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New standard announced for embedded solid state drives

Aug 9, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) announced a new standard for embedded solid state drives (SSDs). The SATA µSSD standard eliminates module connectors, allowing drives to be manufactured in single ball grid array (BGA) packages that sit directly on a motherboard, the organization says.

The µSSD (micro SSD) standard defines a new electrical pin-out that allows SATA to be delivered using a single ball grid array (BGA) package, the SATA-IO says. Such packages can sit directly on motherboards, making them "an ideal solution for embedding storage in small form factor devices," the organization adds.

The "physically smallest SATA implementation to date," µSSD is being supported by flash industry leaders including Samsung, SanDisk, and Toshiba, according to the SATA-IO. And, the organization adds, SanDisk is already utilizing the specification in its iSSD storage device.

SanDisk's iSSD

As we reported in August 2010 when it was introduced, SanDisk's iSSD (above and below) packs from 8GB to 128GB of storage, yet is smaller than a postage stamp and weighs less than a paper clip. The device uses a BGA form factor of just 0.78 x 0.62 x 0.09 inches (20mm x 16mm x 1.85mm), weighing as little as 0.02 ounces (0.83g), according to SanDisk.

When the iSSD was introduced, SanDisk cited sequential read speeds of 160MB/sec. and sequential writes of 100MB/sec. The company has now uprated these numbers to 450MB/sec. and 160MB/sec., respectively.

Mladen Luksic, SATA-IO's president, stated, "As tablets and other small computing devices continue to proliferate in the market, the need for scalable small form factor storage solutions rises exponentially. µSSD provides a new way to leverage the speed, reliability, and low power requirements of SATA technology in these types of products to enable powerful new computing platforms."

Scott Nelson, vice president of memory for Toshiba America Electronic Components, stated, "The µSSD specification will enable embedded storage applications to give designers greater design flexibility. Toshiba is pleased to support the development of this specification, which will help enable the continued evolution of thinner and smaller personal computing devices."

Formed in September 2004, SATA-IO describes itself as the international organization that owns and manages Serial ATA specifications as open industry standards. A listing of the company's many members can be found here.

Further information

While it appears that SATA-IO specifications may only be downloaded by the group's members, a summary of information about the SATA µSSD standard may be found on the organization's website. More information about the iSSD products may be found on the SanDisk website.

Jonathan Angel can be reached at [email protected] and followed at

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