CES 2009: SanDisk

Memory maker SanDisk showed off a few new things this year, most interestingly its third generation SSD technology. It received an award for its second generation SSD technology, too. We’d be in error to omit the release of its strange new PMP, too. ThinkComputers checks it out.

Flash cards

SanDisk is really pushing its microSDHC and MSM for phones this year. Most mid-level and higher phones have either microSDHC or MSM slots for video, audio, and data storage. The Mobile Ultra series includes not only the Flash card, but a USB adapter so it can be easily used in a computer. The standard series has the same cards, but lacks the USB adapter.

CES 2009: SanDisk

SanDisk showed off a Rock Band branded SD card for Wii, as well. It had a huge booth this year, and had folks playing Rock Band for prizes.

CES 2009: SanDisk

Sansa and slotRadio

The Sansa View (8-32 GB), Fuze (2-8 GB), and Clip (1-8 GB) have been out for a little while, but SanDisk’s new slotMusic and slotRadio initiative is puzzling. These slotMusic players lack a display, while slotRadio has one, and can only be advanced through the playlist. These cards apparently won’t permit copying or viewing from the card when plugged into a computer.

slotRadio cards contain 1,000 songs pre-programmed in music playlists for unlimited playback with slotRadio-compatible devices only…Much like radio, these songs are played in sequence and cannot be rewound or rearranged, yet in slotRadio, individual tracks can be skipped as often as you want. Song and playlist files cannot be copied or viewed (for example, on a PC).

This seems strange and unnecessary, really, when someone could simply purchase one of the aforementioned players and download music from the Internet. These devices use microSDHC and have no on-board Flash storage, so at least they’re compact.

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SanDisk’s new third generation SSDs are quite speedy. SanDisk came up with a metric which compares the speed of SSDs to the speed of platter hard drives: virtual RPMs, or vRPM. For instance, while a standard hard drive spins its platters at 7,200 RPM (up to 15,000 RPM for high end drives), the SSD, if it had platters to spin, would be spinning at 40,000 RPM. SanDisk designates this 40,000 vRPM. vRPM is calculated by dividing 50 by the sum of 0.5 divided by the write IOPs speed and 0.5 divided by the read IOPs speed, or (50 / ((0.5 / writeIOPs) + (0.5 / readIOPs))).

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SanDisk showed this formula and some comparisons in its press kit. The 2006/2007 generation of SSDs from SanDisk scored 1,000 vRPMs, the 2008 generation was 10,000 vRPMs, and the 2009 generation, as prior mentioned, is 40,000 vRPM. That’s quite a jump, folks, even for a synthetic metric. If you would like to see the documentation on vRPM, email me and I’ll check with SanDisk to make sure we’re allowed to pass it on.

The 2009 SSDs start at 60 GB up to 240 GB, and will start at $149. They should be available within Q1.
The pSSD is SanDisk’s PATA SSD meant for netbooks. SanDisk showed a variety of units using SanDisk pSSDs. It won an award for both pSSD and slotMusic.

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