Toshiba's Blade X-gale SSDs measure just 2.2mm thick, as seen in the svelte MacBook Air.
Toshiba has unveiled its latest SSD creation, but these ones aren't aimed at the retail market: at 2.2mm thick, Toshiba hopes that OEMs will be using them in ultra-thin laptop and netbook designs instead.
The Toshiba Blade X-gale series was originally developed by the company for Apple's latest MacBook Air line of ultra-portable laptops, but will now be made available to all to incorporate into their designs.
Scott Nelson, vice president of Toshiba's memory business unit, claims that "delivering a product that enables superior user experience in a smaller footprint is the ultimate goal, and the density of MLC NAND enables the creation of smaller form factor high density storage solutions."
The Blade X-gale series is certainly small: measuring 2.2mm at its thickest point, Toshiba claims it's around 42 percent thinner than most mSATA storage devices out there, although the size does increase as the storage capacity goes up.
The Blade X-gale series will be offered in three sizes initially: single-sided modules in 64GB and 128GB capacities, which hit the 2.2mm thickness barrier, and a double-sided 256GB module which measures 3.7mm. Both types are 24mm wide and 108.9mm long.
Toshiba's announcement explains why the 11in MacBook Air will only manage 128GB of storage, while the 13in model can stretch to 256GB: a simple lack of room inside the svelte casing of the smaller build.
Nelson believes that the module-based format offers system builders new options in their designs: "Up to this point, SSD designs also followed the basic design of small form factor HDD - which does not fully leverage the capabilities of high density NAND technology. Toshiba's module-based SSDs break with this approach, giving hardware designers greater freedom and flexibility in enabling their product design," he stated.
The modules offer SATA 3.0Gb/s connectivity, and maximum speeds of 220MB/s sequential read and 180MB/s sequential write, and weigh a mere 9.8g to 13.2g depending on the size selected. So far Toshiba hasn't offered any indication as to pricing.
Are you pleased to see some innovative SSD designs coming out, or will you only celebrate when a company other than Apple uses Toshiba's latest creations in an ultra-thin design? Share your thoughts over in the forums