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Intel SSDs touted as faster

Jul 21, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Intel has announced new SSDs (solid-state disks) it says are faster and cheaper than earlier versions. Intended for netbooks, notebooks, and embedded devices, the X25-M and X18-M move to a 34-nanometer (nm) manufacturing process and come in 80GB or 160GB capacities, the company says.

Intel's 50nm
X18-M and X25-M

(Click image for information)

Designed as "drop in replacements" for SATA hard disk drives, the X25-M and X18-M support "all operating systems," according to Intel. The SSDs share their storage capacities and even their names with the chipmaker's first SSDs, announced last year. Distinguishable from the earlier parts (right) by their use of silver cases instead of black ones, the new SSDs move to MLC (multi-level cell) flash memory that has been manufactured using a 34nm process.

Once again the product of an Intel-Micron joint venture, the 34nm flash is said to make the new SSDs faster — and much less expensive. The 50nm X25-M made its debut last year priced at $595 for 80GB of storage, whereas the equivalent 34nm product is now just $225, according to Intel.

Intel's 34nm X25-M

(Click to enlarge)

Regarding speed, Intel says it specifically worked to ameliorate random reads and writes, a known weakness of SSDs. As a result, the 2.5-inch X25-M delivers up to 8600 4KB write IOPS (input output operations per second), and up to 35,000 read IOPS, according to the company.

The 1.8-inch X18-M, meanwhile, is rated for up to up to 6600 4K write IOPS and 35,000 read IOPS. Sustained sequential write speed, at 70MB/sec., is rated the same as Intel's earlier, 50nm X25-M and X-18M parts, and sustained sequential write speed is just slightly faster, at 250MB/sec. Meanwhile, rated read latency has fallen to just 65 microseconds (0.065 milliseconds) — orders of magnitude faster than the four millisecond latency of 7200rpm hard disk drives.

Intel's 34nm SSDs were first disclosed on this 2008 roadmap

Source: Intel
(Click to enlarge)

Intel claims the X-series SSDs, as before, are good for five years of useful life, assuming 20GB of information is written to them per day. If less data is written, the drives will last even longer, the company adds.

Disappointing those who may be looking for larger storage capacity in an SSD, Intel will not release an SSD larger than 160GB this year, according to a CNET interview with Intel Marketing Manager Troy Winslow. Instead, the 34nm X25-M and X18-M variants will continue to be offered in 80GB and 160GB capacities, as were their 50nm predecessors, says Intel.


The revised X25-M is shipping now in 80GB and 160GB capacities, priced at $225 and $440 respectively in quantities of up to 1,000 units, Intel says. Meanwhile, the revised X18-M, whose pricing was not announced, will begin shipping "later in the quarter," according to the company.

More information on the X25-M and X18-M may be found on the Intel website, here. Meanwhile, the CNET interview referenced above may be found here.

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