Toshiba to mass produce flash drives

Only for itself at first

Just as it has done with hard drives Toshiba is to mass produce multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash drives for its own use.

This use was revealed yesterday in its Dynabook SS RX. The first drives will be 128GB MLC NAND  models and they will appear in Toshiba notebooks and small-form factor mobile PCs. Supply to customers outside Toshiba could follow.

Scott Nelson, memory VP at Toshiba America Electronic Components, said: “Our first customer for these drives will be the PC Division of Toshiba Corp., in Japan, which will be the first to feature a 128GB SSD in a notebook PC2.”

The drives have a 100MB/second read and 40MB/second write speed, a SATA II 3Gbit/s interface and a controller that supports wear-leveling. They are better performing than 5400 and 7200rpm hard drives. Toshiba says they ‘excel’ in booting Windows Vista and loading applications. Virus scanning is also faster, for which users will be very grateful.

The drives are silent in operation, lighter than hard drives, more robust and draw less power.

The drives will come in both 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch enclosures and are first generation products. A 64GB model is also available. We might expect 256GB models towards the end of next year and 512GB ones in the 2011 timeframe.

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