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July 21, 2009

Intel moves to 34nm NAND flash SSDs

Promises better performance and lower prices

By CBR Staff Writer

Intel said that it is moving to a 34- nanometer (nm) manufacturing process for its NAND flash-based Solid State Drive (SSD) products. The move to 34nm will reportedly help lower prices of SSDs up to 60% for PC, laptop makers and consumers.

Randy Wilhelm, vice president and general manager of Intel NAND solutions group, said: “Our goal was to not only be first to achieve 34nm NAND flash memory lithography, but to do so with the same or better performance than our 50nm version.”

According to Intel, the new X25-M on 34nm flash memory is drop-in compatible with the current 50nm version and will continue to be drop-in compatible to replace existing hard disk drives (HDDs). The multi-level cell (MLC) Intel X25-M Mainstream SATA SSD is available in 80 Gigabyte (GB) and 160GB versions.

The company said that the new Intel X25-M offers improved latency and faster random write Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) compared to its previous 50nm version. Specifically, Intel’s new SSD is expected to reduce the latency by 25%, for quicker access to data, operating at 65-microsecond latency compared to around 4,000 microseconds for an HDD. It delivers up to 6,600 4KB write IOPS and up to 35,000 read IOPS.

The X25-M will also support Microsoft Windows 7 when it becomes available. Intel also plans to deliver a firmware update to allow support of the Windows 7 Trim command, along with an end user tool, to allow users to optimise the performance of their SSD on Windows XP and Vista operating systems, the company said.

New channel prices for the X25-M 80GB and 160GB are $225 and $440 for quantities up to 1,000 units, respectively. The X25-M comes in a standard 2.5-inch form factor.

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