Tiny startup boasts of super-fast SSD drive

Mtronstorage to sell SSD drive based on the SATA II interface.

Korean startup Mtronstorage has become the latest vendor to announce an SSD drive based on the SATA II interface, hot on the heels of larger rivals.

As with the Samsung SSD (solid state disk) drive, announced this week, Mtron's product combines higher-performance SATA II with the diminutive 1.8 inch drive format, making it smaller as well as faster than 2.5 inch SATA 1 equivalents that have been around for some time.

The most notable feature is still performance. At 128GB, the Mtron has higher capacity, but the read/write performance of 120Mbytes per/s on writes, and 100Mbytes/s on reads is way above levels found on older SSD drive designs.

Based on Single Level Cell (SLC) flash technology, the Mtron drive will only make it to market as an OEM product, where it might turn up in the Spring as an expensive option on laptops. The company already has a range of drives based on the lower-cost but less durable Multi Level Cell (MLC) NAND technology.

"Our new product is a result of careful market analysis and research for consumer needs, and we will launch our new product in April so that we can satisfy their need for high performance SSD products," said Mtron's CEO, Steve Jeon.

New products such as Mtron's will give a boost to a market that some vendors, notably Seagate, reckon could take time to take off. In October, the company announced a version of its Momentus laptop drive with a small amount of onboard SSD as a way of gaining the low price and reliability of a conventional hard disk, with the performance boost of SSD NAND flash. However, the amount of flash memory is tiny compared to all-SSD drives - less than 1GB - and the performance is directed towards improving things such as cache and booting.

Mtron was founded in 2005, largely funded by Korean technology giant Hyundai.

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John E. Dunn

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