Samsung Dismisses SSD Reliability Concerns

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There is some potential confusion about the reliability of Solid State Drives (SSD) like the one available in the new MacBook Air, according to Samsung. The company also discussed future storage capacities and pricing.

The concern that has been expressed is that NAND flash memory can, electrically, wear out after about 100,000 write cycles. However, in a C|Net article posted by Brooke Crothers, Samsungis Michael Yang added clarification to that tidbit.

For example, if a Flash drive is rated at 100,000 writes, that means it can write ""to every single cell within the device," Mr. Yang said. Because writes to the disk are typically only to a small section of the storage, not every cell is written to on every write sequence. The controller actively engages in "wear leveling" Mr. Wang added.

This makes it almost impossible to "wear out" the SSD.

In Q3, 2008 Samsung is planning to introduce a 128 GB SSD, but they see even larger capacities, up to 256 GB before the end of 2008. In terms of cost, SSDs are expected to drop in price 35 to 45 percent a year. Right now, the 64 GB SSD option in the MacBook Air adds US$900 to the cost.

It wonit be long before the SSDs are price competitive with HHDs, and that has the attention of financial services companies like CitiBank and American Express whose server farms conduct massive transactions every day. Their extensive adoption, along with other enterprise companies, could drive those SSD prices down to just about where all the MacBook computer users would like them to be, namely, negligible.

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