Intel's 2.5" and 1.8" SSDs  (Source: Intel)
Intel prepares to launch its next generation SSD drives

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 Watkins has 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."

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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