Print 37 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Mar 11 at 2:48 AM

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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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 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 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
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).

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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