Platypus hatches new drives

An Australian startup has dedicated itself to turning solid-state storage into a mass-market product.

ST. KILDA WEST, Australia -- Australian startup Platypus Technology has unveiled the QikDrive, one of a new breed of ultra-fast, solid-state storage devices.

According to Platypus, these RAM-based drives achieve throughput of up to 110MB per second (compared with up to 35MB per second for disk-based drives), and 15,000 to 20,000 I/O transactions per second (compared with 200 to 300 for mechanical drives).

Therefore, they're ideal for speeding up Web sites, databases and proxy-cache servers, and for delivering streaming data and obtaining maximum virtual-memory "swap space" performance of the sort that users of Adobe Photoshop rely on.

The QikDrive's storage subsystem and controller subsystem are located on a single PCI card. The list of supported operating systems includes Mac OS, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Linux and Free BSD; this list is growing.

Despite being internal to the host computer, the QikDrive has its own power supply, for data security.

In Australia, QikDrive1 (with a maximum capacity of 1GB) and QikDrive8 (which holds up to 8GB of data) are distributed by Express Data. Suggested prices vary according to configuration. A 512MB unit costs $2,500 Australian (about $1,538 U.S.), and a 4GB drive costs $16,000 Australian (about $9,840 U.S.). The company, which is based in Crows Nest, New South Wales, also has sales offices in Woodstock, Vt., and Hungerford, England.

Steven Noble is editor of Australian Macworld. For information about subscribing to Australian Macworld, send an inquiry to