Intel Reveals SSDs Galore

The most exciting thing going on at the Intel Developer’s Forum this morning is  the release of details on Intel’s two new lines of solid state drives.

For consumers, Intel is releasing the 1.8-inch X18-M and 2.5-inch X25-M “Mainstream” solid state drives. Arriving in the next 30 days, the MLC (mult-level cell) drives are touted as saving up to 30 minutes in battery life, and claim an incredible read transfer rate of 250MBps, faster than any consumer hard drive on the market today.

As you would expect for an MLC-based drive, the rated write transfer rate is a more pedestrian, but still acceptable 70MBps. We’re expecting to get a review sample of the X25-M next week so we can put these claims to the test.

The Mainstream series will be available in 80 and 160GB capacities with pricing to be announced within the next 30 days. We’re hoping that these drives are price competitive with the OCZ Core Series, which has a 64GB model selling for $226 right now at Newegg.

Extreme Series

For workstation and server users, Intel is releasing the SLC-based X18-E and X25-E “Extreme” SSDs, which offer the same impressive 250MBps read rate combined with an incredible 170MBps write transfer rate. The Extremes come in 32 and 64GB capacities and are sure to be significantly more expensive than their “Mainstream” brethren. However, if they are price competitive with Samsung’s SLC-based SATA II SSDs (currently an $800 street price for the 64GB), they could become the enthusiast’s drive of choice. Why Intel’s MLC Drives Should Be Faster

The other day we were talking to a representative from another SSD-manufacturer who told us that “NAND flash memory is all the same; it’s a drive’s controller that makes all the difference.” According to their presentation, Intel’s Mainstream series features the latest-generation native SATA interface with an advanced architecture employing 10 parallel NAND flash channels of MLC memory.

With Native Command Queuing to enable up to 32 concurrent operations, Intel Mainstream SATA SSDs are supposed to deliver higher input/output per second and throughput performance than other SSDs on the market today – and drastically outperform traditional hard disk drives. These drives also feature low write amplification and a unique wear-leveling design for higher reliability, meaning Intel drives should not only perform better, but also last longer.

Oh and we don’t want to forget the motorcycle that was shown at the Intel SSD presentation. Intel apparently strapped an SSD onto this bike to ‘torture-test’ it in the 2008 Baja 500. See the video here:

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