Samsung starts making first PCIe SSD for Ultrabooks

Solid-state drives are so speedy these days that even a SATA interface might not have the bandwidth to cope. It's a good thing that Samsung has started mass-producing the first PCI Express-based SSDs for Ultrabooks, then. The new XP941 series uses PCIe's wider data path to read at nearly 1.4GB/s -- that's 2.5 times faster than the quickest SATA SSDs, and nimble enough to move 500GB in six minutes. It also ships in a tinier M.2 format that makes past card-based SSDs look gargantuan, even when there's up to 512GB of storage. Samsung hasn't named laptop makers receiving the XP941, although it doesn't take strong deductive skills to spot one of the (probable) first customers. When Apple is shipping a new 13-inch MacBook Air that just happens to use a very similar PCIe SSD from Samsung, there's likely more than coincidence at work.

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Samsung Now Mass Producing Industry's First PCI-Express SSD for Ultra-slim Notebook PCs

SEOUL, Korea – June 17, 2013 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, announced today that it has begun mass producing the industry's first PCI-Express (PCIe) solid state drive (SSD) for next-generation ultra-slim notebook PCs.

"With the Samsung XP941, we have become the first to provide the highest performance PCIe SSD to global PC makers so that they can launch leading-edge ultra-slim notebook PCs this year," said Young-Hyun Jun, executive vice president, memory sales & marketing, Samsung Electronics. "Samsung plans to continue timely delivery of the most advanced PCIe SSD solutions with higher density and performance, and support global IT companies providing an extremely robust computing environment to consumers."

Samsung started providing the new SSD to major notebook PC makers earlier this quarter. The XP941 lineup consists of 512, 256 and 128GB SSDs.

The new Samsung XP941 delivers a level of performance that easily surpasses the speed limit of a SATA 6Gb/s interface. Samsung XP941 enables a sequential read performance of 1,400MB/s (megabytes per second), which is the highest performance available with a PCIe 2.0 interface. This allows the drive to read 500GB of data or 100 HD movies as large as 5GB (gigabytes) in only six minutes, or 10 HD movies at 5GB in 36 seconds. That is approximately seven times faster than a hard disk drive (which would need over 40 minutes for the same task), and more than 2.5 times faster than the fastest SATA SSD.

By mass producing the new PCIe SSD, Samsung has established the groundwork for a significant transition into the new paradigm in the global SSD market which enables increasing the performance and the memory storage capacity of SSDs at the same time.

The XP941 comes in the new M.2 form factor (80mm x 22mm), weighing approximately six grams – about a ninth of the 54 grams of a SATA-based 2.5 inch SSD. Also, the XP941's volume is about a seventh of that of a 2.5 inch SSD, freeing up more space for the notebook's battery and therein providing the opportunity for increased mobility that will enhance user convenience.

Samsung intends to continuously expand its production volumes of high-performance 10-nanometer class* NAND flash memory, in helping the company to maintain its lead in PCIe SSDs for ultra-slim PCs and notebook PCs. Furthermore, Samsung plans to introduce next-generation enterprise NVMe SSDs in a timely manner to also take the lead in that high-density SSD market, adding to its competitive edge.