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Solid-state drives (SSDs) offer substantial performance improvement, but their price-per-gigabyte is too high for mainstream or even enthusiast users. Intel Corp. reportedly plans to add a chipset technology into its Z68 core-logic that will attempt - for one more time - combine performance of SSDs with capacity of hard drives.

Intel Z68 chipset - high-end core-logic for Intel Core i-series "Sandy Bridge microprocessors in LGA1155 form-factor - will feature so-called Smart Response Technology (SRT), which is a special hardware/software caching mechanism for SSDs and hard disk drives (HDDs), reports VR-Zone web-site. The technology will attempt to accelerate boot time and runtime reads and writes by caching the content of hard disk drive onto solid-state drive.

The technology requires one SSD (with 18.6GB - 64GB capacity) as well as one HDD. The SRT makes operating system see the combination of SSD and HDD as one logical drive and automatically caches often used files onto the solid-state drive to speed up the system or ensure data protection in case of disk failure.

In order to popularize the Smart Response Technology technology, Intel plans to release special Intel 311-series "Larsen Creek" solid-state drive with 20GB capacity, according to NordicHardware. The unit should be relatively affordable - around €30 - €40 ($44 - $59) - and is projected to speed up Windows 7 boot time by almost 20% and PCMark05 HDD score by 355%. Naturally, not all applications will get significant speed improvements because of the SRT, but at least some should offer performance improvements.

This is not the first time when Intel attempts to create hybrid-storage solutions with flash and HDDs. Back in mid-2000s, the world's largest maker of chips already offered Turbo Memory solutions with 1GB - 4GB of flash, but the products failed to become popular. Hybrid hard drives (HHDs) from makers like Seagate Technology - which also carry magnetic platters and flash memory chips - so far have not gained wide market acceptance as well.

Intel Z68 core-logic is projected to be launched in mid-May, 2011, with immediate availability of mainboards from different makers.

Intel did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: Intel, SSD, Larsen Creek, Z68, Core

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