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Intel to deliver Postville in August

Stamping out a 320GB 34nm SSD

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Details of Intel's biggest solid-state drive so far, a 320GB part built on its 34nm process, are popping up across the web.

The current X18-M and X25-M models come in 80GB and 160GB capacities, use 2bits per cell multi-level cell (MLC) technology and are built on a 50nm process. The single-level cell (SLC - one bit per cell) technology X25-E goes faster and has 32GB and 64GB capacities.

Moving to a smaller process technology will enable more SSD dies to be made at a lower cost per die and a higher capacity. Previous reports have noted that Intel could announce doubled capacity SSDs in August and that Intel partner Micron has introduced flash chips using a 34nm process.

A Canadian RedFlagDeals technology website expects an announcement within a week and says there will be 80GB, 160GB and 320GB models. The consumer and mobile PC models will feature a 32MB wear levelling buffer, 90MB/sec sequential write performance, AES 128-bit Encryption, advanced NCQ Features with enhanced performance through status aggregation, and Advanced Smart Support, meaning improved drive statistics to monitor drive life.

Workstation and server models will additionally have a Power Safe write cache and, possibly, faster I/O speed.

RedFlagDeals suggests the 80GB models will be priced in the $276 - $261 area and says the new SSDs will be cheaper than the outgoing ones, being competitive with Samsung SSDs, and faster. Another etailing site suggests €205 for the 80GB X25-M Postville and €405 for the 160GB version, with delivery in up to ten working days.

We might expect generation 2 X25-M and X18-M 80GB, 160GB and 320GB models with 2bit MLC flash. Logically there would also be a gen 2 X25-E variant at 32GB, 64GB and now 128GB capacity levels using SLC flash. ®

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