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Intel says that its upcoming SSDs will better Samsung's offerings in performance.  (Source: Samsung)
Intel to boost performance of its next generation SSDs

In late December, Intel launched its Z-P140 PATA solid-state disks (SSDs). The tiny drives measure just 12x18x1.8mm and power consumption is equally miniscule with readings of 1.1mW while idle and 300mW during read/write operations.

When it comes to performance and storage capacity, however, the Intel SSDs are a little behind the times. The Z-P140 can only be had in storage capacities of up to 16GB while read/write speeds come in at just 40MB/sec and 30MB/sec respectively.

Intel looks to leapfrog its current offering later this year with new multi-level cell (MLC) chips which will be used in 1.8" and 2.5" SSDs. According to Intel's NAND Products Group guru Troy Winslow, the drives will be available in capacities ranging from 80GB to 160GB.

Intel also plans to take on the best from Samsung and BiTMICRO in terms of performance. Samsung's current MLC-based 128GB SATA-II SSD achieves read speeds of 100MB/sec and write speeds of 70MB/sec. "What I can tell you is ours is much better than that," said Winslow in an interview with CNET.

"When Intel launches its...products, you'll see that not all SSDs are created equal," Winslow added. "The way the SSDs are architected, the way the controller and firmware operates makes a huge difference."

Intel's SSD, like the offerings from Samsung, will use the SATA-II interface.

As more manufacturers step up to produce NAND flash memory for SSDs, one of the few remaining drawbacks for the storage solution will being to subside: the high price of entry. Opting for a 64GB SSD on a MacBook Air will set you back a whopping $999. Adding a 64GB SSD to Dell's XPS M1330 will cost you $650.

Intel feels that pricing will continue to trend downward in the coming months. "Price declines are historically 40 percent per year," Winslow continued. "And in 2009, a 50 percent reduction, then again in 2010." Samsung flash marketing manager Michael Yang recently stated that SSD prices will fall 35 to 45 percent year-to-year.

Hopefully, the estimates on price reductions for SSDs will hold up as production ramps up. Most major manufacturers (Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc.) offer SSD options on their notebooks. ASUS has shown that it move a large quantity of SSD-equipped notebooks -- when the price is right -- and it looks to go for a knockout punch with its second generation Eee PC 900.



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All I want...
By daftrok on 3/10/2008 1:09:30 PM , Rating: 2
...is a smart combo. Find a way to fit a 160GB HDD and a 32 GB SSD in a 2.5" apparatus (1.8" if possible). Store files that are constantly used (OS, internet browser, some programs and some games) onto the SSD and all other files on to the HDD. This can help bring the prices down in SSD and pave the way for larger affordable drives.




RE: All I want...
By FITCamaro on 3/10/08, Rating: 0
RE: All I want...
By erikejw on 3/10/08, Rating: 0
RE: All I want...
By ImSpartacus on 3/10/2008 3:34:53 PM , Rating: 4
If 2.5in is too big, use 3.5in. Put a single platter 5400rpm 3.5in drive (80-250ishGB) and then slap on a 32GB SSD.

I'm sure such a thing could be done. I wouldn't even try to put something like that in a laptop, just get a 2.5in SSD. I would enjoy a slow, cheap 2.5in SSD for my laptop if it meant I could get it cheap.


RE: All I want...
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 3/10/2008 1:23:28 PM , Rating: 4
Hell, I don't even need 32GB (for mobile duties) :-)

I have a 4GB Eee PC running Windows XP. My install including Windows and all supporting apps is taking up 1.47GB. I also have an 8GB SDHC which hold all of my major apps like OpenOffice, Paint.net, NVU, etc. and My Documents/Pictures. That's taking up around 4GB of the 8GB SDHC.

The only way that I would need something like a 64GB or larger SSD is if I wanted to bring all of my music along.


RE: All I want...
By falacy on 3/10/2008 1:26:44 PM , Rating: 2
Very good.

However, what I would like is a modern equivilent to the old Quantum Bigfoot drive!


RE: All I want...
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 3/10/2008 1:32:04 PM , Rating: 2
Was that the big 5.25 inch HDD??

When I worked at a local computer repair shop in the late 90s, desktops with those drives were always coming in. They failed ALL THE TIME.


RE: All I want...
By falacy on 3/10/2008 1:35:30 PM , Rating: 3
Well, that is true and were loud as hell to boot, but I figure now would be a good time to give the 5.25" hard drive another go.

Drives are pretty queit these days at 7200RPM, so doing a larger drive spinning slower, but with massive capicity would be great for a media server. Stick some flash and a whack of ram on it and it would be the ultimate last stand for the desktop hard drive.


RE: All I want...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/10/2008 2:43:38 PM , Rating: 2
Thats around the same time period that the "Desk Star" drives earned the name "Death Star" due to their high probability of complete and unrecoverable failure constantly. I remember those days.


RE: All I want...
By xander85 on 3/10/2008 5:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Thats around the same time period that the "Desk Star" drives earned the name "Death Star" due to their high probability of complete and unrecoverable failure constantly. I remember those days.


I have a pile of those in my closet, still.... :)


RE: All I want...
By mindless1 on 3/11/2008 2:16:11 AM , Rating: 2
There was a bit of a gap, a few generations and maybe 4 years between them. Bigfoots topped out at 20GB with several platters IIRC, but already lost popularity by the time they were about 8GB total capacity even using huge platters to get there. Deskstars were about 20+GB per platter, typically 40-75GB drives.


RE: All I want...
By nvalhalla on 3/10/2008 3:38:46 PM , Rating: 2
While those were a nice idea, there were issues with implementation. All of that would be solved with the move to SSD. There is NO reason that we couldn't move to 5.25 SSD drives with amazing capacity. Would likely be cheaper than smaller capacity drives do to the cost of miniaturization and need for high density MLCs in the 2.5/3.5 form factor. I have been thinking we need to look at the 5.25 form factor again for the past few years.


RE: All I want...
By BansheeX on 3/10/2008 5:02:38 PM , Rating: 2
I couldn't disagree more. We need a reduction of the standard PC footprint, not an increase. We need a PC that's easier to transport, not a harder one. Micro-Atx and 2.5" drives should become the standard while ATX and 3.5" drives should go the way of 5.25" drives. This is a tradeoff issue of impatience. Smaller physical drives will always have smaller capacity relative to larger physical drives. You wanting a high capacity SSD as quickly as possible does not mean we should move to larger and larger computers. A 10" hard drive could hold far more and be far cheaper to manufactuer than a 3.5" drive could. Under your rationale, does that mean we should move towards it if one was made? I don't understand this insatiable lust for more space at all costs.


RE: All I want...
By falacy on 3/10/2008 7:42:13 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think that the 5.25" drive is any more of a niche market than dual video cards are. In fact, my modified server AT server tower has seven 5.25" drive bays (and 1 full ATX motherboard as well as micro ATX, two power supplies and so on).

There is a place for everything. Small drives are nice for their purpose and large drives are nice for theirs. Even larger drives could fill in another spot without forcing a paradigm shift. Huge, quiet, and "enterprise reliable" would sell these to me, but I am sure there are others who would buy them. Such is life.


RE: All I want...
By mindless1 on 3/11/2008 2:48:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'd gladly buy some drives that were half as fast, double the capacity, and cost 30% less per capacity - for bulk storage.


RE: All I want...
By mindless1 on 3/11/2008 2:30:42 AM , Rating: 2
Do you see that the storage capacity of a typical PC has gone up year after year? Which allows a smaller case, one 5.25" drive or two 3.5"? Consider before you answer that we have to have the 5.25" bay for an optical disc, with Blu-Ray coming optical discs were not just here but still bringing new tech to PCs in the future.

What is needed instead is not a reduction in width as a typical PC needs at least 5.25" width (make it 5.5" including side case walls) but rather a reduction in height and depth. Typical case has PSU above motherboard, meaning there is space for a deep optical drive but the adjacent bays either have to be further forward making a case deeper, OR the drives need to be shorter length. Once you get away from mechanical HDD you don't need a long rectangular shape anymore like you do with the head/arm assembly behind circular platters, rather it could be very short instead about like turning a 3.5" mechanical drive sideways, or even shorter!

Likewise with the height, if each is not as tall the remaining limit is the size of the motherboard and PSU, but the width constraint remains because of everyone using tall heatpipe based coolers.

Why do you think we need the reduction of a PC footprint so much though? Part of a desktop's virtue is anyone fairly mechanically inclined, even someone who isn't can deal with the size and complexity of assembly without having to use surgical tools (I'm not giving up my forceps for changing jumper settings though!).

Smaller is not always better, the world is not imploding and there is much to be said for having an expanse - including that modern systems create more heat and the physical size of a typical PC allows for use of a larger, lower RPM, quieter fans.

I don't understand this insatiable lust for more space at all costs either, but it is you that has the lust wanting PCs smaller so you have more remaining space!


RE: All I want...
By mindless1 on 3/11/2008 2:18:41 AM , Rating: 2
The cost is more related to the investment in controller tech, and number of flash chips used. The casing format is mostly irrelevant to cost. You could cram more flash chips into a 3.5" form factor than most sane people would pay for (dozens of thousands of dollars worth).


RE: All I want...
By ninjit on 3/10/2008 2:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think it's all that practical to have the hard-drive decide what data should be on the SSD portion, and what should be on the HDD.

Vista's Readyboost is supposed to do what your asking for in theory, but in practice it's severely limited by the speed of current flash drives.

Before HDDs go the way of the dodo, and we start seeing everything in solid-state, the first step is to have the OS and swap file on an SSD, and everything else on regular storage.
Even before that, if you really must have an SSD somewhere in your system, I personally think a good mix would be to have a separate smallish SSD as the target for just virtual memory - and maybe ReadyBoost too: basically we should be able to tell Vista to use this drive for any file caching it wants to do, in addition to the memory page-files.

One of the biggest problems with having a single system disk for all your needs, is that a fairly large application will end up competing with itself for disk access - think of a game that's trying to load a big model or texture map into memory, only to run out of available RAM at which point the OS starts dumping idle memory to page-files - the single hard-drive goes nuts.

Linux tries to alleviate this by having a dedicated swap partition, but if it's still located on the same single drive, it doesn't help all that much.

Memory-paging (just like regular memory access) is inherently random (hence the name), so placing swap files on an SSD would have big tangible benefits.


RE: All I want...
By taropie on 3/10/2008 3:06:06 PM , Rating: 5
But wouldn't u have bigger tangible benefits by slapping in more ram? Why need a swap file if it could be eliminated...


RE: All I want...
By ninjit on 3/10/2008 9:35:23 PM , Rating: 2
yes, of course more actual RAM is always better...

But in general usage these days, memory requirements always outstrip available RAM (hence the move to virtual memory).

And if you think of cost, with people whining about the current price point for SSDs, DDR2 RAM is ~$25/GB almost twice the per GB cost of an SSDs

Besides which, the amount of physical RAM you can install on a system is always limited.


Time After Time
By Neamhtearanntacht on 3/10/2008 1:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
2008 = $650
2009 = $325
2010 = $162.5
2011 = $81.25

4 more years! till affordable SSD. Sorry it is an election year.




RE: Time After Time
By dever on 3/10/2008 1:41:36 PM , Rating: 2
In 4 years, that 64GB drive may not seem like much.


RE: Time After Time
By Neamhtearanntacht on 3/10/08, Rating: -1
RE: Time After Time
By bhieb on 3/10/2008 2:16:53 PM , Rating: 2
Wait you think the next MS os will be out in 4 years. Please how long did Vista take.


RE: Time After Time
By mezrah on 3/10/2008 2:32:11 PM , Rating: 2
Vista took 5 years. Not 4, but close.


RE: Time After Time
By mindless1 on 3/11/2008 2:33:04 AM , Rating: 2
Hmm, so you think it's just 4 guys in a garage working on each MS OS sequentially instead of large teams of people? That Vista was delayed makes their next OS come out sooner afterwards, not later.


RE: Time After Time
By bhieb on 3/10/2008 2:18:24 PM , Rating: 2
Also before too long we will all be "cloud computing" anyway so we really won't need much local storage (according to MS, Amazon, and Google).


RE: Time After Time
By Neamhtearanntacht on 3/10/2008 2:37:43 PM , Rating: 2
Should have used the term "cloud computing" earlier, with regard to EMC and Intel.

According to Wiki Windows 7 will be out in "Microsoft has announced that it is "scoping Windows 7 development to a three-year timeframe"," see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_7.

With the advances in CPU's, GPU's for additional system processing and flash drives and usb 3.0. It makes sense.


RE: Time After Time
By leexgx on 3/10/2008 4:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
fit more bloatware into the os, can thay Make it use more ram in windows 7

allso if your going to use an Dot make sure you use an space after the link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_7 . unless its an thing that DT does (guess i find out when i press post comment)


RE: Time After Time
By prenox on 3/10/2008 5:14:21 PM , Rating: 2
So it would take ISP's a month to start using their 'Network Management' on your OS bandwidth?


I'd rather have just the SSD
By Hulk on 3/10/2008 1:22:22 PM , Rating: 4
I could get away with a 64GB SSD. 80GB would be perfect for me for a primary partition.

As far as I'm concerned this is the next big thing in computers and I can't wait until prices come down and performance increases. It's definitely good news that Intel is in the game because as we all know they have the fabs to make something happen on a big scale.




RE: I'd rather have just the SSD
By Polynikes on 3/10/2008 3:31:16 PM , Rating: 2
I have two 36GB Raptors in a RAID0 array and am just fine. I can't have more than 10 or so games installed at any given time, but that's not really a big problem. I use very few apps that take up a lot of space, and if I did, I'd just keep less games installed. All my large (essential) files are stored on a different hard drive.


WD ? Seagate ?...
By Strunf on 3/10/2008 3:17:09 PM , Rating: 2
What will be of these guys once the fatal days comes ?

As it is now its like if they went to see a doctor just to be told they will be dead in the next 20 or so years.




RE: WD ? Seagate ?...
By prenox on 3/10/2008 5:25:48 PM , Rating: 2
The size of SSD to an equal size HDD is nowhere near the same price and Unless the SSD goes down in price and up in storage space at the same time your still going to be using a regular HDD to store the rest of your stuff even if you are using a SSD as your OS drive. Its not like these companies won't have time to come up with a way to stay in business in the mean time. Its not like SSD is driving them out of business as we speak.


RE: WD ? Seagate ?...
By mindless1 on 3/11/2008 2:39:27 AM , Rating: 2
You might be surprised how many people doctors would tell would be dead in 20 years if the doctor was being frank and heartless.

20 years is a long time in the tech industry, many startups today can only hope to last 5 years. Hard drive manufacturers already have a lot of infrastructure and good tech, it wouldn't be too far fetched for them to knock out a PCB, buy a few reels of controller chips and memory and there ya go, new players in the SSD market. In a few years what are now proprietary controller chips will be line-items at any electronics supply house and it'll be business as usual, who can market better and cut costs enough to give frugal PC shoppers what seems like the best deal. Unlike Intel vs AMD, SSD drive market could become a lot larger than the HDD market because any small company that makes (a sound card for example) could equally produce a SSD, it doesn't require the precision and elaborate manufacturing capability a mechanical HDD does.


Why limit to 1.8"/2.5" size?
By Roy2001 on 3/10/2008 5:47:02 PM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I am wrong, but I think only interface matters. Then why limit to 1.8"/2.5" size? I would think a CF card size SSD would be better for small laptop like Eee or MBA.

IMO, for MID type of devices, SSD which contains controller chip and flash chips should be soldered to MB directly, while CF or SD slot should provide HD expansion.




RE: Why limit to 1.8"/2.5" size?
By mindless1 on 3/11/2008 2:43:41 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed, some (typically embedded) boards do have a CF slot. Realize though that flash chip density vs. perceived storage requirement are what makes the SSD longer to hold more chips, but as for the 1.8" sizing have you measured a CF card? Not so much narrower than that. It isn't that hard to design around a slightly larger sized card, remember there will still be other size limitations related to the needs of the user - the keyboard and screen size, their width means it wouldn't be much of a penalty to have a longer flash storage card instead of CF.


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