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Solid-state disks fall to below $100

Mar 15, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Solid state disks (SSDs) moved closer to commodity status, with the announcement of a 40GB model from Intel for $125, and a sub-$100, 32GB version from OCZ Technology. Intel's X25-V and OCZ's Onyx can be installed in laptops or embedded devices, but are primarily aimed at enthusiasts who want to install faster boot disks in their computers, according to the companies.

Intel's first SSD, the X25-M, made its debut in 2008 using MLC (multi-level cell) flash technology manufactured using a 50nm process. Priced at nearly $600 for 80GB of storage, the drive became cheaper and faster last year when Intel moved to 34nm manufacturing. At that point, the 80GB SSD device gained a list price of $270, plus sustained read/write ratings of 250MB/sec. and 100MB/sec., respectively.

Intel's 34nm SSDs were first disclosed on this 2008 roadmap
Source: Intel
(Click to enlarge)

Now, Intel apparently reasons that there's room in the market for a smaller (and slower) SSD. The company says its new X25-V, which packs 40GB, is "perfect for value segment netbooks and dual-drive desktop setups."

With a specified read speed of 170MB/sec. and write speed of 35MB/sec., the X25-V (right) is relatively slow where SSDs are concerned. However, as Intel points out, its performance is nearly four times faster than a 7200RPM hard disk drive. Offering a 1.2 million hour MTBF, the device is touted as particularly suitable for dual-drive desktop installations, whose enthusiast owners would install the SSD as a boot disk and retain their previous hard disk drives for other storage needs.

For example, the company claims, a user could load the 40GB SSD with the Windows 7 operating system, Microsoft Office applications, and a favorite gaming application such as "Dragon Age: Origins," experiencing up to 43 percent faster overall system performance or 86 percent improvement in their gaming experience. The SSD would speed operations such as system startup, the opening of applications and files, or resuming from standby, adds Intel.

OCZ Technology's new Onyx (left) addresses much the same market, with a 32GB capacity and a recommended retail price under $100. A 2.5-inch SATA device, just like Intel's X25-V, the Onyx has said to have a 1.5-million hour MTBF, a 125MB/sec. read speed, and a 70MB/sec. write speed, OCZ says.

Both the X-25V and Onyx are said to support the Trim command functionality, which is availability in Windows 7, and should eventually show up in Linux. With Trim, the operating system can tell a card which data blocks are no longer in use. Much quicker than an erase operation, a trim command merely removes stale data — that which had already been marked as deleted by the operating system — from a drive's internal allocation list.

It's said regular employment of Trim will prevent drive speed from degrading over time, because the devices will no longer have to juggle stale data in order to make room for newly written data. Also, drives will no longer need to copy stale data during their automatic wear leveling operations (via the latter, drives rearrange their data so writes get distributed evenly across the flash medium).

Stephen Yang, a product manager for solid-state drives at e-tailer, was quoted by Intel as saying, "The Intel solid-state drive is our top-selling SSD. This new value entry from Intel means more customers will have the chance to experience the benefits of SSDs, not just in notebooks or high-end PCs, but in mainstream desktops as a boot drive."

Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology, stated, "One of our goals is to make SSDs more affordable to end-users. Our new Onyx series SSD does exactly that and is a perfect solution for netbooks, laptops, or home desktop PCs.


More information about Intel's X25-V, which is said to be shipping now, may be found on Intel's website, here.

More information on the OCZ Technology Onyx, which also appears to be available now, may be found on the company's website, here.

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