Intel desktop solid-state drives now shipping

Chip manufacturer starts to ship desktop drives that it claims offers new levels of performance for solid state disks, with enterprise versions on the way.

Intel has begun shipping the solid state disk drives that it first announced at IDF a year ago.

It also claimed that the drives match the ambitious performance claims it outlined at IDF last April.

The shipping drives are the Intel X18-M and the X25-M offering 80GB and 160GB of capacity respectively. Intel claimed that the 80GB drive achieves up to 250MB per second read speeds, up to 70MB per second write speeds and 85-microsecond read latency for fast performance.

Each is based on multi-level cell NAND flash technology and uses the mainstream SATA interface. Intel said in a statement that in its tests, the drives increased system performance by nine times over standard hard disks.

"Validated by our rigorous testing and OEM customer feedback, we believe that we have developed an SSD that delivers on the promises of SSD computing," said Randy Wilhelm, Intel vice president and general manager of the NAND Products Group.

"By combining our experience in flash memory design with our processor and computing expertise, we have added advances such as our parallel 10-channel architecture, proprietary controller, firmware and memory management algorithms that address write amplification and wear levelling issues to redefine SSD performance and reliability for computing platforms."

The 80GB drive is available now and is priced, in batches of 1,000 at $595 (337.13). Intel said customers will have to wait till the fourth quarter of the year to get hold of the 160GB drives.

The company also said that end-customer products using the SSDs would start to ship in a few weeks, and indeed, HP has announced its EliteBook 6930p, that offers an Intel SSD as an option.

Intel also announced its plans to ship an SSD aimed at the enterprise within the next 90 days. This will be called the Intel X25-E Extreme SATA SSD and will be based on single-level cell technology, which sacrifices storage capacity for increased reliability, crucial in mission critical computing.

Intel claimed the drive will enable companies to maximise their Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS), improving disk performance and lowering costs.

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