A round of new arrivals on the memory market are expected this year, and they are expected to change everything. Intel announced earlier this year that it is developing a 160GB solid-state drive, (SSD) sometimes known as a “flash” drive, that it hopes will revolutionized the laptop and media player markets.

But Samsung has beat them to the punch. Two days ago they announced the completion of a 256GB, 2.5-inch SSD drive with SATA connectivity. The 2.5-inch will ship by the end of this year, and a 1.8-inch version by next.

The most popular laptop now shipping with an SSD drive is the Macbook Air, with a drive that is 64GB—one-quarter the size of the Samsung. The drive blows away traditional hard drives in many respects. With read and write speeds of 200mb/s and 160mb/s respectively, the SSD will run about twice the speed of your average laptop hard drive—faster when you consider that SSD doesn’t have to “seek” across the surface of a magnetic drive, shaving additional milliseconds off every operation. At this speed, the Samsung starts to rival the speeds of higher-RPM, larger drives.

In addition, the SSD uses less than one third of the power that a traditional hard drive does, greatly increasing battery life. It also has a much lower failure rate and tolerates bumps and abuse much better than magnetic drives, due to its lack of moving parts. Lighter, faster, quieter, more reliable, and less power-hungry…

What does this mean for our industry, aside from the projection designers in the audience screaming “Hooray!”? More road-worthy consoles with more memory, better back-up storage, the ability to put more memory where it could never have gone before (sound boards, luminaires, rack processors, etc). Plus, make a small-profile performance RAID out of a few of these, and the next generation of media servers can eliminate all moving parts.