IDF Spring 2008 – Day One – Intel SSDs Imminent

We knew they were in development but this one still caught us by surprise.

In what has to be the most surprising announcement so far this IDF, Intel has today revealed it’s own brand of Solid State Drive (SSDs) – previously dubbed Rocket – will soon be hitting the market.

The drives will be available in 1.8inch and 2.5inch form factors and, at least initially, will be shipping with Atom based notebooks, Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), and NetTops – all of which will be arriving in the next couple of months. There’s no 3.5inch desktop version but this is hardly surprising as the performance advantage of SSDs when compared to desktop parts is negligible. That said, as well as providing all the usual benefits of rugged resilience and low power usage, Intel was insistent these drives have also been optimised to boost performance over existing drives of the same form factor.

To demonstrate this performance advantage, Dadi Perlmutter and a couple of his little helpers ran a live video-encoding test, using Sony’s Vegas video encoding software. One notebook was configured with a 65nm Merom processor and a standard 7,200RPM hard drive, a second had the same processor but with one of Intel’s SSDs, and the third system had the same SSD but a faster 45nm Penryn CPU. The test started with all the notebooks turned on, with just the desktop showing, then on the count of three an automated encode task was set going.

It was immediately obvious the SSD equipped notebooks were considerably faster at loading the Sony Vegas program and starting the encode process. Admittedly, once the actual encoding started the CPU soon became the obvious s common bottleneck. However, there was a definite performance advantage to using the SSD based systems.

It’s anyone’s guess whether Intel will stick with large scale production of these drives but given the rate at which the company is expanding into a variety of new markets, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Intel become a significant driving force in this market.

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