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Intel 34-nm SSDs Officially Launched, Cheaper

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 27 comments

They're the same, only newer, cheaper and faster.

Yesterday we brought you word that new Intel SSDs were on their way, which is true, but sadly not with as much new hotness as we had hoped.

Intel today announced its more advanced Solid State Drive built using the 34-nm manufacturing process. The new technology will replace the old drives that used the 50-nm process.

Intel isn't introducing any new products just yet. In fact, the new drives using the more advanced technology will be using the exact same model names as the previous generation - Intel X25-M available in 80 GB and 160 GB versions.

Intel said that keeping with the same product number because the focus for this new generation was in manufacturing, not so much performance (even though early numbers show a small speed boost).

Compared to its previous 50-nm version, the new Intel X25-M offers improved latency and faster random write Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS). Specifically, Intel's new SSD provides a 25 percent reduction in latency, for quicker access to data, operating at 65-microsecond latency compared to approximately 4,000 microseconds for an HDD.

"Our goal was to not only be first to achieve 34nm NAND flash memory lithography, but to do so with the same or better performance than our 50nm version," said Randy Wilhelm, Intel vice president and general manager, Intel NAND Solutions Group. "We made quite an impact with our breakthrough SSDs last year, and by delivering the same or even better performance with today's new products, our customers, both consumers and manufacturers, can now enjoy them at a fraction of the cost."

The move to 34nm will help lower prices of the SSDs up to 60 percent. New channel prices for the X25-M 80 GB are $225 for quantities up to 1,000 units. The 160 GB version is $440 (down from $945 at introduction) for quantities up to 1,000 units.

Oh, and how can you tell if which X25-M you might be buying? The new ones are silver while the old ones are black.

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  • 5 Hide
    Greg_77 , July 21, 2009 6:12 PM
    If they lowered the price by 60% then I would certainly buy a SSD.
  • 5 Hide
    The_Blood_Raven , July 21, 2009 6:14 PM
    The day we can get below the 1GB per $1 ratio then I'll be interested in SSDs.
  • 6 Hide
    Ramar , July 21, 2009 6:19 PM
    I'm tempted now, as 80GB for the root drive is nothing to laugh at. However, in a year I may be rethinking that purchase. =P With GTA4 at 16GB, it's a much more sound decision to wait til the 160GB is 300 dollars or lower. Maybe next year this same time or right before Christmas?
  • -1 Hide
    doomsdaydave11 , July 21, 2009 6:36 PM
    I'm actually quite happy with my 500GB WD Caviar Black. Fast drive... sometimes even 100Mbps read speeds and 90Mbps write speeds. SSD's are clearly better in every way when compared to HDD's, but they're just astronomically expensive. If speed is what you want, money is better spent on 2 VelociRaptors in a RAID array... as long as you back up your data.
  • -3 Hide
    fulle , July 21, 2009 6:54 PM
    You know, even if price wasn't an issue (which is always is), I'd still have a hard time deciding whether I want to run my system with 2 10000RPM VelociRaptors in RAID, or to use a setup with a SSD+HDD for storage, or 2 SSD, and so on. Honestly, I'd STILL run the VelociRaptors instead, priced the same, due to the fact that the SSD's performance in my Photo Editing software would be completely unacceptable. Loading a Crysis map in 2 minutes compared to 3 isn't really compelling enough when the write speeds suck this bad. The tradeoff isn't even close to being worth it... and capacity is too low to have these drives boot programs (not to mention how annoying it would be to try to stuff 2 Raptors and a SSD into my system).

    SSDs still have a ways to go before I'd consider them useful. As is, they'd have to be LESS money than some of the higher end HDDs for me to consider... and given those are around $1.3 for Gigabyte... I agree with The_Blood_Raven. These drives would need to be priced at roughly $1 per gigabyte for me to be interested. As ridiculous as that might sound to some...
  • 0 Hide
    doomtomb , July 21, 2009 6:59 PM
    I might be willing to drop the bank for SSDs soon as they are $2 to 1GB but the golden day will be $1 to 1GB. Still too expensive these days for my OS + programs in a RAID-0 configuration :/ 
  • -4 Hide
    hillarymakesmecry , July 21, 2009 7:01 PM
    So as consumers we won't really have any idea if we're buying an x25 50nm or 34 nm? I hope they spell it out on the box. Otherwise you might be getting one that's slower and uses more power.

    Cheers for the price drop! I only pay $100 for my HD's though and my old 74gb raptor is still running strong. Keep bringing those prices down!
  • 0 Hide
    Hanin33 , July 21, 2009 7:04 PM
    when comparing speed and performance... why compare these hy priced and 'advanced' SSDs to sata drives? why not to SAS drives of the 15k rpm variety? the pricing would tend to come out the same for SAS drives and the controller price is a 1-time hit that can carry over to future systems... so how do these SSDs compare to something meant to perform, SAS 15k rpm drives?
  • 1 Hide
    rcpratt , July 21, 2009 7:04 PM
    hillarymakesmecrySo as consumers we won't really have any idea if we're buying an x25 50nm or 34 nm? I hope they spell it out on the box. Otherwise you might be getting one that's slower and uses more power.Cheers for the price drop! I only pay $100 for my HD's though and my old 74gb raptor is still running strong. Keep bringing those prices down!

    The new drives have a different part number. At newegg, both Intel X25-M models are listed as either unavailable or sold out. I expect they have been draining their stock for the past few weeks and will explicitly list the new drives soon.
  • 2 Hide
    anamaniac , July 21, 2009 7:22 PM
    I still use a 80 gig HDD (with a second 250 gig), so using a 80 gig such as that wouldn't be bad.

    Sexy, actually a decent price, and great performance. Who doesn't want one? SSD's should hit the consumer market heavily soon if this rate keeps up.
  • 1 Hide
    rockyjohn , July 21, 2009 7:38 PM
    These are getting pretty to close to the price I will buy at. The prices for some of the other maufacturers are there now - they just need to clean up some of the performance issues.

    I am just wondering why Seagate and WD have not come forward with their entries yet - I hope it means they will have something big price/performance wise when they do announce.
  • 1 Hide
    jwl3 , July 21, 2009 8:25 PM
    Considering that 4 years ago, I bought a 74GB Raptor for the same price premium over an equivalent cheaper slower HD, I will definitely be buying an X25M, which would give me so much more of a performance step up than my Raptor did back then.

    The Raptor was maybe 20% faster than a regular hd whereas this thing should be at least 200% faster.
  • -1 Hide
    megamanx00 , July 21, 2009 8:31 PM
    I'll stick with my 1TB drive thanks.
  • 2 Hide
    Area51 , July 21, 2009 8:32 PM
    Hanin33when comparing speed and performance... why compare these hy priced and 'advanced' SSDs to sata drives? why not to SAS drives of the 15k rpm variety? the pricing would tend to come out the same for SAS drives and the controller price is a 1-time hit that can carry over to future systems... so how do these SSDs compare to something meant to perform, SAS 15k rpm drives?


    Well the best a SAS drive can do is about 150 IOPS while the Intel SSD's can get up to 36000 read and about 6000 Writes. Also the latency is almost none existence and they do draw significantly less power. Also you can use the ICH that is almost in every device to achieve a great RAID config without paying for an expansive controller.
  • 2 Hide
    Hanin33 , July 21, 2009 8:58 PM
    Area51Well the best a SAS drive can do is about 150 IOPS while the Intel SSD's can get up to 36000 read and about 6000 Writes. Also the latency is almost none existence and they do draw significantly less power. Also you can use the ICH that is almost in every device to achieve a great RAID config without paying for an expansive controller.


    your numbers are highly exaggerated... there's a reason why commercial and industrial workstation installations still use SCSI and SAS over SATA and SSDs...
  • 1 Hide
    cdillon , July 21, 2009 9:23 PM
    Hanin33your numbers are highly exaggerated... there's a reason why commercial and industrial workstation installations still use SCSI and SAS over SATA and SSDs...


    Wrong. The reason that mid to high-end servers and workstations still use SCSI (including SAS and FC) has nothing to do with performance figures, exaggerated or not. You can get fast or slow drives using any interface. The SCSI protocol has RAS (Reliability, Availability, Serviceability) features that the SATA protocol lacks. That is the only reason that SATA drives of any kind, SSD or otherwise, aren't used in mid to high-end servers and workstations. And yes, SAS SSDs do exist, check out the STEC ZeusIOPS line of SAS and FibreChannel(!) SSD drives. If you think these Intel SSDs are expensive, though, check those STEC drives out. Make sure you're sitting down, first, don't want you to hit your head when you faint after you see the price.
  • 1 Hide
    apache_lives , July 21, 2009 9:25 PM
    performance = premium, its always been that way

    cant afford performance? buy mainstream ;) 
  • -2 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , July 21, 2009 11:03 PM
    Intel released it in my favorite color! =D Too bad I have to cut my legs off and give it to them for my favorite color.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 21, 2009 11:33 PM
    What happened to 320GB?
  • 0 Hide
    Shnur , July 22, 2009 12:41 AM
    I was exactly shopping for an SSD, I'll still have a 500GB and 1TB drive to back me up with the data storage.
    For the first time their "Extreme" label doesn't mean 5x price premium
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