Bitmicro announced today its plans to launch a new range of futuristic super-high-end 3.5-inch solid state flash drives. With capacities of up to 1.6TB (that’s 1600GB) they’ll be able to transfer data at speeds of up to 320MB every second.

Called the ‘E-Disc Altima Ultra320 SCSI SSD,’ it doesn’t exactly have the most memorable of names. But what it does have is oodles of performance. It’s the world's first Ultra320 SCSI (small computer system interface) drive on the market, and as such it won’t come cheap.

The largest commercial solid state drives currently have capacities of around 64GB (25 times smaller) – and they retail for as much as £700. A single 1.6TB SSD therefore might cost as much as several hundred thousand pounds, meaning the market for such devices is very niche. And as such, they're aimed at high budget organisations such as the military, and other demanding industrial enterprises.

Biggest SSD drives ever

The drives are said to deliver sustained data transfer rates of around 230MB/sec (peaking at 320MB/sec in burst mode) which is a lot quicker than anything available to the normal consumer. And to achieve this kind of high performance, the drives utilise the latest single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash memory. This, combined with Bitmicro’s patented wear leveling and proprietary BCH Error Correction Code technologies, promises to deliver unprecedented levels of ruggedised performance.

The drives are so rugged, in fact, that they can operate in temperatures as low as -40 degrees C and as high as 85 degrees C.

“Ruggedness has always been the strength of flash SSDs in the military market, and the forthcoming addition of the E-Disk Altima Ultra320 SSD to Bitmicro’s line-up will shore up the company’s support for I/O intensive and high-capacity applications,” said Rudy Bruce, Executive Vice President for Marketing and Sales at BiTMICRO Networks.

“This is a huge technological leap that virtually erased the advantages of other storage solutions in terms of capacity and performance,” he added.

Flash memory products were being made for the military by the likes of SanDisk decades before commercial products were ever available. The military has been a driving force in the development of solid state memory, just like it has been in aviation and computing.