Samsung announces 32 GB flash memory drive.

Samsung 32 GB solid state hard drive

Samsung have announced their new 32 GB solid state hard drive. For those of you who don’t know (and for my Mum who reads all these coolest-gadget articles), a solid state drive uses “flash memory” instead of electro-mechanical parts, which are much slower.

Last year, Samsung launched a 16 GB solid state drive (shown here), which was too expensive and didn’t provide enough storage space to be a realistic prospect for most people. Now that they’ve doubled the storage capacity, things are getting more interesting.

The 2.5” solid state device is a straight replacement for a conventional disk drive, using a standard 66 MHz Ultra DMA connection. There are so many advantages with a solid state hard disk though, not least greatly improved speed and power consumption. Also, because they have no moving parts, they’re noise-free, lighter, and more robust than a normal hard drive.

Specifically, Samsung claim that their drive reads data 3 times faster, weighs half as much, and uses only 5% of the power compared with a normal disk drive.

That’s the good news; the bad news is the cost: $900 per unit, but Samsung expects that to fall as the drive enters mass production. Even at this price, the power consumption and heat savings alone make the flash drive attractive for top of the range laptops. Windows Vista already includes supports for bootable flash disks, and this is one gadget that’s definitively going to take off!