updated 11:45 am EDT, Mon September 8, 2008
Intel Ships SSDs
Intel has quietly begun shipping its first company-designed solid-state drives. The Mainstream SSDs are aimed at more affordable notebooks and ultraportables and trade some of the data write speed of the Extreme drives in exchange for a lower cost. The final versions of the Mainstream drives write at a still-fast 70MB per second comparable to desktop hard drives but read at a far faster 250MB per second with just 85 microseconds of latency; Intel claims this speeds up an outfitted computer's loading speed by as much as nine times in boot times as well as some general use.
Like many solid-state drives, the new models should also extend battery life with just 150mW of power in active use and less when idle. Intel further promises a long lifetime with about 1.2 million hours (137 years) of continuous use before the drive fails.
On launch, just a single 80GB capacity will be available in both 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch Serial ATA drive formats, either of which is priced at $595 in batches of 1,000. Intel doesn't mention which companies will sell the drives either built into notebooks or individually but notes that a 160GB version of the drives is due by late 2008 or early 2009.