It seems as though we can't go a week without learning about
the latest travails in solid-state disk (SSD) technology. Just last week, Super
Talent stepped into the fray with what it called the world's
thinnest 2.5" 256GB SSD.
Two weeks earlier, Intel revealed its plans to blow past all
of its competitors with high
performance SSDs ranging in size from 80GB to 160GB. According to Intel's
Troy Winslow, the drives promise to far surpass the high watermark set by SSDs
currently on the market.
"When Intel launches its...products, you'll see that
not all SSDs are created equal," said Winslow in early March. "The
way the SSDs are architected, the way the controller and firmware operates
makes a huge difference."
Intel's SSDs are coming
closer to fruition and Intel Fellow Knut Grimsrud provided a picture of two
prototype Intel SSDs. The drives pictured use the standard 1.8" and
2.5" notebook drive form factors.
Knut was able to take one of the pre-production prototypes
for spin and was impressed with the results. "Although I was quite
familiar with its capabilities from all the performance characterization data,
I was unprepared for the powerful instant high it gave my system," said
Grimsrud. "It was such a dramatic difference in how my system responded
that I found myself uninhibited in doing things that I previously would have
shied away from."
"So a word of warning to those that might be
considering dabbling with the use of our new SSD technology," Grimsrud
added. "It can give you quite a rush, and once you have enjoyed its
effects, it can be quite difficult to ever go back."
Unfortunately, Grimsrud only gave his "seat of the
pants" impressions of the SSD's performance instead of hard data on the
performance. For now, we'll just have to leave Intel to its word that its
improved NAND controller greatly improves SSD performance.
Despite the performance advantages offered by SSDs, the
technology is not without its downside -- most notably, cost. Seagate CEO Bill
been vocal about the impact of SSDs and recently noted that,
"Realistically, I just don’t see the flash notebook sell. We just don’t
see the proposition."