High performance drive technology hits mass market prices

Angelbird to offer $239 PCI-based SSD

A multinational company specialising in SSD technology is set to launch the Wings PCI-Express SSD drive with expandable capacity and starting at prices well below competing products.

The company called Angelbird is based in the UK but has sales and marketing operations in the US while product design is based in the Netherlands and China. The Wings PCI-Express card is a bootable SSD drive which will come with an embedded 16 or 32GB of flash memory and a ‘fully populated card is capable of transfer rates over 1.02GB/second for reads and 900MB/second for writes.

The decision to use PCI-Express side steps the increasingly limited 3Gb/sec transfer rate of the SATA II drive interconnect standard however previous products have taken aim at the enterprise market with solutions costing thousands of dollars. Another key feature of the Angelbird Wings is the ability to change the individual modules on the card in order to expand capacity.

Wings is also said to contain its own OS called Virtue which boots the card in any machine and then provides a disk configuration utility to manage the volumes for all available operating systems including RAID configurations. The card also offers the ability to place an ISO disk image of the OS on the card so installing doesn’t need optical drives.

"Until now PCIe SSD solutions have been only available to the enterprise market, or were limited in that they only ran on certain operating systems or were fixed in size," said Angelbird founder Davide Rutigliano. "The bootable Wings card changes the game, yet again, by booting on Windows, Linux and OSX, or allows peaceful coexistence and integration of all of the above on the same system, whether it is a PC or a Mac Pro."

The individual ‘expansion cartridges’ use the well-regarded SandForce SSD controller and are 120GB in side. Users may fit up to four on a drive while a bare card with 16GB of storage onboard will start at $239 US. A fully loaded 4 drive card is still pricey at $1400 but that represents 496GB of SSD storage.

Angelbird said that it expects the products to be available by ‘Halloween 2010’. The company as yet hasn’t released European availability and pricing.

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