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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 X-25M and X-18M

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.

Intel X-25M

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.