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Toshiba Unveils 256 GB Drives for 'Netbooks'

Toshiba Corp. (Tokyo: 6502) this week said it plans to begin mass production of a 256 GB solid-state drive for mainstream notebook PCs in the fourth quarter.

In addition, Toshiba unveiled late Thursday lower capacity NAND flash devices for smaller notebooks, including the new category of mini-notebooks. The smaller modules will be available in 8 GB, 16 GB, and 32 GB densities, and are expected to be available in volume by the end of the year.

The 2.5-inch, 256 GB SSD has a maximum read speed of 120 MB per second and a maximum write speed of 70 MBps. The drive uses a SATA 3.0 Gbps interface. The modules for lightweight, ultra-portable notebooks offer maximum read and write speeds of 80 MB and 50 MB per second, respectively.
Samples of the new products are available. Toshiba competitors include Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Samsung Corp. , and Micron Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MU).

Computer makers are increasingly offering notebooks with SSDs as an alternative to traditional hard-disk drives. While HDDs are far less expensive, SSDs are lighter, more reliable, and faster, according to proponents. The drives also are more rugged because they don't have any moving parts.

For computer makers, SSDs carry higher margins than HDDs. Prices for SSDs, however, have been dropping, which could position them to play a bigger role notebooks, desktops and data centers in the future.

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