Samsung Electronics is mass producing solid-state drives with a 128GB capacity, and will begin production of a 256GB product later this year.

Solid-state drives, or SSDs, are storage devices that use flash memory chips to store data, instead of the magnetic platters found in hard-disk drives. Flash memory chips offer several advantages over hard disks; they use less power and, because they have no moving parts, are not prone to mechanical failure. On the other hand, flash chips are more expensive than magnetic platters, which means SSDs cost more than hard disks with a much greater storage capacity.

Samsung's 128GB and 64GB SSDs are available in 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch versions that can fit a range of devices. Samsung also makes SSDs with capacities of 32GBs and 64GBs. Pricing for the 128GB drives was not immediately available.

The 128GB SSDs use MLC flash chips, Samsung said, adding that a version of its 64GB SSDs based on MLC flash chips is also now in production. These chips are cheaper than the SLC (single-level cell) flash chips used in most previous SSDs, and should help to bring down the cost of SSDs.

Looking ahead, Samsung said a 256GB SSD will go into production later this year. Previously, Samsung was not expected to bring a 256GB SSD until sometime in 2009.