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Intel Boosts PC Speed with New $125 Solid-State Drive
Intel Boosts PC Speed with New $125 Solid-State Drive

By Patricia Resende
March 15, 2010 3:21PM

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Intel says its new 40GB X25-V Value SATA solid-state drive will boot up PCs about four times faster than a 7200 RPM drive. At $125, Intel expects the X25-V Value SATA SSD to be affordable. Because of price, SSDs are becoming less dense, and Intel competitor OCZ Technology offers a faster and cheaper 40GB SSD that is expected to appeal to gamers.

Booting up PCs will be faster with Intel's new 40GB solid-state drive (SSD), the company said Monday. Intel has begun shipping the Intel X25-V Value SATA SSD.

Used in dual-drive notebook configurations or added to a desktop with an existing hard drive, the X25-V can contain the operating system and the user's favorite applications to make startup faster.

Considered a game-changing technology to replace hard drives, SSDs have been replacing traditional magnetic hard drives after they proved to be faster, more reliable, and more energy efficient.

Intel said the performance of its new SSD is nearly four times faster than a 7200 RPM hard drive.

"For partners and customers, this means that they experience the performance benefits of solid-state drives at an affordable entry-level price," said Debra Paquin, an Intel spokesperson. "Using an Intel X25-V Value SSD as a boot drive in a desktop means they will experience 43 percent faster system responsiveness, with faster startups or boots, quicker opening of applications, wake up from standby, and shutdowns."

Falling Capacity

Newer SSDs are being marketed to a specific segment of notebook users who want to increase speed without hurting their wallets. Intel's X25-V is priced at $125 and will be marketed for both notebooks and dual-drive desktops.

Gamers will see the biggest increase in performance, with an 86 percent jump in the gaming experience.

Along with faster speeds, the SATA SSD also includes Native Command Queuing technology, which enables users to have up to 32 concurrent operations. It also has 34nm NAND flash memory, which is one of the reasons for the change in density and price.

When SSDs first hit the market in 2008, they were in 32GB and 64GB versions. In 2009, the price dropped and the market saw 128GB and 56GB models.

"Now, however, people are holding off and waiting for prices to come down, but ever since Q2 of 2009 the price has gone up, not down," said Michael Yang, a senior analyst with iSuppli.

"The natural course is that when Intel and other SSD suppliers look at this market, the problem they see is that in 2010 NAND prices will not come down," Yang said. "Since maturity of SSD cost consists of NAND (between 80 to 90 percent), the only way to excite the market -- so to speak -- and ramp up adoption of SSD is to chop density."

OCZ First To Market

While Intel has its brand and marketing power behind its new SSD, it doesn't have a speed advantage. Just five days before Intel's announcement, rival OCZ Technology announced its own 40GB SSD.

OCZ, based in San Jose, Calif., unveiled its Onyx SATA II 2.5 SSD Series. Dubbed "an ultra-affordable" solution priced below $100, the SSD has multi-level cell-based solid-state storage and is faster, more durable, and cost-efficient compared to other hard drives, according to OCZ.

Both companies are expected to have a healthy adoption rate, Yang said. Intel will convince its enterprise customers and partners that 40GB is plenty for corporate laptops, and OCZ, which has a good name in gaming, will push to gamers looking for an extra boot drive.

The total market for SSDs will rise to $10.8 billion by 2013, a compound annual growth rate of 142 percent from 2008, according to iSuppli. And shipments will increase 115 percent to 65.2 million units by 2013.

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