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Stec revives 1in hard drive market

Solid state drive available from May

Stec has released details of its first 1in solid-state-drive suitable for ultra-mobile PCs, blade servers and small portable devices. Expected to go into production in May, the 32GB Mach4 NAND memory drive features four independent flash channels offering read times of 90MB per second (MBps) and write speeds of 55MBps.

The Mach4, which will be priced at $45 (£22.50), supports serial ATA and ATA interfaces and offers encryption, write-protect, data purge and power-down protection.

Pat Wilkinson, vice president of marketing and business development at Stec said the company expects to double the drive's capacity to 64GB by the second half of 2009.

Stec also hopes the use of solid-state technology will revive the dormant 1in drive industry. Manufacturers have abandoned mechanical 1in drive technology in recent years due to capacity and latency issues.

"The 1in hard disk drive category is truly dead," Wilkinson said. "But we think we've figured out a way breathe new life into that storage form factor."

In January, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies announced plans to phase out its 1in hard drive business to focus on development of 2.5 and 3.5in drives due to the growth of flash memory technology and declining demand for small hard drives.

John Rydning, an analyst at IDC, agreed that NAND flash memory doomed the future of 1in hard drives by providing more capacity, lower costs and an ability to better deal with shock and temperature extremes.

Wilkinson said Stec's Mach4 SSD will probably be embedded in OEM products by the end of the second quarter. Wilkinson refused to identify OEMs planning to resell the product.

Earlier this year, EMC corp unveiled a line of solid-state drives that offered Stec technology as a flash memory option.

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