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Intel Denies Rumors of SSD Market Exit

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 12 comments

Intel will stick to flash memory businesses, contrary to recent reports. We spoke to Intel contacts several days ago and they indicated that the company has no intentions of leaving the flash memory business despite reports suggesting otherwise. Intel recently announced several initiatives to enter the solid state drive (SSD) business and even made a point that it would help mass produce SSD drives to help bring prices down.

Intel SSD Teaser

The company also invests heavily with other memory partners, such as Micron, on joint ventures in the flash business. Although in recent years, the memory business has suffered some, Intel continually shows strong investment in this sector.

Intel recently demonstrated systems running with its own SSD drives at Computex this year. What we witnessed was both speedy read and write performance, and quiet operation. The drives themselves were running relatively cool to the touch.

In terms of competition, Intel has a number of very competitive companies it’s up against. Seagate, Samsung and several other companies are vying for the SSD market. Samsung for example recently announced SATA 2 SSD drives that delivery very fast performance. According to Samsung, its new drives deliver a read speed of 200MB/sec. and 160MB/sec. write speeds — far ahead of the competition. While Intel has not shared with us yet details about the performance of its new SSD drives, Intel did indicate that due to high quality controllers and optimizations, customers can expect competitive performance. Competitive is a relative term at this point until we’re able to confirm numbers.

Intel is set to introduce drives with capacities of 160GB and 200GB. Samsung’s SATA 2 SSD drive will ship at 256GB with other offerings on the side.

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  • 0 Hide
    nachowarrior , June 23, 2008 4:38 PM
    i just rechecked ssd prices after not bothering to look at them for about 2 months... they're really improving pretty quickly. when the prices get to around $2/gig, i think i'll buy a 30 gig for my boot and os/games/programs. I'm pretty excited about how fast the price/size/performance ratio is moving.
  • 0 Hide
    christianspoer , June 23, 2008 5:07 PM
    I had the chance to talk to an Intel rep. a couple of weeks ago. He is rather high in the foodchain in Europe/Scandinavia. I asked him what Intel had up its sleeve that would differentiate them from other manufacturers in this market. He couldn't be excact due to NDA's and what not, but said: "Just wait and see when our products come out!" He sounded very proud when saying it and everything indicated, that Intel would enter this market with a bang...
  • 0 Hide
    Turas , June 23, 2008 5:21 PM
    been hearing that for a while now. I am just ready for them to do it already. These announcements coming out a year ahead of time is killing me with anitcipation.
  • 0 Hide
    blackwidow_rsa , June 23, 2008 11:42 PM
    Didn't even know there were rumours..
  • 0 Hide
    JonathanDeane , June 24, 2008 12:36 AM
    I hope Intel does go into flash drives, I am thinking an internal raid like structure between the cells of the SSD could make for some crazy bandwidth.
  • 1 Hide
    Turas , June 24, 2008 5:18 AM
    well we were hearing number like double what is currently out which sounded good. I was very excited that they were able to get there so fast. But since they are not here I have a feeling they will end up being just another ssd maker. Don't get me wrong, the more hte merrier as prices will come down. With Samsung's latest announcement of like 250 read/150 write and coming out this year it seems we did not have to wait on Intel for performance. Also Mtron just announced there pro 7500 series which sounds pretty much like the Samssung specs. I don't see Intel leapfrogging over these new specs.
  • -1 Hide
    shachar2 , June 24, 2008 8:17 AM
    Prices are still high and drives are still small for SSD drives that are on the market today.
    it's going to take at least 6-12 months until new drives comes out and prices come down
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 24, 2008 1:53 PM
    Don't get your hope up too much, Intel have entered a number of markets, played around then left when it suited them and this will be no different. Network hardware comes more prominently to mind. I remember them making all sorts sales pitch's about their layer 2 swith's etc only to last a few years then pull everything. Same for graphics cards, I can clearly remember their claims with the i740 chipset, that didn't even officially support XP from memory of how long that venture lasted.
  • 0 Hide
    plbyrd , June 24, 2008 9:56 PM
    Hopefully SSDs will accelerate the pace of development for drive interfaces, or that the SSD manufacturers come up with a completely new standard that is much friendlier to the format. Motherboards have so many standard features that the PCI-Ex slots on most PC's go unused and I would have no problem putting a high-speed controller in my PC to truly take advantage of the capabilities of SSD.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 25, 2008 4:29 AM
    After just recently attending an ICC here in town I can say that Intel made it very clear that they were going to be releasing a SSD product. Unfortunately no specs were released but it seemed very promising.
  • -1 Hide
    bf2gameplaya , July 9, 2008 2:36 PM
    The only thing preventing someone from taking complete control over your computer at any time is the fact that your HDD needs to be powered and spinning.

    Once solid state storage becomes popular, I can 100% guarantee that virii, trojans and other malware will be able to infect your PC, while it is otherwise OFF.

    If you don't hear disk access, or see the blinking light, how would you know if your data is being accessed, or if it isn't?
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    martin0642 , July 9, 2008 4:10 PM
    Funny comments. For those who think the numbers are "fast" and that Intel "cant possibly" do better, please observe:

    http://www.fusionio.com/PDFs/FusionDataSheet.pdf

    And their just a startup, not a multi-billion dollar corporation with almost 40 years in the market.

    I think the next 5 years is going to really reshape computing a lot more than the last 10. CPU parallelism, optical interconnects, ray tracing, and finally solid state storage is going to have more effect that people realize. Mix that in with all the advances in the biotech industry, and it's going to be an interesting time to be a carbon based meatsack.

    PS: Thats not the only thing stopping people from taking control over your computer. SSDs are no different than conventional disks in this manner, the system is either on or off. You cant start up a system with the processor powered down, no matter what the hard drive is based on. A more realistic threat, is flash memory on the motherboard and processes having access to CPU ring -1, so that even virus software wont know the virus is running your whole system as a VM. It's time to trash your motherboard then, because you could never really know if your own Hypervisor was really at -1 or if something else was just emulating it.