A flash memory-based drive that will help users take advantage of features in Windows Vista to increase PC performance is being developed by Samsung.
The drive is packed with 4GB of flash memory – data storage chips that work faster than current hard drives and can hold information with the power turned off. Coupled with Vista's ReadyBoost feature, which allows flash memory to be used for storage of information that would otherwise be written to the hard disk, it means programs should be much more responsive than is currently the case with Windows XP, Samsung said.
The technology is one of several that Microsoft is building into Windows Vista to increase system responsiveness and eliminate annoying waits that are forced on users when programs are starting.
Among the others are ReadyDrive, in which flash memory is added to hard drives to act as a temporary memory cache. Doing so means lower power consumption and a faster wake-up from sleep mode. Another technology, SuperFetch, anticipates what programs and documents might be required next and pre-loads them so that they start faster when called by the user.
Earlier this year Samsung unveiled a prototype hybrid disk drive for the ReadyDrive technology. The drive, two versions of which were shown at Microsoft's WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) in Seattle in May, had 128MB or 256MB of flash memory.
Windows Vista is currently in beta testing and is expected to be released to some corporate customers in the fourth quarter of this year and to consumers in early 2007. Samsung didn't announce release plans for its flash drive but said it is preparing to begin production.