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Cloud Computing Expo - Intel Launches Laptop, Desktop SSDs
Intel Finally Delivered Solid-State Drives It Promised A While Back
By: Maureen O'Gara
Sep. 9, 2008 03:30 PM
Intel, which has lost a shirt or two on flash memory in its time, has finally delivered those solid-state drives it promised a while back. OEM products using them should dutifully follow in the next few weeks.
The widgets are targeted at laptops and desktops and are based on multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash technology as opposed to single-level cell (SLC) mojo.
MLC’s only apparent advantage is price. It’s supposed to be cheaper while SLC is faster, more reliable and more power-efficient.
However, Intel’s 80GB drives, the only ones immediate available, are priced at $595 for quantities up to 1,000 or $7.44/GB. The company expects to sample 160GB drives in the fourth quarter.
There are two of them the X18-M, a 1.8-inch drive, and the X25-M, a 2.5-inch drive. Both are SATA.
Intel says lab tests show they increase storage system performance nine times over traditional hard disk drive performance, which might explain why the widgets are pretty pricey, a lot more expensive, in fact, than competitive MLC drives, according to a comparison chart on Ars Technica, not to mention conventional HDDs.
Intel’s been concerned about performance.
It claims that adding a parallel 10-channel architecture, proprietary controller, firmware and memory management algorithms that address write amplification and wear-leveling issues has redefined SSD’s performance and reliability.
The 80GB drive fetches up to 250MB per second read speeds, up to 70MB per second write speeds, and 85-microsecond read latency for fast performance.
The company does have an SLC line in the wings that it’s saving for server, storage and enterprise environments.
It says it intends to launch this new X25-E Extreme SATA Solid-State Drive in the next 90 days. It’s supposed to maximize the Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS), which equates to higher performance and lower enterprise costs.
Since SSDs lower energy consumption, maintenance, cooling and space costs, Intel says an SSD-based data center will reduce overall infrastructure costs while increasing performance-per-square-foot by as much as 50x.
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