Intel X-25M solid-state drive
Stunningly Special SSD?
Review After leaks galore about Intel’s foray into solid-state drives, we’ve finally got our hands on an 80GB X25-M - dial 'M' for 'mainstream'.
Intel's X-25M and X-18M: dial 'm' for 'mainstream'
The X25 and X18 family of SSDs will both be initially available in 80GB versions. There's a 160GB X25 due in Q4. The X25 and X18 differ in terms of their form-factor. As the model codes suggests, the X25 has a laptop-friendly 2.5in form factor while the X18 is a dinky 1.8 incher.
In Q4, Intel will introduce the Extreme X25-E - 'E' for 'extreme' - SSD in 32GB and 64GB versions for the server market but these are a different kettle of fish to the X24 and X18 as they use single-layer cell (SLC) NAND Flash memory where the M uses multi-layer cell (MLC) NAND Flash.
Inside the X-25M
Using different cell technology means that the extreme products have far higher write speeds than the mainstream products: 170MB/s compared to 70MB/s, although the read speed is the same, 250MB/s for both series. No doubt the price will also be extreme, but the kicker for desktop PC jockeys is the lower storage capacity.
You missed the interesting part...
Supposedly the interesting thing with intels SSD is their controllers.
There is a pretty insightful article at anandtech:
where they discuss the difference in wear-levelling and block management between Intels latest and the ubiquitous JMicron controllers used by everyone else. (Admittedly it reads like PR from Intel, but it still contains some interesting comparisons.)
The problem with Flash is that you need to erase a whole block in order to write a small amount of data. Typically the blocks are large (128 - 512kb) and erasing is slow. (On the order of several ms, up to hundreds of ms depending on power supply, memory contents and the phase of the moon.)
(Also noted at arstechnica: http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/macbook-air-ssd-review.ars/1
and even by the reg: http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/07/22/sandisk_ssd_vista_beef/ )
It would have been interesting to see how Intes new controller handles all these aspects. (According to Anandtech pretty well, but I'd love to have it corroborated by you.)
Hmm... Tom's piece notwithstanding, I'd be interested to see how it speeds up my VMs. I have a number of (yes, defragmented) VMware VMs running demos and trials, and I can often sit waiting for several minutes while they sort themselves out - particularly the busier ones, and especially if I have too much running in the host and they start swapping. If an SSD knocked that down by even half, it'd be worth the money...
more on Tom's
Tom's followed up the SSD piece with this:
would have been nice to see a comparisson with the OCZ core V2..
ah well ho hum..