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Toshiba unveils ultra-slim SSDs

Toshiba unveils ultra-slim SSDs

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.

12 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Hawkest 8th November 2010, 16:47 Quote
i wonder if motherboard manufacturers will take this on and implement something to alow one of these to be plugged direct to the motherboard for the OS to be installed direct to
Tyinsar 8th November 2010, 18:33 Quote
I'm guessing the pricing is going to be very high but I could see this on Mini-ITX or, even more likely, on Pico-ITX boards.
TWeaK 8th November 2010, 19:01 Quote
This isn't actually good for the consumer, IMO. All it will lead to is less upgradeable laptops, where you can't increase the storage later down the line. Do we really want to get stuck with a proprietary standard SSD in a laptop when the technology is advancing so rapidly?
StudioRecorder 8th November 2010, 19:25 Quote
erm, doesnt the macbook air have the storage chips soldered directly onto the motherboard, not on pcb's that are still seperate jsut smaller ?
cgthomas 8th November 2010, 20:22 Quote
But eh.... can it play.....
f*ck it ..............whatever
jrs77 8th November 2010, 20:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioRecorder
erm, doesnt the macbook air have the storage chips soldered directly onto the motherboard, not on pcb's that are still seperate jsut smaller ?

The Macbook Air has the RAM soldered to the board. The SSD has a mini-SATA-connection and is exactly the same part as shown in the picture and is removable.
r4tch3t 8th November 2010, 22:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkest
i wonder if motherboard manufacturers will take this on and implement something to alow one of these to be plugged direct to the motherboard for the OS to be installed direct to
They had a compact flash card that plugged straight into the IDE connector (With the associated problems with using a flash card for storage.) So I could definately see them bringing out a SATA version, although the SATA connector may not be strong enough to hold it on it's own.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK
This isn't actually good for the consumer, IMO. All it will lead to is less upgradeable laptops, where you can't increase the storage later down the line. Do we really want to get stuck with a proprietary standard SSD in a laptop when the technology is advancing so rapidly?
this is unlikely, the area where these would be used is the ultra portable market and netbooks, both tend to use proprietary solutions anyway so this could become a new standard which is better for consumers.
Cthippo 9th November 2010, 05:59 Quote
I had to double-check the headline. At first I thought it was an article about RAM
Quote:
Originally Posted by r4tch3t
They had a compact flash card that plugged straight into the IDE connector (With the associated problems with using a flash card for storage.) So I could definately see them bringing out a SATA version, although the SATA connector may not be strong enough to hold it on it's own.

Some of the uATX boards have a CF slot built into the motherboard for a boot drive. I use a CF card in an IDE adapter as the OS drive for my fileserver and it works beautifully.
perplekks45 9th November 2010, 08:14 Quote
Will have to find a proper review of this thing. This sounds interesting...
l3v1ck 9th November 2010, 11:10 Quote
Sounds good. 2.5" laptop drives are a terrible bottleneck, the sooner they are replaced with SSD's the better.
As soon as my laptop is out of warranty, I'm cloning the HDD to an SSD.
lacuna 9th November 2010, 12:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK
This isn't actually good for the consumer, IMO. All it will lead to is less upgradeable laptops, where you can't increase the storage later down the line. Do we really want to get stuck with a proprietary standard SSD in a laptop when the technology is advancing so rapidly?

nah, my 30gb Toshiba satelite is 7 and a half years old now and still going. The battery doesn't last long enough to load windows but its always plugged in anyway so no problem
Fabou 9th November 2010, 16:37 Quote
Dude It hought this was some ram
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