Samsung Electronics has begun commercial production of solid-state disk drives (SSDs) that use the SATA II interface.

The South Korean electronics company has introduced sample 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch drives featuring the new interface that offer a big boost in performance over existing drives. The new drives have a sequential write speed of 100MB/s) and sequential read speed of 120MB/s, it said.

SSDs use flash memory rather than magnetic storage, which means faster reading and writing of data, lower power consumption and zero noise. They've been around for several years although it is only recently, after flash memory chip prices fell, that they have become practical for use in laptop computers.

With the new, faster drives Samsung hopes to begin targeting the enterprise server market and other applications that demand high-speed data reading and writing.

The benefits will not just come via the faster interface. Samsung said the new drives consume about half the power of current SATA I interface drives and one-tenth the power of enterprise 15,000 rpm drives.

The company could not immediately say when the drives will be available commercially or how much they will cost.