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10/15/2008
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Intel Ships SSDs For Servers, Storage Systems

Intel plans to start sending samples of a 64-GB SSD this quarter to computer makers, with the larger drive set to go into production in the first quarter of next year.

Intel on Wednesday started shipping its 32-GB solid-state drives for servers, workstations, and storage systems.

The X25E Extreme SATA SSD features Intel's 50-nanometer single-level cell NAND flash memory technology, which delivers 35,000 read input/output operations per second and 3,300 write IOPS, according to Intel. The read latency is 75 microseconds.

Intel claims its SSD delivers 100 times better performance than hard disk drives, as measured in IOPS. In addition, the drives, which have no moving parts, can also lower energy costs and are more reliable. SSDs, however, are also many times more expensive.

The X25E Extreme consumes 2.4 watts when active and delivers 14,000 IOPS per watt, Intel said. The device achieves up to 250 MB per second of sequential read speeds and up to 170 MB per second sequential write speeds. The drive is in a 2.5-inch form factor.

Intel plans to start sending samples of a 64-GB SSD this quarter to computer makers. The larger drive is set to go into production in the first quarter of next year. The 32-GB version, which is in production now, is priced at $695 in quantities up to 1,000. The smaller drive is capable of writing up to 4 PB of data over a three-year period before it needs to be replaced. The 64-GB version can write up to double the data during the same time frame.

Intel competitors in the SSD market include Samsung Electronics, which announced this month that its 32-GB and 64-GB drives would be offered in Hewlett-Packard's ProLiant BL495c virtualization blade server. The devices have a read speed of 100 Mbps and a write speed of 80 Mbps, according to Samsung. The device's power consumption is 0.5 watt in active mode and 0.1 watt in sleep mode.

While SSD vendors focus on the advantages, a major disadvantage of the drives is their price, which is many times higher than hard drives. As a result, most experts recommend the use of SSDs in data center systems where speed and the other SSD attributes outweigh the added cost.

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