Zalman Enters SSD Market with $99 Drives

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by Jacqueline Emigh

As solid state drives (SSDs) grow more plentiful, Zalman – a vendor traditionally known for its cooling products – has become the latest company to step in to this booming segment of the PC storage market with drives in the $100 bracket.

The new line-up of 2.5-inch SDDs from Zalman consists of the “value-oriented” N Series and “performance-oriented” S Series, both available in capacities of 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB.

Faster and more durable than hard disk drives (HDDs), SSDs also use less power and don’t heat up as much, according to some storage analysts. “Depending on the implementation, they are used as an alternative or complement to HDDs, while also used as storage network accelerators (SNAs),” noted Sergis Mushell, a principal analyst at Gartner Group, in a recent report on SSD form factors.

While SSDs have traditionally been costlier than HDDs, manufacturers are now lowering the ante. In the spring of this year, Intel introduced the X25 Value SATA SSD, outfitted with 40GB of storage for $125. Even before then, though, OCZ Technology had already announced an SSD with 32GB for only $99.

Other rivals in the increasingly competitive field include Intel, OCZ, Samsung, and Western Digital. Vendors have been producing hybrid SSD/HDD combo drives, as well.

Zalman reaches the $99 threshold with the 32GB S-series SSD, which produces up to 260MB/s read speeds and up to 60MB/s write speeds.

The 64GB S-series model, priced at $149, brings 120MB/s write speeds, while the 128GB drive, priced at $249, offers write speeds of 210MB/s. All three drives in the S-series use controllers from JMicron.

Zalman’s N-series SSDs, on the other hand, use the SandForce SF-12xx controller. The 64GB N-series SSD, priced at $169, and the 128GB N-series model, which sells for $289, each produce read speeds of up to 280 MB/s and write speeds of up to 270MB/s.

Both the S- and N-series drives will also support the Windows 7 TRIM command.

Zalman touts its new SSDs as energy efficient, shock-proof, vibration-proof, and noise-free. To help with heat dissipation and lower their weight, the drives come in an anodized brushed aluminum housing.

South Korea-based Zalman has been diversifying in other directions, too, with recent introductions of a USB 3.0 dual hard drive docking station and the Z9 line of mid-tower enclosures.

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