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Price of 64GB flash disk drive to plummet

Computex 2006 Less than a bag of sand
Fri Jun 09 2006, 13:14
PQI, WHICH IS showing an engineering sample of a 64GB flash-based hard disk drive at Computex says the price for the expensive, but desirable, storage devices could fall below $1000 before the end of this year. "It depends on the chip price, but maybe it can get below $1000 this year" said Bob Chiu of PQI's Disk on Module sales dept. A competitor confirmed that such a precipitous fall in price was a possibility.

While $1000 for a 64GB disk drive sounds a bit steep, the 2.5-inch flash based drives have some unique features, like ultra-low power consumption, 1000G shock resistance, and low weight. For the ordinary consumer this will translate into future notebook PCs with much longer battery life, lower weight, and greater durability. Prices are currently exorbitant, with a 32GB drive, half the 64GB promised by PQI, selling for $1700. So to get prices below $1000 as fast as PQI predicts would be a tremendous improvement, and a sign of much lower prices to come.

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Samsung predicts that flash prices, which are 95 percent of the cost of these devices will fall 40 percent per year. The flash chip maker expects (or at least, hopes) that 20 per cent of all hard drives will be flash-based within three years, Chiu said.

Apacer is already selling a similar 32GB flash drive for $1700. The kind of dramatic price fall predicted by PQI is "possible if you're able to order chips in very large quantities," said Vincent Hsu, a sales specialist with competing flash device maker, Apacer.

Not everything about the drives is perfect, the manufacturers admit. Data transfer speed is acceptable for current customers, who care most about reliability, but it could do with serious improvement if these flash drives are to replace traditional notebook hard drives. PQI claims a sustained read speed of 'up to' 15MB per second, and write speed of 13MB per second for its 64GB device. This is significantly slower than traditional hard drives. µ

 

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