Samsung unveils SSD with DDR NAND

While most SSD makers are falling over themselves to get a slice of Sandforce silicon, Samsung has taken a different approach with its latest SSD. The new drive instead takes advantage of a new type of NAND flash memory, along with a newly-designed controller.

Samsung's 512GB SSD is the first drive to use toggle-mode DDR NAND chips, which Samsung started producing in November 2009. The 30nm asynchronous NAND chips are based on multi-level cell (MLC) technology and hold 32Gb (4GB) each, so you'll find 128 of them packed into a 512GB drive.

With the new memory in place, Samsung says that the drive is capable of sequential read speeds of 250MB/sec, and a sequential write speed of 220MB/sec.

The company points out that this is three times the speed of a typical hard drive, although the speeds also fall short of those boasted by drives based on Sandforce controllers. For example, Corsair says that its Force range of SSDs can perform sequential reads at 285MB/sec and writes at 275MB/sec,

However, the speeds claimed by manufacturers should always be approached sceptically, so it's worth waiting to see how the drive fares in independent benchmarks.

As well as the new memory, Samsung has also developed a new low-power controller specifically for the drive, ensuring that the toggle mode memory doesn't increase the power consumption. Samsung claims that its new drive uses no more power than a 256GB SSD based on standard 40nm 16Gb NAND chips.

In addition to this, Samsung says the controller is capable of analysing how you use your laptop, and then activating a low-power mode that "can extend a notebook's battery life for an hour or more."

Samsung says that the new SSDs are targeted at "premium laptops," and no pricing has been revealed yet. However, we'd be surprised if the drives didn't cost the best part of a grand. Volume production of the drive kicks off next month, so you can expect to see it popping up at retailers shortly.