PCR examines the external and internal memory market

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The memory sector has grown in leaps and bounds over the last five years, in terms of both market value and the sheer range of products. Once limited to storage, RAM and floppy disks, the development of innovations like flash memory and USB ports have opened up the category in a way that was previously thought impossible.

Although cloud and network based options are increasingly available, a significant proportion of the consumer market still likes to put its trust in storage that they can see and hold onto – and fortunately the channel is in a position to meet this demand and the technology is becoming more refined with each generation.

“SSDs are now gaining more mass market appeal due to a greater understanding and adoption of their key benefits, such as quieter running, better cooling and faster performance than traditional hard disks,” notes Kingston Technology’s European product marketing manager, Steve Hall.

“Other than that, two new technologies are becoming more relevant; SATA 3.0 for SSDs and USB 3.0 for USB drives. These newinterfaces basically offer increased bandwidth for faster Flash-based internal (SATA 3.0) and external (USB 3.0) drives – bandwidth that traditional HDDs can only dream of reaching.”

In addition to refinements in the technology behind solid-state devices, the capacity that such products can offer is increasing all the time, with SanDisk soon to be releasing an SD card with storage of up to 2TBs.

“We’re doing something called SDXC, which is the next generation of the ubiquitous SD card used in cameras,” elaborates SanDisk’s product marketing manager, Gerry Edwards. “SDXC stands for SD Extended Capacity, so it covers anything above 32GB right up to 2TB.”

Edwards notes that much of the demand for larger storage capacities has been generated by the explosion of video content, boosted by smart phone cameras and HD content.

“From a flash memory point of view, smart phones are a very big driver and HD video, is another big driver, too,” continues Edwards.

“More recent changes are things like the iPad, which started a whole segment that wasn’t there before. The iPad doesn’t have an SD expansion slot, but there are manufacturers coming out with products that do.

“While they are used mainly for transfer, it adds to the environment. It’s not just for cameras any more, you can transfer anything you want using SD or any kind of flash memory,” says Edwards.

Realtime’s product manager Daniel Bennett has noted the penetration of solid state in to the consumer market, which has been driven by falling prices: “With manufacturers bringing out new solid-state hard drives at lower prices, we have seen the introduction of solidstate hard drives into the consumer market. Consumers can now enjoy a much faster, silent, less power hungry and secure form of storage.”

Although solid-state drives have come down enough in price to enter the mass market, the likelihood of them replacing traditional spindle hard drives is low. The capacity offered by spindle drives can now commonly be seen in sizes of two terabytes or more, and the price point for these devices is still highly competitive.

“Kingston Technology’s view is that SSD and HDD can and, in many cases, should co-exist in desktop PCs,” says Hall. “Take a standard desktop for instance; it makes a lot of sense to store the OS and application executables on a super fast SSD, while everyday data files are stored on a traditional HDD. With this set up, users will see a significant speed increase for system start up, application responsiveness and stand-by recovery.”

Edwards concurs with this view of co-existence dependent on usage: “I think both formats will be able to live side-by-side, and I think it’ll come down to how they’re used, to be honest. Things like tablets, netbooks and notebooks may come to use NAND Flash memory – that is what we’re predicting – but there will still be demand for hard drives, purely because of the capacity they offer. So, they will be used on devices that aren’t required to be small and portable.”

Over the course of this year, it is probable that we’ll see the continued expansion in the capacity available for hard drive storage. As Edwards noted, the demand for high definition video and photographic content is higher than ever before, and we are seeing vendors migrating RAM storage over to DDR3.

“Over the next twelve months I think we will see SSD becoming a more mainstream product, and also continued growth of the capacity of hard drives, including 1TB 2.5-inch hard drives and 3TB 3.5-inch drives,” predicts VIP’s product manager Darren Jackson.

Meanwhile, Edwards forecasts strong growth for the memory market, driven by the consumer’s demand for digital media content on devices like MP3 players, cameras, smart phones and tablet PCs.

“We see the memory market in terms of flash memory as really growing,” he states. “I think we’ll still see growth in capacity and I think video will be driving it. With the SDXC cards, you’re going to be able to get Blu-ray movies on there. One day you’ll be able to put an SDXC card in the side of your TV and just press play. That’s the kind of technology that we see as apparent very soon.

“Smartphones and tablet computers – these are the drivers, and I think the future is very bright. In terms of the amount of gigabytes the markets going to use – it’s going to grow exponentially.”

Distributor: VIP

They say: The industry’s first ever waterproof and shock resistant portable HDD designed specifically for students, road warriors, and sports enthusiasts

Specs: 2.5-inch SATA external hard drive, USB 2.0 interface, transfer rate of 280MB/s, shockproof and waterproof rubber casing

Distributor: VIP

They say: SimpleDrive by Hitachi delivers better USB 2.0 external storage. The compact size of this feature-packed drive is ideal for space saving desks, while the aluminium enclosure keeps your drive cool and working at its best

Specs: External hard drive, USB 2.0 interface, transfer rate up to 480MB/s, two terabyte capacity

SRP: £10.99
Distributor: Micro P

They say:
You’ll love the styling, metal finish, and diminutive dimensions of this micro USB key. Equipped with a handy strap, this USB key is sure to become your constant companion, letting you bring along all your favorites every time you head out the door

Specs: USB 2.0 interface, USB 1.1 compatible, works with Windows, MacOS 8.6 and Linux, data storage for minimum of ten years

Distributor: Realtime

They say:
Replacing your hard disk with a Corsair Nova Series Solid State Drive (SSD) will revolutionise your computing experience. Games and apps load quicker, systems boot-up faster, run cooler and quieter

Specs: 2.5-inch form factor, max. sequential read speed of up to 270MBs and write speed of up to 195MB/s, 64MB cache, internal SATA II connectivity, 2.5-inch to 3.5-inch bracket included for internal use

Distributor: Ingram Micro

They say: For notebooks, SSDNow drives are a perfect replacement for hard drives resulting in a faster performance. This change will improve a notebook’s efficiency in booting-up to running the most demanding operating systems and apps

Specs: 128GB capacity, sequential speed up to 200MB/s read, up to 160MB/s write and three-year warranty

Distributor: Realtime, EntaTech

They say:
It has perfect balance of performance and value. Its 128MB on-board cache ensures smooth, stutter-free operation and read speeds up to 250MB/s and write speeds up to 170MB/s

Specs: USB 2.0 external connectivity, SATA II internal connectivity, max. write speed 170MB/s, max. Read speed 250MB/s, latest generation JMicron JMF612 controller and MLC NAND Flash

Distributor: M2m Direct

They say: G.Skill has been continually working to develop the ultimate high performance memory in order to satisfy the demands of top overclockers and PC enthusiasts worldwide. This device pushes the hardware limit even further than ever

Specs: DDR3, 2000 MHz, includes three 2GB modules, fits Intel X58 chipset

Distributor: KMS Components

They say: Say hello to the new look, sleek mistral drive from CnM. Easy to install (plug and play) and lightweight makes the mistral drive an excellent partner for all your portable storage needs

Specs: 400GB capacity, USB interface, 5400rpm, 8MB cache, comes pre-loaded with BullGuard Internet Security

Distributor: EntaTech

They say: The Flash Voyager GT 64GB is the most convenient way to transport large amounts of any kind of data – highresolution photos and artwork, massive databases, or even entire music collections

Specs: 64GB capacity, read speed up to 30MB/s, write speed up to 16MB/s, rugged rubber casing

Distributor: Ingram Micro

They say: These highly rugged, lightning-fast solid-state drives are designed for technology enthusiasts who want faster speed for their notebook and desktop PCs and OEMs who need high-performance, read-intensive solutions

Specs: 128GB capacity, up to 250MB/s read, 170MB/s write speed, high tolerance to shock and vibration

Distributor: M2m Direct

They say: G.Skill Ripjaw Gaming Series Memory is designed to optimise the high performance DIMMs for reliability in order to get gamers consistently fantastic FPS, while maintaining a solid overclock to prevent a mid-game PC failure from memory errors

DDR3 dual-channel, up to 1899MHz, heatspreader design, fits Intel P55 chipset, up to 8GB capacity


VIP Computers:
0871 622 7500

Micro P:
01282 776 776

01480 435 881

Ingram Micro:
0871 973 3000

0333 101 1000

M2m Direct:
0208 676 3030

KMS Components:
02920 713 713

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