Samsung has been leading the charge for large capacity flash drives with their 32 GB announcements and their relentless cutting of flash chip prices. And it looks like their biggest competitor for 1.8″ drives will be – Samsung.

The new 60 GB 1.8″ drive
Samsung’s new 60 GB drive is notable, not for capacity, but for the fact that they achieve that capacity with one drive platter. Platters are cheap, but the heads to read them aren’t, so getting that capacity with half the heads is a big money saver.

Sequential access disk
Samsung’s press release states they are aiming the product at mobile media players, not computers. Given its slow 4200 RPM speed, a mere 70 revolutions per second, and what I’d expect to be a 10+ millisecond access time, this is no speed demon. You’d be waiting a good while for your system to boot with this disk. It really is suited for the same work loads Isilon is aiming for: large files with sequential access. At a much smaller scale, of course.

The StorageMojo take
Competition is healthy, even when it’s different divisions of the same huge conglomerate. Samsung’s disk division is fighting for market share against its semiconductor division. I believe that flash prices will continue to decline faster than disk prices, but they have quite a gap to close.

If the SSD guys really want to take the battle to the disk stronghold, they need to get serious about replacing notebook disks. Flash SSDs built-in advantages – low power, fast access times, shock resistance – will make ultralight computers more responsive. That is an advantage that users will pay for.

Comments welcome, as always. And note the new picture above – I took this afternoon after a surprise snowfall.