Intel debuts SSD drives at IDF

By Dave Simpson

 -- At its Intel Developer Forum (IDF) conference in San Francisco this week, Intel's NAND Products Group took the wraps off long-awaited solid state disk (SSD) drives for mobile and desktop platforms, as well as enterprise-class SSDs, based on flash memory technology.

Designed for laptops and desktops, the 1.8-inch X18-M (Mainstream) and 2.5-inch X25-M SSDs are based on multi-level cell (MLC) flash memory and a SATA interface. The drives are available in 80GB and 160GB versions. The 80GB SSD is currently sampling, with full production expected within 30 days. Sample quantities of the 160GB version are expected in the fourth quarter, with production volumes slated for the first quarter of 2009.

For the X18-M and X25-M drives, Intel claims performance of up to 250MBps on sequential read operations and 70MBps on sequential writes. Read latency is 85 microseconds, and the mean time before failure (MTBF) rating is 1.2 million hours.

The enterprise-class X25-E (Extreme) SSD is based on single-level cell (SLC) flash memory. A 32GB version is sampling now, with production volumes expected within the next 90 days. Sample quantities of a 64GB version are expected in the fourth quarter, with production scheduled for Q1 2009. The X25-E SSDs come in a 2.5inch form factor and include a SATA interface.

For the X25-E, Intel claims performance of up to 250MBps on sequential reads, 170MBps on sequential writes, 35,000 I/Os per second (IOPS) with 4KB reads, and 3,300 IOPS with 4KB writes. Read latency is pegged at 75 microseconds, and the MTBF rating is two million hours.

According to Intel officials, differentiators versus competing SSDs include 10 parallel   NAND flash channels and native command queuing (NCQ), which enables up to 32 concurrent operations for higher performance. The company also highlights an Advanced Dynamic Wear Leveling technique for improved reliability and longevity, and Write Amplification Factor technology for high performance in both SLC and MLC flash implementations.

Intel's announcement comes on the heels of a spate of other SSD-related announcements:

IDC benchmarks SSDs
Micron rolls out enterprise-class SSDs
EMC unveils Clariion arrays with spin-down drives, SSDs 
Texas Memory ships SSD drives
SSDs jockey for position in the enterprise 

This article was originally published on August 20, 2008