Samsung believes the notebook PC is on the brink of a second stage of evolution. The company has announced what it claims is the world's fastest 256GB solid state drive, in a bid to kick start the shift away from traditional hard disk drives in laptop computers and towards the faster, cooler-running, and more reliable SSDs.

The new drive is described as one of Samsung's smallest at 2.5-inches long and 0.37-inches thick, making it suitable for very thin and light notebooks. But perhaps most important is the fact that this new drive bumps the storage and speed of earlier disks while also costing less to manufacture. The SATA II drive boasts a sequential read speed of 200MB/s and sequential write speed of 160MB/s, all while using multi-level cell technology rather that the costly single-level cell storage.

Samsung is expected to begin mass producing the SSD by the end of this year, with customer samples available in September. A 1.8 inch version of the 256GB SSD is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2008.