One of the key elements that allowed Apple to make the new MacBook Air so slim was the elimination of traditional drive packaging for the solid-state drive (SSD). Rather than installing the flash memory in a case that could be installed in place of a spinning drive, the SSD looks like an old-school DRAM stick with exposed chips and the interface contacts along one end.
Toshiba is now offering these blade-type SSDs in the aftermarket in the same 64, 128, and 256GB sizes found in the 11- and 13-inch Airs. They even have the same part number as the originals, indicating that Toshiba may be the OEM supplier. Apple has designed the Air to try and prevent end-user serviceability, but if you can find a five-point Torx screwdriver, you can perform a drive upgrade.
It's not yet known if the 256GB drive will fit into the 11-inch Air (a combination not offered by Apple) since the largest stick is marginally thicker than the other two parts. There's no word on pricing or availability, but it seems likely that we'll soon see computers from other manufacturers using these parts as well.
In the meantime, PhotoFast has also produced a SSD upgrade kit for the MacBook Air that boosts internal storage to 256GB and turns the machine's original 64GB drive into a USB 3.0 device.
At a Thickness of 2.2mm, the 128GB Module is 42 Percent Thinner than the Typical mSATA Form Factor
IRVINE, Calif., and TOKYO, Nov. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Toshiba Corp. (Toshiba) and Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC)* today announced the Blade X-gale™ SSD series, an innovative new form factor in high capacity, high performance solid-state storage. Available now, the new drives are offered in capacities of 64-gigabyte (GB) (1), 128GB and 256GB, with a maximum sequential read speed of 220MB per second (MB/s) (2) and a maximum sequential write speed of 180MB/s. Ideally suited for integration into space-sensitive products, including tablet PCs, laptops, mini-mobile and netbook PCs, Toshiba's latest SSD offering helps these devices achieve a super slim profile.
"Delivering a product that enables superior user experience in a smaller footprint is the ultimate goal," noted Scott Nelson, vice president, Memory Business Unit, Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. "The density of MLC NAND enables the creation of smaller form factor high density storage solutions, and Toshiba, as the technology leader for NAND storage solutions, will continue to innovate in this space."
As mobile devices get smaller and lighter, yet even more feature packed than ever, the SSDs inside them – the heart of storing all of the music and other entertainment data – must be even smaller, and much thinner. Toshiba's new 64GB and 128GB Blade X-gale SSDs are the thinnest available within the company's comprehensive portfolio of SSD solutions. At a thickness of 2.2mm, the modules are 42 percent thinner than that of a typical mSATA SSD, and Toshiba's advanced wiring technology has assured optimized wiring layouts and data transfer rates in this new form factor. Thanks to Toshiba's base design technology that minimizes board warpage during thinning, 256GB capacity can be achieved when mounted on both sides, the largest density in the industry for small type SSD modules. Toshiba also offers designers a choice of mSATA and Half-Slim SSD modules in capacities up to 128GB.
"Until recently, storage designers looking for high capacity storage had accommodated the size of HDD into their designs," continued Nelson. "Up to this point, SSD designs also followed the basic design of small form factor HDD - which does not fully leverage the capabilities of high density NAND technology. Toshiba's module-based SSDs break with this approach, giving hardware designers greater freedom and flexibility in enabling their product design."
Toshiba will continue to promote innovations that widen the horizons of the NAND Flash market and support the company's continued leadership in that market. As such, Toshiba will generate demand for SSDs in notebook PCs, netbooks, laptops, and digital consumer products by enhancing its line-up, offering products with various densities and interfaces in a range of packages - while also advancing device performance. For more information on Toshiba SSDs, please visit ssd.toshiba.com.
Features of the new product
SATA 2.6 (3Gbps)
Maximum Speed 220MB/s (sequential mode)
Maximum Speed 180MB/s (sequential mode)
Width: 24.0 mm
Height: 2.2 mm
Length: 108.9 mm
1 million hours
(*) The MTTF (Mean Time to Failure) is not a guarantee or estimate of product life; it is a statistical value related to mean failure rates for a large number of products which may not accurately reflect actual operation. Actual operating life of the product may not resemble the MTTF.
*About Toshiba Corp. and TAEC
Through proven commitment, lasting relationships and advanced, reliable electronic components, Toshiba enables its customers to create market-leading designs. Toshiba is the heartbeat within product breakthroughs from OEMs, ODMs, CMs, distributors and fabless chip companies worldwide. A committed electronic components leader, Toshiba designs and manufactures high-quality flash memory -based storage solutions, discrete devices, displays, advanced materials, medical tubes, custom SoCs/ASICs, digital multimedia and imaging products, microcontrollers and wireless components that make possible today's leading cell phones, MP3 players, cameras, medical devices, automotive electronics and more.
Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. is an independent operating company owned by Toshiba America, Inc., a subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation, Japan's largest semiconductor manufacturer and the world's third largest semiconductor manufacturer (Gartner, 2009 WW Semiconductor Revenue, April 2010). For additional company information, please visit www.toshiba.com/taec. For more information on Toshiba memory products, please visit www.memory.toshiba.com.
(1) Product density is identified based on the maximum density of memory chip(s) within the Product, not the amount of memory capacity available for data storage by the end user. Consumer-usable capacity will be less due to overhead data areas, formatting, bad blocks, and other constraints, and may also vary based on the host device and application.
(2) Maximum read and write speed may vary depending on the host device, read and write conditions, and file size. For purposes of measuring read and write speed in this context, 1 megabyte or MB = 1,000,000 bytes.
Information in this press release, including product pricing and specifications, content of services and contact information, is current and believed to be accurate on the date of the announcement, but is subject to change without prior notice. Technical and application information contained here is subject to the most recent applicable Toshiba product specifications. In developing designs, please ensure that Toshiba products are used within specified operating ranges as set forth in the most recent Toshiba product specifications and the information set forth in Toshiba's "Handling Guide for Semiconductor Devices," or "Toshiba Semiconductor Reliability Handbook." This information is available at www.chips.toshiba.com, or from your TAEC representative.
SOURCE Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc.