Intel to Dramatically Boost Capacities of Solid-State Drives by Year End

Intel Readies 400GB SSDs for Enterprise, 600GB SSDs for Mainstream

by Anton Shilov
02/19/2010 | 04:21 AM

Intel Corp. is not historically known for its storage products, however, the company seems to be very aggressive in terms of capturing the market of solid-state drives (SSDs). By the end of the year the company plans to drastically boost capacities of its SSDs: the enterprise-class X25-E family will offer capacities up to 400GB, whereas the mainstream X25-M will provide up to whopping 600GB, according to sources familiar with Intel’s plans.

 

Intel will update its enterprise-class lineup of solid-state drives with code-named Lyndonville family of products, which will offer capacities of 100GB, 200GB and 400GB and will either complement or replace currently available X25-E SSDs with 32GB and 64GB capacities. The Lyndonville family due in Q4 2010 will be based on multi-level cell (MLC) flash made using 34nm fabrication process; by contrast, currently available X25-E drives feature 50nm single-level cell flash memory, which is supposed to offer higher reliability.

It is rather surprising that Intel decided to used MLC flash inside its enterprise-class solid-state drive since SLC is not only more reliable, but also offer much higher performance. Perhaps, Intel decided to concentrate on further improvement of SSD controllers and firmware and increase reliability and performance of multi-level cell memory instead of using expensive SLC chips.

Intel will also update its family of mainstream and consumer family of solid-state drives in the fourth quarter of the year. The code-name Postville Refresh solid-state drives will all be based on the MLC flash made using 20nm-class process technology at IM Flash fabs. The X25-M SSDs for desktops and mainstream notebooks will be available in 160GB, 300GB and 600GB capacities, the X18-M drives for thin-and-light notebooks will offer 160GB and 300GB of storage space, whereas the value X25-V will provide 80GB of  free capacity.

Prices of the forthcoming solid-state drives are unknown and it remains to be seen whether increased amount of storage space will actually increase popularity of SSDs on the mainstream market. By the end of the year 300GB and 600GB capacities will be much lower than mainstream hard disk drives will be able to offer, still, both models will offer plenty of space for operating system as well as software that should benefit from quick load time.

Intel did not comment on the news-story.