Intel’s SSD technology is looking great

Written by Tim Smalley

June 9, 2008 | 12:35

Tags: #computex-2008 #idf #ssd #technology

Companies: #computex #intel

During one of our meetings with Intel, the company showed us how its Solid State Drive technology is shaping up because things have been a little quiet since its formal announcement at IDF Shanghai in April.

The first system that Intel demonstrated was a Home Theatre PC based on the newly-released G45 chipset, which featured one of Intel’s SSD drives.

What was interesting about this demonstration was that Intel had turned the monitor off before we entered the hotel suite – I had no idea the machine was powered up until Intel’s representatives turned the screen on to reveal the system playing a high-definition video. The machine was inaudible in what was a pretty quiet hotel room and, even with my ear to the top of the chassis, I couldn’t make out much noise. Maybe I had gone deaf.

The second demonstration we were shown was a little more direct – Intel had kitted out a machine with an overclocked quad-core (eight-thread) Nehalem processor and a pair of Intel SSDs in RAID 0. The system was incredibly responsive, but given the CPU architecture and overclock—which we were told was in double digit percentages—we were a little sceptical about the system responsiveness.

François Piednoel, senior performance analyst at Intel, understood our concerns and fired up his Penryn-based notebook, which was kitted out with a 2.6GHz processor and an Intel SSD drive. He booted up from cold and started firing applications up, and they just reacted almost instantaneously – Word 2007, Excel 2007 and Photoshop all loaded up noticeably quicker than we’ve ever seen before. To say it put an end to our scepticism is a bit of an understatement – this was impressive.

But Piednoel wasn’t finished – he fired up his anti-virus software and watched it scan through his 160GB hard drive in about 16 minutes. “Anti-virus scanning is traditionally limited by the hard drive – but not in this scenario,” he said. “This is the first time an anti-virus application has become processor limited.” He went onto say that he believes that Intel SSDs will help to make computers more secure, as a lot of people don’t scan their systems regularly because it takes too long. I’m not sure about the last bit, but his proof of concept demo was almost jaw dropping – I’ve never seen virus scanning working this fast before.

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