Like anything hyped to death and hugely desirable, it hasn't taken long for the naysayers to start rounding on SSD with price, reliability and capacity the favourite topics at the moment. Against this we have the format's pure raw performance and the latest breakthrough from SanDisk may boost it to such an extent we simply won't care about anything else…
Announced by the NAND giant this week is ‘ExtremeFFS', a new Flash file system which SanDisk claims will eradicate about the only bottleneck in SSD performance.
Working by untying the logical location of data on a drive to its physical space, ExtremeFFS instead writes dynamically positioning data where it would prove most efficient according to each individual user's habits. Sounds good in theory, but just how much difference will it make?
According to SanDisk random write speeds should be boosted by 100x - yep you read that right - while SSD reliability will increase since the units will dramatically reduce their current tendency to write information to the same areas which quickly destroys cells.
Availability? Well, you'll be rather chuffed to know this isn't Sci-Fi talk for once with SanDisk saying the first ExtremeFFS SSDs will ship in 2009 - though quite when was left up in the air.
Interestingly, SanDisk is also looking to promote the idea of performance and reliability standards to make the somewhat flaky SSD industry more creditable in the eyes of consumers. Two standards are being proposed: vRPM (Virtual RPM) which attempts to draw straight comparisons with the HDD market and LTE (Long-Term Data Endurance) which would measure the number of writes an SSD can take before failure - an obvious contender to HDD's MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure).
Naturally, as with all good ideas, vRPM and LTE (which is uncomfortably close to ‘Long Term Evolution' - the HSDPA successor) will have to garner widespread industry acceptance for rivals. So, while commendable, don't expect universal agreement anytime soon.
Still, we have to start somewhere…