Flash memory continues to inch closer to hard drives in terms of speed, with many units surpassing 30MB/sec sustained reads. Now, Lexar
has ousted SanDisk's Extreme IV cards (with speeds of 40MB/sec) with their “300x Professional”
UDMA CF cards, which in an 8GB package offer speeds as high as 45MB/sec. In comparison, that brings them to the level of 7200RPM 2MB cache desktop hard drives in terms of speed, though not capacity. Given that flash already has superior latency, further advances in flash for reliability and read/write speed will be the last barrier to break, on a technical level, for them to surpass hard drives altogether. Many factors remain, however, such as availability and pricing. Given the cost-per-gigabyte of flash, Lexar's new speed queen being no exception, HDD still have a behemoth advantage.
Still, this unit is impressive – within a year, flash SATA drives for laptops or media centers might be not only affordable, but preferable. I look forward to this for sure. Lexar will be offering 2GB, 4GB and 8GB capacities for these new units.