Intel has announced a series of price cuts on its lineup of SLC (Single Level Cell) and MLC (Multi Level Cell) Solid State Drives. Their NAND flash is produced by IM Flash Technologies, an Intel joint venture with Micron Technologies.
Lower sales due to the global economic slump are a key reason for the price cuts. However, declining NAND flash prices are lowering production costs for Intel's competitors, many of which are entering the market with a new generation of products. Intel launched their 160GB X-25M for $945 just under two months ago.
OCZ's Apex series of SSDs use an integrated RAID 0 controller to boost performance for a modest price premium over regular MLC SSDs. G.Skill's Titan series uses a similar design, as both use JMicron RAID and SSD controllers. However, OCZ has heavily optimized their firmware to provide extra performance. They are both available at retail.
The Vertex series, also from OCZ, has up to 64MB of DRAM cache to boost performance. This is especially critical for random write performance, an issue that has plagued previous generations of SSDs due to the use of a first generation JMicron SSD controller.
OCZ is still tweaking the firmware of their Vertex line in order to maximize reliability and performance. While many customers are anxious to purchase these SSD, it is commendable that OCZ is trying to avoid Seagate's firmware mistakes.
Intel's mainstream M series uses MLC NAND, while the E series uses the faster SLC NAND. Pricing is for OEMs in lots of 1,000 and above.
Intel has plans for a 128GB SLC drive and a 320GB SSD using 34nm MLC NAND chips. They are expected to be released later in 2009.