Flash Memory to Speed Up Hard Drives

No more long waits for your PC to wake up. Longer laptop battery life. Data that survives a drop. These are the promises of solid-state-memory disks (SSDs), which use flash memory to supplement or replace today's hard drives.

Samsung is working on two types of products: pure SSDs and hybrid drives that combine traditional hard disks and flash memory. Pure SSDs give you all the benefits listed above but cost a lot more than today's drives. Hybrids will offer extended battery life and faster boot-ups, but should have only a small price premium (if any).

Gigabyte takes another approach: a PCI card with RAM that your system can use as a drive. The card should offer faster data access, plus energy savings, but it needs constant power to store your files.

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News source: PCWorld

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Call me crazy, and maybe I am wrong, but aren't flash drive speeds really slow? My SD card, compact flash card and USB memory stick are not exactly up to par with hard drive speeds. I would think this would bottleneck the system and end up more of a curse than a blessing. Am I wrong?

Well, yes and no. The hardware is limited by the interface bus. However, the hardware IS also slow. The fastest (that I know of) compact flash is 80x which only runs at 12MB/s (that is reading, writing is even slower). Nowhere near the 150MB/s of a SATA HD. So, yes it is limited by the bus, but it doesn't matter much because it's still way too slow.