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Print 38 comment(s) - last by mckirkus.. on May 12 at 3:15 PM

Pricing cuts will spur greater SSD adoption

Intel is lowering prices on several of its SSDs in a response to increased competition in the burgeoning SSD market. The world's largest semiconductor company makes SSDs using NAND flash produced by IM Flash Technologies, an Intel joint venture with Micron Technologies.

The X25-M series of mainstream 2.5-inch SSDs, which use Multi-Level Cell flash, is the target of the price cuts. The 160GB model will receive a $100 price cut off the MSRP, while the 80GB model will drop $50 in price. However, the street prices are much lower, as retailers react to demand for the popular Vertex series of SSDs produced by OCZ Technology.

Increased production and competition has forced a dramatic drop in prices. Intel launched its 160GB X25-M drive for $945 just four short months ago. Today, it is available for two-thirds of its original price, a savings of over $300. The price for the 80GB model has been cut almost in half since its launch.

Intel will also be making available more 80GB and 160GB SSDs in the 1.8-inch form factor. The retail supply of the X18-M series has been limited since its launch. These drives are used mostly in netbooks and smaller laptops which are space constrained.

Meanwhile, the X25-E series targeted at the enterprise server market will also soon face pricing and capacity pressure from OCZ and Super Talent.

Super Talent will soon be shipping SLC-based SSDs with up to 256GB of storage, which OCZ will counter with their Vertex EX series targeting the enterprise server and tiered storage markets.

Intel will fight back in this lucrative market, with designs for a 128GB SLC drive and a 320GB SSD using 34nm MLC NAND chips. They are expected to be released later in 2009.

 

Model

December 2008

February 2009

April 2009

 X25-M 80GB

 $595

 $390

$320 

 X25-M 160GB

 $945

 $765 

$630

X18-M 80GB

NA

NA

$340

 X25-E 32GB

 $575

 $415

$390 

 X25-E 64GB

 NA

 $795 

$795




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RAM drive
By Pirks on 4/28/2009 12:38:42 PM , Rating: 0
With low RAM prices ($37 for 2 x 2GB sticks on newegg) I wonder why noone made a pci-e card with 16 ddr2 or ddr3 slots, some simple controller chip and a li-poly backup battery. That'd make the same solution price-wise as current X-25E SLC, but 1) it will have no wear, no delete/erase performance problems 2) it will have virtually unlimited (compared even to SSD) bandwidth 3) it will be upgradeable, just replace DDR2 RAM sticks and double the capacity 4) if controller supports ECC RAM this would make for very error resistant drive.

This would make unbeatable Windows/app boot drive. Ahhhh, dreams, sweet dreams...




RE: RAM drive
By HotFoot on 4/28/2009 12:40:41 PM , Rating: 2
These things exist. The last time I saw one, though, it was for plain DDR, not even DDR2. I think the card itself was going for $100 to $150.


RE: RAM drive
By Pirks on 4/28/2009 3:27:22 PM , Rating: 1
DDR is even more insanely overpriced than 4GB sticks or DDR3 sticks, it's out of the question. Are there any similar cars for DDR2? Nope, I don't think so. DDR instead of DDR2 and a low amount of memory slots are the problems that killed this excellent idea. Poor implementation kills excellent ideas all the time, unfortunately :-(


RE: RAM drive
By afkrotch on 4/28/2009 4:41:59 PM , Rating: 3
Gigabyte designed an i-Ram for DDR2 that allowed up to 8 GB of memory. I don't think it ever hit the market though. Just the original i-Ram for DDR that allows up to 4 GB of memory.


RE: RAM drive
By Pirks on 4/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: RAM drive
By mckirkus on 5/12/2009 3:15:09 PM , Rating: 2
"Are there any similar cars for DDR2? Nope, I don't think so."

See the Acard ANS-9010 and a 9012. Reviewed by many major tech sites.


RE: RAM drive
By Jansen (blog) on 4/28/2009 12:53:43 PM , Rating: 4
The main reasons RAM drives aren't popular are cost and volatility. Gigabyte tried it out with their i-drive, but it didn't catch on because people would rather buy more RAM than get a $100 RAM drive and have to configure it.

RAM drives designed for the enterprise market are readily available, though.


RE: RAM drive
By rudy on 4/28/2009 1:21:40 PM , Rating: 2
Ya the main thing is now days if you care you can get a i7 board and slap 24 gb of ram on it and set up a ramdrive with no added hardware. Reserve 4 for the OS and you can have 20 for the ram drive.


RE: RAM drive
By Pirks on 4/28/2009 3:16:08 PM , Rating: 1
Why pay big $$$$$$$ for overpriced i7 and even more overpriced 4GB or DDR3 sticks when you could be getting even more RAMdrive space for MUCH less money if that add-on DDR2 RAMdrive card were made? Your solution is absolutely insanely priced compared to mine.


RE: RAM drive
By TomZ on 4/28/2009 4:52:04 PM , Rating: 2
But hanging more RAM directly onto the CPU will also be an order of magnitude faster than putting it at the other end of a PCIe or SATA link.

Furthermore, the Core i7 only seems overpriced if you can't afford it. :o) There is a slight price premium - mainly due to the motherboard and DDR3 - but if you want the best...


RE: RAM drive
By Pirks on 4/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: RAM drive
By TomZ on 4/28/2009 9:20:20 PM , Rating: 2
Why are you pouting about Core i7? Doesn't Apple have Core i7's for you Jobs worshipers yet?


RE: RAM drive
By Pirks on 4/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: RAM drive
By SlyNine on 4/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: RAM drive
By Pirks on 4/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: RAM drive
By BeastieBoy on 4/29/2009 10:53:59 AM , Rating: 2
The drive wouldn't be persistent though would it.


RE: RAM drive
By Pirks on 4/29/2009 2:03:48 PM , Rating: 2
It would with a mirror hard drive partition that's backed up to when the battery is low.


RE: RAM drive
By Pirks on 4/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: RAM drive
By Kougar on 4/28/2009 3:08:16 PM , Rating: 2
Some people did. Besides the Gigabyte iDrive there is the DDR2 ACARD ANS-9010B ramdrive. You might check out the reviews on it...

The Acard Ramdrive is a nice unit, but making a drive controller that can make use of RAM's fast speeds isn't easy. For the costs involved (Ramdrive + 32GB of RAM) Intel's SSD's would be a better buy and significantly cheaper. Not to mention offer more capacity.


RE: RAM drive
By Pirks on 4/28/2009 3:41:27 PM , Rating: 1
Nah, this Acard is a lousy ting too. The Real Thing should connect to PCI-e, not to slow SATA link. And it should have 16 slots, because with 16 slots you'll pay $300 for 32GB or DDR2, so this becomes totally price competitive with fastest Intel SLC SSD drives.

Now if such an add-on card could be made for $100, I think it'd decimate Intel drives and just laugh at their SATA limited uberslowness. SATA vs PCI-e link? Yougottabekiddinme :) I agree that's somewhat of an investment, but it's upgradeable! Replace the RAM later and double the capacity!


RE: RAM drive
By Jansen (blog) on 4/28/2009 6:22:38 PM , Rating: 2
You will still need to cache the RAM drive though, so it only really makes sense when you are accessing an application constantly. In such cases, more system RAM is better.

Software to create a RAM disk is available and cheap though, so if you wanted to you can load a game DVD completely into RAM.


RE: RAM drive
By Pirks on 4/28/2009 7:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
No need to cache RAM drive, OS should be configured not to cache it -> write through and no read cache either.

More system RAM is impossible due to slot amount limitations - most mobos have just 4 slots which allow for 4GB RAMdrive at most (+4GB for OS itself), this is joke and useless. You can grow memory to 16GB if you use _ULTRA_ expensive 4GB sticks but what's the point when we talk the best bang for buck kind of solution?

I was discussing 16 slot solution which makes really large and hence useful RAMdrives possible. Less that 16 slots -> useless, because with Vista and apps/games anything less than 32 gigs for a boot/app partition is a waste of money.

No 16 slots -> can't make decent/cheap RAMdrive with enough capacity (32GB minimum). Plain and simple.

16 slots right now -> ultra expensive server mobo -> ultra expensive server memory like FB-DIMM -> a couple of additional grand just to get 32GB RAMdrive.

My solution -> a couple of additional HUNDRED, NOT GRAND, to get THE SAME 32GB hard drive.

So my solution is ten times cheaper with the same benefits. Plain and simple :-)


RE: RAM drive
By CommodoreVic20 on 4/29/2009 10:18:05 AM , Rating: 2
Lets not forget the big difference is the card would have a BATTERY to keep the data even while the computer is off while system memory would be lost. So a 16GB ram card could boot your OS in a couple of seconds everytime.


RE: RAM drive
By Kougar on 4/29/2009 10:13:48 PM , Rating: 2
Even the Acard battery only lasts just over four hours on a charge with 16GB of RAM. You'd need a huge battery if you want to store data in the RAM overnight let alone a full day for quick booting.


RE: RAM drive
By danrien on 4/30/2009 8:27:08 PM , Rating: 2
while nice in principle, it does have two major drawbacks: battery life and the unreliability of the battery. Batteries are much more susceptible to physical wear and tear than transistors, and also run the risk of exploding (especially li-ion technology, not sure about li-poly). with transistor based storage, or magnetic storage, these types of risks can be quantified, and r/w cycles given before breakdown, etc. exploding battery packs? completely dependent on the environment the battery lives in.

also, li-ion batteries (once again, not sure about li-poly) dramatically lose their charge hold time after not so many cycles (from a grand perspective).

While these risks and drawbacks are considerably smaller than before, the mere fact that they exist probably rule out the technology for most people for the foreseeable future.


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