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
"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
Intel's SSD, like the offerings from Samsung, will use the
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
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.