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Micron Blog

Netbooks: A New Frontier for Solid State Drives, If Done Right

The industry is ablaze with talk of high-performance SSD solutions like PCIe and SAS for enterprise and even traditional notebook applications, but we shouldn’t forget about one of the best and most interesting opportunities for the SSD--netbooks. And sure, netbook SSDs don’t deliver mind-blowing performance, like 100k IOPs, but--if done right, they should be on par with some of today’s standard notebook SSDs--of course at a cost and density point that makes sense for a netbook. Why bring this up? Seems obvious, right? Well, recently there’s been a handful of netbook SSDs introduced to the market, and from what I’ve seen, the performance isn’t all that great. And while everyone recognizes that there are trade-offs in these things, the performance for these devices shouldn’t be sacrificed wholesale for cost—regardless of the usage scenario. It can be done right. We saw this happening a few years back when SSDs were first introduced to market. Companies were hastily throwing together SSDs to claim their stance in the market, but the end-result of these first-generation SSDs ultimately tarnished the early reputation of this promising technology. So I have decided to outline some important design metrics for netbook SSDs to be successful: 1.    Don’t use CompactFlash technology for a netbook SSD. CompactFlash is not designed to be used as a storage device to run an operating system. 2.    Keep the price point below that of a hard drive. Well below. 3.    Toss the SSD enclosure. This will reduce manufacturing costs and will make it lighter as well. 4.    Make the drive large enough to install Windows XP. It need to be at least 16 gigabytes or greater. And here’s how I’ll end my post -- netbooks have become a significant volume driver in the notebook market and are estimated to continue to grow to about 15–20% of the total notebook market.  From an SSD point of view they are even more interesting because a large percentage of netbooks use an SSD.  This market is just too large for an SSD supplier to ignore
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