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Intel Phasing Out SSDs with 50nm Flash

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 19 comments

It's time for the first generation of Intel SSDs to retire and be sent out to the pasture.

X-bit Labs reports that Intel plans to discontinue its 1st-generaton of solid state drives manufactured under the 50nm process: the X25-M and the X18-M. While the site doesn't provide a source, we assume the announcement was made this week during the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) where Intel disclosed the secrets behind its 34nm process technology.

As it stands, the first-generation SSDs--the 50nm X25-M and X18-M offering 80 GB and 160 GB capacities--will be discontinued. Additionally, orders for the drives will no longer be accepted, and they will not be cancellable after April 20, 2010. Intel expects to ship the final batch of first-generation SSDs in August 2010.

The 50nm X25-M and X18-M originally appeared on the market in August 2008. Consumers didn't have to wait long for a successor, however: Intel's second-generation batch was released in late July 2009. It's estimated that the product life for a SSD model is a little over a year, shorter than the lifespan of CPUs.

This week at IEDM, Intel revealed its 2nd generation high-k/metal gate transistors that offer better performance than resistors used last year. The company said that performance has been boosted by 5-percent and 13-percent for NMOS and PMOS, respectively. Intel also revealed that SRAM array density, at 4.2 Mbit/mm2, is the highest reported array density for a 34nm or 28nm technology.

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  • 26 Hide
    fonzy , December 11, 2009 10:06 PM
    Now if only they could phase out the ridiculous high prices.
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , December 11, 2009 9:13 PM
    Nice to know that when I finally do decide to get an SSD, it'll be better than the 1st generation SSDs :) 
  • 6 Hide
    philologos , December 11, 2009 9:22 PM
    Intel, please come out with second generation "E" class drives. Don't bury SLC flash. And another thing, I hate how they were labeled "enterprise" class. That's just bad marketing - discouraging home users from purchasing them. They will fly in a desktop just like a server. The same thing bothers me about Xeon processors and ECC memory.

    At least there's always OCZ Agility/Vertex EX keeping SLC alive
  • 1 Hide
    ssalim , December 11, 2009 9:50 PM
    Hopefully the prices will be lower... like 1TB for $100. lol!
  • 26 Hide
    fonzy , December 11, 2009 10:06 PM
    Now if only they could phase out the ridiculous high prices.
  • 0 Hide
    kamel5547 , December 11, 2009 10:35 PM
    philologosIntel, please come out with second generation "E" class drives. Don't bury SLC flash. And another thing, I hate how they were labeled "enterprise" class. That's just bad marketing - discouraging home users from purchasing them. They will fly in a desktop just like a server. The same thing bothers me about Xeon processors and ECC memory.At least there's always OCZ Agility/Vertex EX keeping SLC alive


    Actually I think in all cases (slc,xeon, ecc memory) price discourages the consumer more than anything.

    As far as all three most consumers have little to gain (and really other than multi-P boxes who needs a Xeon?) from any of these technologies. Really SLC offers a limited return if only one person is accessing the drive. Xeon's offer no benefit IMHO(sure the extra valadation is nice CYA if you are running a critical server but in reality the nosebleed price gives you equivalent performance of consumer models with the exception of multi-P configurations. ECC pretty much falls into the same category.
  • 2 Hide
    rigaudio , December 11, 2009 11:40 PM
    Damn...and I just bought an X-25 M :( 
  • 0 Hide
    Deadfred , December 12, 2009 12:59 AM
    I'm looking forward to the large capacity SSD's with much lower $$ per GB price point than today. My experience with drives larger that 1TB is about 50% are DOA (or fail within a month). I'm hoping that SSD tech will not only give us great performance, but a much more reliable drive.
  • 1 Hide
    christop , December 12, 2009 1:27 AM
    first gen 2nd gen still cost way too much for such little storage...
  • 1 Hide
    liquidsnake718 , December 12, 2009 1:58 AM
    Next year will be worth the wait for SSD prices to drop, that will be the year for SSDs to become mainstream finally hitting prices at arounf $150 for mainstream >100gb SSDs....
  • 3 Hide
    xero9200 , December 12, 2009 9:08 AM
    "This week at IEDM, Intel revealed its 2nd generation high-k/metal gate transistors that offer better performance than resistors used last year"

    How does a transistor have better performance than a resistor?
  • 1 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , December 12, 2009 12:39 PM
    Wait and see what else is coming out on those smaller dies.
  • -1 Hide
    rambo117 , December 13, 2009 12:28 AM
    is the lifespan seriously that short? only a year?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 13, 2009 1:41 AM
    rambo117is the lifespan seriously that short? only a year?

    I think they were referring to the Product Development and sales period.

    That is to say, from the point that a product is developed and released to manufacturing for distribution to retailers, to the time that a Newer, better model is developed and released to manufacturing and distribution.

    Whether they discontinue the previous model is entirely up to the manufacturer as Intel seems to be doing with the X25 series.
  • 0 Hide
    rambo117 , December 13, 2009 2:19 AM
    Renegade_WarriorI think they were referring to the Product Development and sales period.That is to say, from the point that a product is developed and released to manufacturing for distribution to retailers, to the time that a Newer, better model is developed and released to manufacturing and distribution.Whether they discontinue the previous model is entirely up to the manufacturer as Intel seems to be doing with the X25 series.

    ohh, i see. Thanks for clearing that for me.
  • 1 Hide
    thephilly , December 14, 2009 5:47 PM
    I really don't see this causing any significant drop in the price of other SSDs.
  • -1 Hide
    jellico , December 14, 2009 6:29 PM
    I just order a couple of new drives for my machine today. I want to upgrade to Windows 7 from Vista, but I need to copy all of the data off of my 2x 500GB drives in RAID 0 configuration. I knew I wanted a 1TB WD Caviar Black for my main storage drive, but was still going back and forth between a 150GB WD VelociRaptor drive or a comparably priced 30GB or 40GB SSD for my primary drive. I finally decided to go with the VelociRaptor drive because of its proven performance and higher capacity. I really wanted to play around with the SSDs, but the ones in that price point just aren't good enough, especially for that small of capacity.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 5, 2010 10:45 PM
    Newegg lists the X25-E as being no longer for sale but I dont understand why they would be phasing it out since it has top read times and the fastest write times than any of their other SSDs. can someone fill me in on this?????
  • 0 Hide
    philologos , January 5, 2010 11:45 PM
    I've heard through the proverbial grapeline that the Intel 25-E is due for some very necessary revisions some time this year. I think I recall 100GB, 200GB, and 400GB versions. I imagine these would be based on the smallest transistor node (34nm?). I certainly would expect TRIM support and all that jazz. Let me be clear by saying I full support MLC technology, but I also fear the possibility SLC might be reserved for enterprise markets instead of overlapping with enthusiast segments. I want innovation on all tiers of SSDs, yet without removing SLC from the enthusiast consumer markets.

    I'm encouraged by the progress that MLC drives have undergone recently, but it's important to me that SLC drives remain an option for enthusiast home system builders.