As you may well have spotted, the Web is in a furore after the announcement of Intel's second generation solid state drives. We have all the info but also, more importantly, I've managed to uncover the intended UK price brackets as well.
In short the changes to the new drives are perhaps not as plentiful as many had expected but they are still hugely significant nonetheless. On the surface both capacities and model names stay the same with the X25-M launching in 80GB and 160GB capacities. A 320GB model has long been mooted but I understand that won't appear for a few months yet.
In terms of performance figures there also looks to have been little change with write speeds still stuck at 70MBps with read speeds of up to 250MBps, yes we've all seen faster. What matters far more in terms of real world performance however are random write speeds and these increase twofold delivering up to 6,600 4KB write IOPS and up to 35,000 read IOPS. New read and write latency scores also drop to just 65 microseconds. To put this in some perspective a traditional HDD manages just several hundred IOPS and has latency of around 4,000 microseconds.
Firmware updates will see support for the Windows 7 TRIM command before the OS launches in October and an end user tool will allow users to optimize the performance of their SSD on XP and Vista.
The killer news however is the pricing. A trusted industry source has been able to reveal to me UK RRPs will see the X25-M launch at under £150 with the 160GB unit under £300. Quite how low additional web discounts will take these from here remains to be seen. This also compares very well to official US prices which Intel revealed to be $225 (£137) and $595 (£362) for the 80GB and 160GB models respectively. Oh how we'd love to see a 40GB £70 edition for netbooks. And to think the first generation X25-M 80GB was £340 just back in September.
Oh yes people, SSDs are now here and with the huge speed, power, noise and durability benefits anyone who works primarily on a laptop would be have to be nuttier than a fruitcake to not consider a switch to solid state now. Ball's in your court Intel rivals...