DIGITAL CONTROL/EMBEDDED COMPUTINGNANDRIVE, SST85LD100xx,
SILICON STORAGE TECHNOLOGY INC.
Electronic applications in need of storage may now have a viable solid-state alternative to the hard disk drive.
A device called the NANDrive contains no moving parts, is smaller than a half-dollar and stores at least 512 Mbytes of information. Silicon Storage Technology Inc., creator of the NANDrive, says it is supplying the device for use in car navigation, industrial automation, measurement equipment and a host of other applications.
“Some embedded applications are very cramped for space,” says Yuping Chung, business director for NAND modules at Silicon Storage Technology. “This is attractive because it has a very small form factor and it's reliable.”
Indeed, Silicon Storage engineers expect the NANDrive to gain traction in applications where reliability is key, largely because, unlike micro-drives, it has no moving parts. Moreover, the multi-chip package takes up approximately one-tenth the space of a 2.5-inch micro-drive and its cost is comparable or better, Chung says.
The smaller size also gives engineers some desirable design options. “Most applications need to leave room for thermal considerations,” Chung says. “This gives them the opportunity to shrink the overall product size or leave room to deal with the heat.”
The 512-Mbyte NANDrive offers that choice because it measures a scant 12 x 18 x 1.4 mm. A bigger version of the unit, measuring 12 x 24 mm, can hold up to 8 Gbytes. Its capacity could enable the NANDrive to boost the storage of small camcorders and personal media players, since 8 Gbytes translates to approximately 140 hours of music.
To be sure, the NANDrive doesn't offer as much storage as micro-drives — even those smaller than 2.5 inches. That, however, only serves to define the device's market more clearly, Chung says.
“Conventional hard disk drives offer capacities of 30 to 40 Gbytes and they're still going up,” he says. 'This product is for portable applications that don't need that much storage, but want the package size and the reliability advantages.”