Samsung makes first PCIe-based SSD for Ultrabooks

Samsung mass-producing speedier solid-state drives

The new solid-state drives use PCI-Express (PCIe) connections to deliver speeds more than 2.5 times faster than those of SATA-based SSDs.

Lance Whitney by Lance Whitney
June 17, 2013 5:13 AM PDT

Samsung's speedy XP941 solid-state drive.

Samsung’s speedy XP941 solid-state drive.

(Credit: Samsung)

Apple’s new MacBook Air has adopted faster solid-state drives made by Samsung. But Apple won’t be the only beneficiary.

Samsung announced Monday that it has started mass-producing new PCIe solid-state drivesaimed at the next generation of ultrabooks. SSDs that use a PCIe connection offer faster speeds than those outfitted with SATA (Serial ATA) connections.

As one example, Samsung’s XP941 SSD can read data sequentially at 1,400 megabytes (1.4 gigabytes) per second, the highest speed offered by a PCIe 2.0 interface. In the real world, that means the drive can read 500GB of data or 100 high-definition movies as large as 5GB in just six minutes. Such a PCIe SSD is seven times faster than a conventional hard drive and 2.5 times quicker than the fastest SATA SSD.

The XP941 solid-state drive is available in three sizes — 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB.

Samsung already started supplying the speedy SSDs to notebook makers earlier this quarter. And more vendors are are on the list.

"With the Samsung XP941, we have become the first to provide the highest performance PCIe SSD to global PC makers so that they can launch leading-edge ultra-slim notebook PCs this year," Young-Hyun Jun, executive vice president for memory sales and marketing at Samsung Electronics, said in a statement. "Samsung plans to continue timely delivery of the most advanced PCIe SSD solutions with higher density and performance, and support global IT companies providing an extremely robust computing environment to consumers."

Samsung’s XP941 solid-state drive is also lighter and smaller than SATA SSDs, offering more space for the battery. By using one of Samsung’s new SSDs, Apple’s MacBook Air was able to free up real estate for a bigger and larger-capacity battery.

Topics: Storage Tags: MacBook Air, XP941, SSD, Samsung, solid-state drive

headshots_Lance_Whitney_140x100_140x100.jpg Lance Whitney

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.