Be sure to read our latest SSD article: The SSD Relapse for an updated look at the SSD market.

No one really paid much attention to Intel getting into the SSD (Solid State Disk) business. We all heard the announcements, we heard the claims of amazing performance, but I didn't really believe it. After all, it was just a matter of hooking up a bunch of flash chips to a controller and putting them in a drive enclosure, right?

 

The closer we got to release and the more time I spent with competing products, the more I realized that Intel's biggest launch of 2008 wasn't going to be Nehalem - it was going to be its SSDs. If Intel could price them right, and if Intel could deliver on the performance, the biggest upgrade you could do for your PC - whether desktop or notebook, wouldn't be to toss in a faster CPU, it would be to migrate to one of these SSDs. Combine Nehalem and one of these mythical SSDs and you were in for a treat. But that was a big if...Intel still had to deliver.

We already talked about the drives back at IDF. The Intel X25-M and the X18-M, available in 80GB capacities, 2.5" and 1.8" form factors (respectively) with 160GB versions on the way. Today we are allowed to share performance data and pricing information, one of which is more impressive than the other. Intel will be selling the X25-M at $595 MSRP through OEMs and channel vendors, although I hear the street price may be lower.

 

Both of the -M models are based on Intel's MLC flash, while a X25-E using SLC flash will be due out by the end of this year. I'll detail the differences in a bit.

The pricing is rough, that puts Intel's X25-M at cheaper than SLC drives on the market but more expensive than MLC drives. Your options are effectively to get a 128GB MLC drive, an 80GB Intel X25-M or a 64GB SLC drive. But as you can expect, I wouldn't be quite this excited if the decision were that easy. Over the next several pages we're going to walk through the architecture of a NAND flash based SSD, investigate the problems with current MLC drives (and show how the Intel drive isn't affected) and finally compare the performance of the Intel drive to MLC, SLC and standard hard drives (both 2.5" and 3.5") in a slew of real world applications.

If you want to know the ending first I won't make you wait. Intel absolutely delivered with its first SSDs. After I completed my initial testing of the drive I sent AnandTech Senior Editor, Gary Key a message:

"I think Intel just Conroe’d the HDD market."

Honestly, within 6 months I'd expect it to be just as important to have one of these drives in your system, as your boot/application drive, as it was to have Conroe in your system back in 2006. The only issue here, the only problem I have is the price. I was hoping for something much lower from Intel and although the pricing is justified based on the performance, it ensures that the X25-M like most high performance SSDs, remains a luxury item.

While the X25-M isn't the world's fastest storage device across the board, it is among the fastest. And in the areas that it does dominate, it does so unbelievably well. The other great thing? You’ve got one of the world’s fastest hard drives, and it can fit in your notebook.

Let's get to it.

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  • Donkey2008 - Monday, September 08, 2008 - link


    Starting sentences with a conjunction is acceptable, but it is considered bad prose. You are giving everyone a headache. Go take your ritalin.
    Reply
  • ggordonliddy - Monday, September 08, 2008 - link

    As you stated, my English usage was correct.

    And I'm not the one writing the article; the burden is much greater on the people who are being PAID to write, as it should be. They are setting the example for others.
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Thursday, September 11, 2008 - link

    As a paying customer I urge you to ask for a refund. Reply
  • Jingato - Monday, September 08, 2008 - link

    What kind of loser gives a f*** about improper use of commas? This aint a novel, it's a friggin tech site.

    lol get a life.
    Reply
  • ggordonliddy - Monday, September 08, 2008 - link

    You are just making it clear that you do not have a firm grasp of English. You are afraid of those who criticize poor grammar, because you know that you yourself will be exposed for the fraudulent pustule that lies beneath your slimy veneer.

    I have a life. I'm just sick of illiterate authors. Just because it is a tech site is no excuse for extremely poor writing skills. I'm talking about skills that should be completely mastered before being allowed to graduate from elementary school.
    Reply
  • Jingato - Tuesday, September 09, 2008 - link

    No, I just don't give a f***.....there's a difference.

    I think you're being way too over critical. Maybe it's you OCD kicking in. If those incorrect commas really bothered you THAT much, then you should seek professional help. Seriously, that's not normal.
    Reply
  • aeternitas - Thursday, September 11, 2008 - link

    If you dont give a ****, then shut the hell up. Reply
  • Gannon - Tuesday, September 09, 2008 - link

    Anand's editors should get this:

    http://www.whitesmoke.com/landing_flash/free_hotfo...">http://www.whitesmoke.com/landing_flash...otforwor...

    I've used it, it is not currently on this machine but what you do is you press "F2" and it checks your grammar and makes suggestings and points out errors, etc.
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Tuesday, September 09, 2008 - link

    From your comment:

    "You are afraid of those who criticize poor grammar, because you know that you yourself will be exposed for the fraudulent pustule that lies beneath your slimy veneer."

    "... that you yourself will be exposed ..." should, in fact, be properly punctuated with commas like so: "... that you, yourself, will be exposed ..."

    I agree that grammar is important. But you have to admit that screwing up on comma usage while pointing out someone screwing up on comma usage is funny.

    ...

    Also, while it isn't an excuse, the last two days of work on this article were sleepless ... Anand wanted to get it up much sooner, and sometimes we have to make the decision to get the article out quickly rather than to send it through our managing editor.

    We do always appreciate people pointing out spelling and grammar errors in our articles. We never want to over shadow the content with other issues.
    Reply
  • ggordonliddy - Tuesday, September 09, 2008 - link

    > "... that you yourself will be exposed ..." should,
    > in fact, be properly punctuated with commas like so:
    > "... that you, yourself, will be exposed ..."
    >
    > I agree that grammar is important. But you have to admit
    > that screwing up on comma usage while pointing out someone
    > screwing up on comma usage is funny.


    Wrong. A comma is not required between "you yourself." See http://www.selfknowledge.com/109331.htm">http://www.selfknowledge.com/109331.htm and other examples.

    I am a bit sorry for being so abrasive in my original post though. Run-on sentences just drive me nuts.
    Reply

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