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Intel SSDs Launched

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We've been waiting on Intel's entry into the SSD market for some time now. Even with almost all the details revealed at IDF, we've still been kept in the dark about those all important figures: prices. That is, until today.

Today, specifically, sees the launch of Intel's two Mainstream SSDs, the 1.8in form-factor X18-M and 2.5in X25M. Both come in 80GB capacities, with 160GB offerings slated for later in the year, and have the same 250MB/s read and 70MB/s write speeds and 85 microsecond (read: super-fast) read latency.

That compares pretty favourable with OCZ's currently-available (for very reasonable prices, for SSDs) Core series offerings. A 64GB Core SSD offers a slightly faster 80MB/s write speed, but a much slower 100MB/s read speed. Stepping up to a 128GB drive that improves to 93MB/s write and 143MBs read and the next version will offer 170MB/s read and 98MB/s write across the board.

Yes, OCZ's write speed is faster, but in day to day use, a faster read speed is likely to have more practical benefit. Booting Windows and loading programs, for instance, should in theory be faster on an Intel SSD. OCZ does win by a fair way on price though. A 128GB Core-series SSD will set you back some £330, whereas Intel is asking some $595 (~£340) for an 80GB Mainstream SSD.

That said, it's worrying to think how much the pending X25-E Performance SSD will cost! Of course with 240MB/s read and 170MB/s write speeds, there will doubtless be a huge amount of temptation to acquire one regardless the cost! With some 90 days before those drives are available, there's a decent period to get saving over, too!

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