What’s Intel Doing?

From now until Q4 2010, the X25-M G2 appears to be the best we’ll get from Intel. In the 4th quarter of the year we’ll get the first 25nm ONFI 3.0 based MLC NAND SSDs from Intel.


25nm IMFT 2-bit MLC NAND Flash, 8GB, 167mm2

Available in 600GB, 300GB and 160GB configurations these drives will finally address Intel’s uncompetitive sequential write speeds. Not to mention see a healthy boost in random performance as well. The 300GB and 160GB drives will also be available in 1.8” form factors. The X25-V will also get a bump up to 80GB thanks to 25nm NAND.

Around the same time we’ll see a refresh in the X25-E space with 34nm MLC flash. Yep, you read that right. Intel appears to be going after the enterprise market with MLC flash. Which means that Intel’s third generation SSD controller is going to have write amplification under control in a serious way.

Until then, we won’t see anything new from Intel. These next couple of quarters will be spent ramping up 34nm NAND production and watching newcomer SandForce duke it out with Crucial/Micron.

Crucial/Micron RealSSD C300 - The Closest Competitor Samsung Finally Gets TRIM
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  • allessd - Saturday, February 20, 2010 - link

    maybe this site is of interest to you:

    "SSD Decoder Ring - an SSD comparison guide"
    www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=736
    Reply
  • Jupie - Saturday, February 20, 2010 - link

    Great article - always nice to hear about SSDs as I clearly see them as the future for a boot drive at least.
    What I'm curious about is the performance of drives of the same series with different capacities. I'm not willing to spend ~800 USD on a drive but rather ~400 USD. How much performance hit does a Real SSD C300 really take? Manufactors clearly seem to prefer to send their biggest drives with the highest performance to test but what about the performance of the reasonalbe priced ~100 GB versions?

    Would be great to read about that as well ;o)
    Otherwise keep up the good articles!
    Reply
  • MadMan007 - Saturday, February 20, 2010 - link

    Yeah this is an important point, it applies to regular HDs to a much lesser extent too. I would like to see tests on smaller capacity drives of a given series. I guess a lot depends on implentation, for example using the same number of flash chips with a given controller just of a lower capacity per chip versus using fewer flash chips and channels. Reply
  • Conscript - Friday, February 19, 2010 - link

    Not sure why I'd pay the premium for "limited" SF-1500 drives when I can just get the same thing here, for less...

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/internal_storage/Me...">http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/internal_storage/Me...

    Anand, any chance you think they'd give you one for review? Thinking about putting one of these in my new MBP (when they come out). Unless the new MBP has SATA 3, in which case I might look hard at the C300.
    Reply
  • iwodo - Friday, February 19, 2010 - link

    May be Anand can do an article on that. You mention previously that controller contribute VERY little to the total cost of SSD. NAND being the major part.

    If that is the case, then assuming we always need 8 chips for an SSD. SSD Prices wont ever dropped below $100? Because while capacity per unit will grow, it seems minimum unit prices dont fall that much.
    Reply
  • icrf - Saturday, February 20, 2010 - link

    Yeah, I'd love to see a reliable, slow 8-16 GB drive for $50. I've got a RAID server that can't seem to keep up boot drives and would love something like that. Reply
  • Bolas - Friday, February 19, 2010 - link

    So if I'm willing to spend up to $1200 for a boot drive, what's the best option? Crucial? Vertex LE? Intel? OCZ Z-Drive? Something else? Reply
  • czesiu - Friday, February 19, 2010 - link

    Any chances for a Kingston SNV425 review? Reply
  • mckirkus - Friday, February 19, 2010 - link

    I would like to see what pure RAM drive based storage would do so we can get a sense of how close these drives are getting to some sort of maximum.

    I'm not sure if you can do this with a RAMDisk you create with software or if and entire image would need to run in RAM (HDTach, etc., will not work on RAM drives for some reason. Just to be clear, I'm not referring to benchmarks of RAM using a SATA interface.

    Good stuff yet again Anand.
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Friday, February 19, 2010 - link

    There is no "sort of maximum", DRAM keeps getting faster.

    However, if you were to create and use a RAMDISK, however you ended up doing so, it would destroy any flash drive in terms of performance on every possible parameter. The question is not about performance at all, rather the implementation and volatile nature of using it... and of course that it's no small feat to end up with hundreds of GB worth of those chips for typical HDD replacement purposes (in a reasonably sized form factor).
    Reply

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