SanDisk wants to kill hard drives with low cost SSD

SanDisk Z400s

SanDisk promises an even more affordable solid state drive with its newly unveiled Z400s. With capacities ranging from 32GB to 256GB, SanDisk claims that the Z400s brings all the benefits of solid state storage – including reliability, performance and low power consumption – at a cost that is competitive with traditional hard disk drives.

The Z400s is targeted at the embedded space for use in vertical markets as well as the mainstream computing market. SanDisk is positioning the drive as an affordable entry level solution, joining the company's X series and performance A series SSDs.

"With a single architecture, SanDisk is able to provide OEMs with an affordable solution for displacing HDDs in today's cutting edge consumer devices, and help embedded application designers avoid overpaying for un-needed space – all while delivering the peak performance and high-reliability that only SSDs can supply," said Rizwan Ahmed, senior director of product marketing, client platform solutions, SanDisk.


The Z400s is available in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities in mSATA, 2.5-inch SATA and M.2 (2242 and 2280) form factors. SanDisk says that the drives can be used in mainstreaming computing to bring the benefits of solid state storage to affordable-priced entry-level notebooks.

For mainstream computing use, the drive fits inside popular mSATA enclosures with a 7mm height. SanDisk claims that the Z400s has a read speed of 550MB/s and a write speed of 380MB/s. These speeds are not too far off from the company's high-end 240GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD ($140, £91, AU$180), which has a 550MB/s read speed and a 520MB/s write speed.

Even though SanDisk did not announce specific pricing, the company told TechRadar that the drives features a lower total cost of ownership compared to current solid state drives (SSD), and that the Z400s will be priced comparable to hard disk drives (HDD). For comparison, a 250GB Western Digital 2.5-inch hard drive currently retails for $47 (£30, AU$60) on Amazon while a 256GB SSD from rival Samsung costs around $100 (£65, AU$128).

Laptop use

SanDisk says that the Z400s uses less power than hard drives, with up to 20 times lower power consumption. The Z400s runs on as little as 30mW of power. When used in a mainstream computing laptop, this means that the laptop can run longer on battery power.

"By designing systems with the new SanDisk Z400s SSD, PC OEMs can deliver products that are 5x more reliable and 20x faster than traditional hard drives, translating into fewer returns, lower total cost of ownership and increased overall customer satisfaction," said SanDisk.

Enterprise use

For embedded applications, SanDisk is positioning the Z400s for use in automotive black boxes, security systems and point-of-sales machines. Because solid state drives feature fast boot times, increased reliability and durability compared to hard drives, the Z400s should be a good fit for these types of solutions.

The fast boot times will help businesses stay productive and retain customers if they need to restart their POS machines. "Research shows that customers become frustrated after 2.5 minutes if there is no progress in a checkout line; after five minutes, one out of three customers will abandon the line altogether," SanDisk said of the benefit of transitioning to solid state storage.

SanDisk is currently sampling the drives to customers.