Toshiba Blade X-gale SSD Is the Slimmest Yet

Toshiba's new line of Blade X-gale solid state drives (SSD) measures only 2.2 mm thin and has storage capacities ranging from 64GB to 256GB.

Toshiba unveiled a new line of super-slim solid state drives that it claims is the thinnest drive with the most storage capacity available, on Nov. 8.

Designed specifically for devices in which space is a premium, such as laptops, netbooks and tablet PCs, the Blade X-gale series are available in three storage sizes, at 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB, said Toshiba. At 2.2 mm, the Blade X-gale drives are also the thinnest SSD drives currently available in Toshiba's product portfolio, the company said.

"Delivering a product that enables superior user experience in a smaller footprint is the ultimate goal," said Scott Nelson, vice president of the memory business unit in Toshiba America Electronic Components.

Not only are mobile devices taking on more features, including storing data, streaming video and playing music, they are also getting smaller, thinner and lighter, according to Toshiba. The drives in the Blade X-gale series are palm-sized, measuring a little less than one inch wide and 4 inches long. At 2.2 mm, or less than 0.09 inches, the 64GB and 128GB drives are about as thick as an engraving knife or lenses for polarized sunglasses.

Based on Toshiba technology that mounts two 128GB drives back to back, the 256GB drives are slightly thicker, measuring less than 0.15 inches, or 3.7 mm, according to the electronics giant.

The super-slim 64GB and 128GB drives barely tip the scales at 0.3 ounces, while the not-as-slim 256GB drive weigh in at a half-ounce, Toshiba said.

The modules are 42 percent thinner than a typical mSATA SSD, said Toshiba. Usually, hardware designers have to accommodate the drive's physical size, regardless of whether they were hard disk drives or solid state drives, when building devices, said Nelson. Toshiba offers both mSATA and Half-Slim SSD modules for its 64GB and 128GB modules, giving designers some flexibility in designing their hardware, said Nelson.

"It is really interesting to watch the march to higher-density and lower-priced SSDs and the effect that is going to have on the mobile space," said Al Hilwa, the program director of IDC's Applications Development Software group.

Based on 3G bps SATA interface, the drives have a maximum sequential read speed of 220MB per second and a maximum sequential write speed of 180MB per second, said Toshiba.

Solid state drives offer superior speed, durability and power efficiency over traditional hard drives, and mobile device manufacturers are making the switch as demand surges for smart devices such as phones and tablets. Solid state drives also tend to last longer and have fewer data-loss issues.

Toshiba is not one of the three companies -- Seagate, Western Digital and Hitachi -- that dominate the HDD industry. Even so, Toshiba touts itself as the world's "most experienced" and "second largest" producer of NAND-type Flash memory. The company said high-density NAND technology has the capability to come up with even smaller form factors.

Toshiba said it will continue working on even smaller solid state drives with higher storage capacities.