Intel outlines SSD plans

Intel outlines SSD plans

Intel has revealed that the first SSDs will be available very soon, with more to follow in the first quarter of 2009.

During a briefing at IDF this morning, Intel has started to outline its plans for deploying Intel Solid-State Drives to the market en-masse.

There will be two different options that are designed to cater for different markets and each option has a slightly different schedule for deployment to the market.

The higher-performance model, the Intel X25-E Extreme SATA Solid State Drive, will come in two capacities—32GB and 64GB—in a 2.5in form factor and is targeted at servers and high-performance computing markets. It is based on Single-Level Cell NAND Flash Memory technology and uses a ten parallel channel architecture. This enables some incredible performance, with sustained read and write speeds of up to 250MB/sec and 170MB/sec respectively.

Read latency is an impressive 75 microseconds, while Intel claims that the drive can deliver approximately 35,000 IOPS when reading and 3,300 IOPS when writing with 4KB blocks. Power consumption is also pretty good too, with peak power usage quoted at 2.4W and typical idle power drain quoted at 0.06W.

The Intel Mainstream SATA Solid State Drives come in both 1.8 and 2.5in form factors (and are known as the X18-M and X25-M respectively); they’re based on Multi-Level Cell NAND Flash Memory using the same ten parallel channel architecture as the SLC-based Extreme drives. As a result of this, Intel is able to increase the storage capacities up to 80GB and 160GB.

Intel outlines SSD plans Intel outlines SSD plans
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However, because the mainstream drives use the slower Multi-Level Cell NAND technology in order to keep costs more reasonable, performance isn’t quite as good. Read speeds are still rated at up to 250MB/sec, while the sequential write speed has taken a hit – it delivers just 70MB/sec, or half the throughput of the X25-E.

Read latency has also dropped to a still impressive 85 microseconds, but the good thing is that this has resulted in a reduction in power consumption. With a typical PC load, Intel claims that the drives will use just 0.15W of power at load, while idle power consumption remains at 0.06W. This, Intel claims, will result in up to 30 minutes of extra battery life—along with higher system performance—in notebooks.

Intel also talked briefly about MTBF and also why its drives are 'better by design'. The X25-E's MTBF is rated at two million hours, while the mainstream X25-M and X18-M models are rated at 1.2 million hours. Intel said it achieved these high MTBF values with its Advanced Dynamic Wear Levelling technology, which is designed to smooth the IO load across the drive's ten NAND chips for higher reliability and longevity.

In addition, Intel says that there is an extremely low Write Amplification Factor, which basically means the drives are able to deliver higher performance (with both SLC and MLC NAND flash) and also improve the drive's lifetime.

Availability of the drives is staggered, with the first drives being the 80GB X25-M and X18-M – both will enter volume production within 30 days, says Intel. The next drive to hit the market will be the X25-E 32GB drive, which Intel expects to enter volume production in the next 90 days. Finally, both the 160GB version of the mainstream drives and the 64GB X25-E are expected to start shipping in early 2009.

Competition is likely to come from the likes of OCZ, with its latest Core V2 drives that deliver read and write speeds of 170MB/sec and 98MB/sec respectively. The question is whether Intel will be able to match OCZ’s aggressive pricing and that’s one topic where Intel has been mum; all that we’ve heard so far is that Intel expects the SSDs to “be competitive with existing solutions.

Are you excited by the prospects served up by Intel’s SSD drives? Tell us in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
Krikkit 19th August 2008, 22:19 Quote
They key question is "How much?" Looks awesome though, a boot drive capable of such insane read/writes would rock. :D
Firehed 19th August 2008, 23:03 Quote
Looks promising, if they can deliver (and at a semi-reasonable price).
Mankz 19th August 2008, 23:10 Quote
Great, they are going to kill people like OCZ and Super Talent in the SSD market...
dyzophoria 20th August 2008, 03:40 Quote
Originally Posted by Mankz.
Great, they are going to kill people like OCZ and Super Talent in the SSD market...

I don't think intel will kill them, its good news, competition just forces other companies to do better :), things like this will definitely help lower the prices of SSD's
rollo 20th August 2008, 11:16 Quote
SSD prices are currently a big ask for most people to foke out
They will need to come down to somewere along hte £100 mark to start been viable.( 32gb version)
Servers use alot of harddisks to get hte storage they need. (repeating it with ssd drives will cost the earth ) 4700 ssd drives at 32gb version to replicate a 300 teribite server. Which at aprox price of £200 is £940000 ouch.

As a company we get a 1tb hard disk for aprox £40 ( theres no vat tax ect ) ( 12 grand ish. Instead of 940k hmm ) not a hard choice

for companys price needs to be close to £50 a drive. to even make it financially viable.

I hope MS do it but i dont think it will. SSD is still way to expensive. And very difficult to mass produce in the quantitys a big company needs.
DXR_13KE 20th August 2008, 21:40 Quote
Originally Posted by Krikkit
They key question is "How much?" Looks awesome though, a boot drive capable of such insane read/writes would rock. :D

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