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Intel & Micron Prep Large, Affordable SSDs

Gordon Kelly


Intel & Micron Prep Large, Affordable SSDs

SSDs are certainly getting ever more affordable. Drives which would have cost thousands, even tens of thousands of pounds, three or four years ago are suddenly into the low hundreds - and they look set to nose dive much, much further...

Taking its cutting edge partnership to the next level, Intel and Micron have jointly announced they are sampling the first two-bits-per-cell 25nm MLC NAND flash. In English? Larger, cheaper and faster SSDs are on their way.

How much larger and cheaper? A third generation Intel X-25 line is expected to launch in 160GB, 320GB and 600GB sizes and while pricing hasn't been discussed we can look at gens one and two for an idea. An 80GB first gen X25-M was manufactured using the 50nm process and cost approximately £340. Gen two dropped to 34nm and a 80GBer fell to $225 (£137). Are we getting excited yet? Oh and did I mention they will use even less power too so you'll eek a little extra battery life out of your laptops.

Performance? Sequential read/write speeds should sit around 200MBps which isn't snappier than the top end read speeds we've seen before, but the real potential lies in even quicker random writes - which are far more relevant to real world performance. Again history helps us out here: gen two Intel X-25Ms performed twice as fast as gen one delivering up to 6,600 4KB write IOPS and up to 35,000 read IOPS. Read and write latency scores were a mere 65 microseconds. Your average HDD? Several hundred IOPS and a latency of circa 4,000 microseconds.

In terms of timescale patience will be required. Volume production of the new NAND will take place during Q2 with the first 25nm SSDs (from Intel, Micron and third party partners such as Kingston) not ready until Q4. Widespread availability may not even be until 2012. Still, chin up, the blisteringly quick second gen X-25M will be dropping like a stone between now and then - so soon there should be no excuse not to relegate HDDs to a secondary role of storage and back-up.


via Anandtech


February 1, 2010, 6:50 pm

So they are getting 2.5 times cheaper for every manufacturing update? That means the third gen will be £55 for 80GB... but they aren't selling 80GB, they are moving to 160GB, so the price doubles and it's still over £100. Still pretty cool though I guess.. but maybe not if we have to wait another two years.


February 1, 2010, 7:04 pm

Wake me up when we get affordable terabyte ssds.


February 1, 2010, 7:29 pm

When I can afford one then I will get excited, and I don't mean to seem sarcastic here. I do however look forward to not hearing my system whirring away ;)

'trouble is as hardware technology increases performance so the software increases its demands. So in reality do we really gain the FULL impact of such hardware?


February 1, 2010, 7:33 pm

@Chocoa - not necessarily, Windows 7 is a good example of new and improved software which is less demanding than its predecessor (hard not to be) and better optimised for SSDs.

Personally I've run an SSD in my laptop for over a year and as the boot drive in my desktop PC and I could never go back to HDDs. They have been the single best upgrades I've made since owning a computer...

Sullivan McIntyre

February 1, 2010, 8:06 pm

Is there any evidential basis for the claim that the prices of the current generation (G2) drives will be 'dropping like a stone' over the course of this year? Since their launch they've yet to go down in price at all.

Also, your listed price for the G2 (£137) isn't really correct for the UK market - they're still sitting at closer to £200 for an 80GB drive.

Your 4th paragraph should probably highlight that 200MB sequential write rate is going to be a significant upgrade over the current gen's 70MB/sec - this is the area Intel are already a little behind competitors.

Not trying to pick holes, I just wish coverage of Intel SSDs would point out that their prices are a bit high here in the UK. Keep up the good work!


February 1, 2010, 8:06 pm

"Gen two dropped to 34nm and a 80GBer fell to $225 (£137)."

They are £185 at the moment Gordon and the cheapest I've seen them is £165.

If you have a link at that price please share :-)


February 1, 2010, 11:53 pm

I think Gordon is just being very (un) generous with the exchange rates...


February 2, 2010, 3:09 am


Being the single best thing you've upgraded since owning a computer makes a strong argument for me getting some. I didn't like having both HDD and SSD, it had to be either or. But I might just make the jump, been wanting to for a while. :-)


February 2, 2010, 3:16 am

@Gordon Is it better than the step up to hard drives is the first place? I still have fond memories of my first 20MB drive and not having to swap floppies. Other awesome upgrades: going from 4x to 16x on CD-ROM and every modem upgrade I ever did until I hit the broadband age.


February 3, 2010, 10:33 pm

If you think about it, we are the only generation that have witnessed the coming of computers, from the very beginning and now being part of every milestone, we saw the evolution of the tv, mobile, internet, computer and so many more. It really does make you count your lucky stars we get to be part of it, I know I do!

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