SanDisk is introducing its second generation of low cost solid state disks for netbooks today. The pSSD P2 and S2 SSDs offer vRPM (virtual revolutions per minute) of around 9,000 which makes them almost twice as fast as a 5400RPM hard drive. SanDisk’s SSDs also use a new technology called nCache which allocates up to 320MB of disk space for caching random write commands in order to offer faster, more reliable performance.
When the first netbooks with solid state disks hit the market in 2007, a lot of people expected them to be blazing fast machines due to the SSDs. But they weren’t, because as it turns out not all SSDs are created equal. There are high end solid state disks that offer vRPM speeds in excess of 40,000 and there are cheap disks that offer less than 1,000 vRPM (like the first generation pSSD disks that SanDisk launched in 2008).
All SSDs have a few advantages over hard disks, like the lack of moving parts which helps prevent damage in the event of a fall, and which helps computers run cooler and quieter. But if you want a super fast SSD you typically have to pay more for it.
SanDisk’s new line of netbook SSDs are actually cheaper to produce than the first generation of pSSD chips, but it’s too early to say how much they’ll wind up costing. SanDisk is hoping to see these modules used in new low cost netbooks offered by telecoms with ARM processors and Linux operating systems, and envisions these machines running as low as $199. But the pSSD P2 and S2 can also be used in higher end machines running Windows XP or Windows 7.
The new modules come in 8, 16, 32, and 64GB capacities, and are shipping today. SanDisk is primarily targeting the new chips at OEMs. While the company isn’t ready to make any announcements yet, I get the feeling that there are already at least a few companies building products around the new SSDs.
Update: The press release is online now.