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New Intel SSDs In a Few Weeks?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 18 comments

Intel may ship new SSDs within the next few weeks based on its 32nm NAND flash memory.

Various reports today are pointing to rumors that Intel will be launching solid state drives (SSDs) based on the company's new 32nm NAND flash memory. Although the SSDs were originally scheduled to hit the market in Q4 2009, apparently the company bumped up the schedule with plans to release the new SSDs in just a matter of weeks instead; the company did confirm that it was ahead of schedule as far back as Q4 2008. Unfortunately, no real specifics were provided with today's report, and Intel has not released an official announcement.

Along with its memory-making partner Micron, Intel began mass-producing the 34nm NAND flash memory chips back in November 2008. The smaller manufacturing process enables the two companies to build individual chip layers with 32 gigabits (4 GB) of data in large batches using regular 300-mm wafers, all crammed into a standard package. In turn, the technology can provide eight cores per layer, allowing for a two-layer stack to provide up to 64 GB without additional chips.

For consumers holding off on changing out the standard hard drive, Intel's upcoming SSDs should be good news, as the drives will offer lower power consumption and lower prices thanks to the smaller (and cheaper) process node. On the performance front, the drives will benefit from SSD specific optimizations built right into Microsoft's upcoming operating system, Windows 7, when it's released this October.

According to The Inquirer, Intel will provide three versions: 80 GB, 160 GB, 320 GB and possibly larger sizes that are expected to replace most--if not all--laptop hard drives. The report also said that Intel seems quite optimistic about its SSD prospects in 2010. If everything holds true, expect an official announcement from Intel soon.

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Top Comments
  • 32 Hide
    Greg_77 , June 30, 2009 12:36 AM
    Hopefully they lower prices. That's all I'm waiting for.
  • 17 Hide
    cal8949 , June 30, 2009 3:32 AM
    hey we don't want cheap drives. we want inexpensive drives.
  • 13 Hide
    makotech222 , June 30, 2009 12:51 AM
    Sweeet i love SSD news! Cheaper is all i really care about at this point.
Other Comments
  • 32 Hide
    Greg_77 , June 30, 2009 12:36 AM
    Hopefully they lower prices. That's all I'm waiting for.
  • 3 Hide
    apache_lives , June 30, 2009 12:44 AM
    any news about higher performance?
  • 13 Hide
    makotech222 , June 30, 2009 12:51 AM
    Sweeet i love SSD news! Cheaper is all i really care about at this point.
  • 6 Hide
    kr33py , June 30, 2009 12:58 AM
    Give us cheap ssd's \o/
  • 7 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , June 30, 2009 1:13 AM
    Sweeeet. the keyword in here was "cheaper"
  • 4 Hide
    Vettedude , June 30, 2009 1:41 AM
    The more the merrier. It will help bring SSD prices down.
  • 2 Hide
    mdillenbeck , June 30, 2009 1:43 AM
    Will SSDs ever be as cheap as conventional HDD? Maybe, but not in the near future. As such, they will be "cheaper" but you will still have all those people who will say "but the price-per-GB is so horrible".

    I don't know, when I had my SSD a while back (SuperTalent 30GB for $400), I liked the performance I got out of it. I didn't like the increasing "OS not detected" error messages and the lack of drive detection at boot-up. However, I suspect the new round of Intel drivers will help push costs down. If they can really save on power (and heat) with Windows 7, then I might consider upgrading both on my laptop.
  • 1 Hide
    hakesterman , June 30, 2009 1:51 AM
    Performance to me is more important than being cheaper, the drives will last longer
    so the price differance will pay out. However the performance is what i'm worried
    about, are we going to get a fast drive with a mediocore controller or are we going
    to get the complete package. Intel just wants to be one of the front runners so my money
    is on them putting out a drive with an average speed controller for priceing purposes. Keep
    in mind SSD slow down over time as they become full of data, there is no defraging a SSD, so it
    is extremely important that the controller is premium to make up for it as the drive ages.
  • 17 Hide
    cal8949 , June 30, 2009 3:32 AM
    hey we don't want cheap drives. we want inexpensive drives.
  • 0 Hide
    aspireonelover , June 30, 2009 3:36 AM
    Hope it's more optimized. Cause I don't want the drive slowing down when my CPU drops the clock speed when idling.
    After that's fixed, then I'll decide if I wanna get it or not :D 
  • -1 Hide
    apache_lives , June 30, 2009 4:52 AM
    aspireoneloverHope it's more optimized. Cause I don't want the drive slowing down when my CPU drops the clock speed when idling.After that's fixed, then I'll decide if I wanna get it or not


    reguardless its still quicker then anything, and thats more a sotware issues not hardware if i remember correctly
  • 2 Hide
    apmyhr , June 30, 2009 12:00 PM
    Is it 32nm or is it 34nm? Your article seems to list both. I don't like to nitpick about bad spelling like other Tom's readers, but when it comes to numbers I think its important to do some proff-reading.
  • 0 Hide
    scook9 , June 30, 2009 12:50 PM
    what this will help to do that no one has mentioned, is bring down the price of the 32nm CPU chips as well. Since Intel now has 2 lines of products for recovering the R&D cost on the 32nm design. It pisses me off always hearing "smaller transistors mean lower price" because the reality is that they still always have a premium price as the newer products anyways. This is mostly because they can, but also to recover the R&D costs they put into the new fab process.

    That said...I am also one of the people who would be siked to see Intel get another top model out to market (with possibly some price that the rest of the world can afford)
  • 0 Hide
    theholylancer , June 30, 2009 1:01 PM
    if these are $ 1 per gb and are x25-M (or e :D ) then yes, i will not pay over a dollar a gb for anything lol, the current $4 per gb bs is just too rich for my blood
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 30, 2009 3:34 PM
    It's a good way to test drive their 32nm process, without sacrificing a bad name from when they decide to manufacture the higher speed processors on the 32nm die.

    Intel probably can live with making 'less good' or buggy SSD's (should it ever happen) as they are mainly known as a CPU manufacturer.

    I'm not expecting the 32nm process to have bugs, but you never know...

    It's probably also cheaper for when they finally decide to switch CPU's to 32nm; in other words, the 32nm Corei7 will most likely not be priced $999.
  • 1 Hide
    Kill@dor , June 30, 2009 6:54 PM
    32nm SSD paired with another 32nm CPU...thats ownage ^_^ I can't wait for those chips to come out.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 30, 2009 8:35 PM
    It's 34nm, and it's a different process than the CPU/chipset processes (not just the size, the manufacturing process flow is different too). It is also done in separate fabs as the IM flash venture is effectively split off - thus fabs producing these chips is different then the ones doing Intel's CPU and chipset production.

    So this has nothing to do with 'test driving' the 32nm process, sharing resources etc... in fact the fab engineering is kept separate between the IM venture and the rest of Intel.
  • 0 Hide
    anamaniac , June 30, 2009 11:06 PM
    I am happy to hear this.

    Nice to see SSDs may completely replace HDDs in laptops atleast sooner than expected.

    Though I still want a 5TB single 3.5" HDD for cheap mass storage.

    =D