Intel will reportedly release a product in 4Q13 or 1Q14 that can "overclock" solid-state drives, or SSDs. Intel hasn't exactly explained what this product will be, but said on Friday that it has scheduled a block of time during the Intel Developers Forum taking place in San Francisco just weeks away to discuss the possibility.
According to Intel's website, the session will be called "Overclocking Underclocked Intel Core Processors for High Performance Gaming and Content Creation," and is aimed at system manufacturers, developers and the build-it-yourself PC gamer crowd. That said, Intel has no plans to go into specifics about the unannounced tech, but will merely offer a demonstration of SSD overclocking.
"This is a product we're looking into but we have not released yet. So I'm not able to go into great detail about a future product ... as far as specs and such," said Alan Frost, marketing and communications manager for Intel.
Intel executives are reportedly still trying to figure out how to market an SSD with flexible provisioning properties. "We've debated how people would use it," Frost added. "I think the cool factor is somewhat high on this, but we don't see it changing the macro-level environment. But, as far as being a trendsetter, it has potential."
It's believed that Intel's new mystery product is the next evolution of the SandForce controller that will be user definable, providing the ability to allocate specified storage sizes on the SSD. Compression of data may also be involved, thus virtually increasing the capacity size beyond the physical limits. Compression would also increase performance, as it would take less time to move compressed data to and from the NAND flash storage than it would the same uncompressed data. Yet allocating a percentage of the SSD's physical capacity for compression could shorten the drive's overall endurance.
"If you overclock and get faster performance and capacity and sacrifice endurance by doing so, well, then you could still enjoy the benefits if you are in a mostly read-intensive environment," said Joseph Unsworth, Gartner's NAND flash and SSD research vice president. "I suspect DataCenter server IT admins would also be savvy enough (especially at hyperscale level) to exploit this advantage."
Frost told Computerworld that the unannounced overclocking product will not address the average consumer who is likely still trying to figure out what a solid-state drive actually is. He admitted that while SSD penetration is definitely getting better, overall, the market is still rather small.
For more information about Intel's overclocking session taking place in a few weeks, head here.