CES 2009: Kingston enters SSD market

Kingston, the memory manufacturer, has finally entered the nascent SSD market with two drives that it claimed are the best performing on the market.

The two new drives are the SSDNow E Series and the SSDnow M Series and are based on Intel's SSD designs. The E series is a 32GB drive based on the fast single level cell (SLC) technology aimed at the enterprise market, where fast IOPS (Input/Output Per Second) is required. Kingston said it can deliver read speeds of 250MB/sec and write speeds of 170MB/sec.

The M series drive is based on the cheaper MLC tech and, while read speeds are the same as its sibling at 250MB/sec, write speeds are limited to 70MB/sec.

The difference between the two is reflected in the price, with the 32GB E series drive (SNE125-S2/32GB) costing 591 excluding VAT, and the 80GB M-Series drive (SNM125-S2/80GB) costing 433.98 excluding VAT.

"We did a lot of research before entering the [SSD] market," Jim Selby, Kingston's European product manger told IT PRO. "SSDs have been around for 18 months now, but it's taken this long for us to be comfortable with them."

Of the new Kingston drives, he said: "For us, positioning is everything. The 32GB drive is aimed at the data centre, for financial transactions, database servers for e-commerce. We think of it as part of a caching array, delivering incredibly fast access to the most important data and being able to make transactions with that data 10 of thousands of times a second.

"Current [competitor] drives on the market are really version 1.0. And while the market is not yet mature it is maturing. A lot of that is down to the controller; if you have a cheap controller you have a rubbish product."

On the prospects of SSD this year, Selby said: "We're in a transitional period and pricing will drop through 2009 along with further technical advancements in the technology."

Selby refused to be drawn on what those improvements might be, though.

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.

Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.