September 9, 2008 The writing is definitely on the wall for traditional hard drives with the continuing rise of Solid State Drives (SSDs) using flash memory. With no moving parts, SSDs run cooler and quieter and are a more reliable option than hard drives so now Intel have joined the party with the announcement of two new SSDs based on multi-level cell NAND flash technology for laptop and desktop computers. The 1.8-inch X18-M drive and the 2.5-inch X25-M promise several advantages including faster overall system response, boot and resume times.
Intel claims that lab tests show that the Intel X18-M and X25M increase storage system performance nine times over traditional hard disk drive performance. This is partly attributable to the SSDs ability to remove input/output (I/O) performance bottlenecks associated with hard disk drives, which in turn helps maximize the efficiency of Intel’s processors. Both the X18-M and X25-M Mainstream SATA SSDs are available in 80GB capacities and achieve up to 250MB per second read speeds, up to 70MB per second write speeds and 85-microsecond read latency, while 160GB versions of the drives are just around the corner with sampling of these expected in the fourth quarter of this year.
Within the next few months Intel is also expected to introduce a line of single-level cell (SLC) SSDs for the server, storage and enterprise environments called the Intel X25-E Extreme SATA Solid-State Drive. These SLC SSDs are designed to maximize the Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS), which equates to higher performance and lower enterprise costs. Intel also claims an SSD-based data center will reduce overall infrastructure costs while increasing performance-per-square-foot by as much as 50 times, thanks to SSDs lower energy consumption, maintenance, cooling and space costs.
The 80GB drives are available now to OEMs for US$595 for quantities up to 1,000 with end-customer products containing the Intel SATA SSDs - like the HP EliteBook 6930p notebook - expected to begin shipping in the next few weeks.