prices continue to decline.

~$0.5/GB – 320GB 2.5″ HDD
~$2/GB – 120GB 1.8″ HDD
~$5/GB – 32GB 133X CF
~$11/GB – 8GB 266X UDMA CF
~$15/GB – 32GB 1.8″ SSD
~$18/GB – 64GB 1.8″ SSD


One of the primary factors driving over 30 years of IC adoption is continued price decline as newer, better products are introduced. While larger SSDs are always on the horizon, prices aren’t dropping significantly for older, smaller capacity drives. As a result, the mass market is not adopting older technology and there is very little momentum to propel demand for new products. Interestingly, CF and SD cards have followed the traditional IC model of introducing new technologies at the old price point while older technologies drop in value over time. UDMA CF cards are now approaching SSD access rates, and within a few technology cycles will offer enough capacity to provide high speed solid state storage on handheld devices.


The problem with these large drives is that in order to get that capacity, they have to switch from very very fast single-level cell (SLC) flash chips to much much slower multi-level cell (MLC) chips. They have considerably slower write speeds, and even SLC SSDs already have slowness issues with random writes, I can’t imagine how slow MLC SSDs would be in that respect. They had better be able to come up with some kind of magic-bullet solution to this problem if they want MLC SSDs to be usuable, especially in the server enviornment.

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