Sony-Asia this month introduced its first own-brand solid-state drives that it will sell in retail. The decision to start selling consumer SSDs is completely unexpected because Sony has been trying to focus solely on highly profitable and less competitive businesses in the recent years, whereas the competition in the market of consumer storage is fierce. Initially, the company will sell only two SSD models, which means that it is trying to test a new business rather than to become a leader on the market.

Sony’s SLW-M SSDs come in 2.5-inch/7 mm form-factor (a special bracket to install the drives into 9.5-mm bays is included) and feature 240 GB (SLW-MG2) or 480 GB (SLW-MG4) capacities. The drives use SATA-6 Gbps interface and hence Sony can address the vast majority of desktop and laptop PCs with its first-gen SSDs. According to Sony, the SLW-M solid-state drives feature up to 560 MB/s sequential write speed and up to 530 MB/s sequential write speed. Each drives comes equipped with the Acronis True image 2015 and Sony SSD ToolBox software for managing and saving your data.

The Sony SLW-M SSDs are based on the Phison PS3110-S10 controller as well as Toshiba’s TLC flash memory, according to images published by web-site. The SLW-MG2 solid-state drive from Sony features 128 MB DDR3 buffer made by Nanya. Usage of TLC NAND indicates that Sony’s SLW-M are entry-level client solid-state solutions that do not cost a lot to make and are not supposed to be expensive, and based on the specifications listed it's a reasonable guess that performance will be near the similarly-built low-end OCZ Trion 100 series.

Meanwhile with the Sony drives it's worth noting that Phison not only sells controller chips to makers of SSDs, but actual turnkey solutions, which include ASICs, firmware, reference designs of solid-state drives, software, and so on, and this appears to be what Sony is doing. The PCB design of Sony’s SLW-M resembles that of Kingston’s HyperX Savage, Corsair’s Neutron XT and Patriot’s Ignite, while Sony's SSD ToolBox is rebranded Phison ToolBox.

Many new SSD suppliers acquire Phison’s turnkey solutions in order to produce own drives and find out whether they can successfully sell such products to their customers via their sales channels. For example, Zotac last year introduced its first SSDs powered by Phison’s PS3110-S10 controllers and Toshiba’s MLC NAND flash memory.

Sony’s SSD plans are not completely clear. At present, the company only sells its solid-state drives in select Asian markets and it is unknown whether Sony has plans to offer similar products in the U.S. or Europe. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that the company, which has been withdrawing from commoditized markets for years, is trying to sell its own SSDs. Nowadays solid-state drives are not as cheap as HDDs, but in the entry level the competition is fierce and margins are low.

Source: Sony

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  • bobhays - Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - link

    actually it does make sense because it's implied that they are about the main function. for ssd and hdd that's storage so cheap is relative to storage. sports cars and trucks are to get somewhere and it's not price per mph because they effectively do the same basic functionality.
  • Danvelopment - Monday, February 8, 2016 - link

    I'd guess Sony bought the components (flash, controllers) with plans to slap them in their devices (TVs, consoles, cameras etc) and it was only a few dollars more to package them up and sell them as standalone devices as well. Why not if you already have all the bits and the contracts?

    TV's, home entertainment and cameras are devices that are becoming increasingly computer-like yet still don't have much in the way of built in storage. Those that do (consoles) use hard drives but direly need flash.

    Can no one else picture a home TV with 64/128/256GB built in storage (a metric that is now synonymous with a sharp increase in value thanks to smartphones).
  • bronan - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    Nothing what is called sony comes in my house ever.
  • fert6 - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    i have a old led sony tv from 2013, that thing looks great but sounds bad and has lots of issues, i almost returned it but was more a problem to return it tha to buy another, i have a ps3 and it works perfectly, is a love and hate relationship with sony, they make some really good devices and then, you buy something else from them and is crap, personaly i wont buy another tv from them but other things are tempting, like that 240 ssd from sony, to put it on the ps3 an play gta v to get faster load times online but surely it will be very expensive so better buy a corsair that will be cheaper and surely good quality too
  • LarsBars - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    Sony should not have chosen a name that so closely resembles the word "SLOW"

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