Intel claims first 34-nm NAND flash SSD

intelssd1Santa Clara, Calif. — Setting a new bar for solid-state-drive (SSD) performance, Intel Corp. has announced it is transitioning to a 34-nanometer (nm) manufacturing process for its NAND flash-based SSD products. Intel expects the move will help lower prices of the SSDs by up to 60 percent for PC and laptop makers and consumers.

The multi-level cell (MLC) Intel X25-M Mainstream SATA SSD is aimed at laptop and desktop PCs and is available in 80-Gigabyte (GB) and 160-GB versions.

Compared to its previous 50-nm version, the new Intel X25-M offers improved latency and faster random write input/output operations per second (IOPS). The new SSD provides a 25 percent reduction in latency, for quicker access to data, operating at 65-microsecond latency compared to approximately 4,000 microseconds for a hard-disk drive (HDD). It also delivers up to 6,600 4-KB write IOPS and up to 35,000 read IOPS, setting a new bar for SSDs, said Intel.

The Intel X25-M on 34-nm flash memory is drop-in compatible with the current 50-nm version and will continue to be drop-in compatible to replace existing HDDs, according to Intel.

Drop-in compatible with SATA-based HDDs and all operating systems, the X25-M will also support Microsoft Windows 7 when it becomes available. At that time, Intel plans to deliver a firmware update to allow support of the Windows 7 Trim command, along with an end user tool, to allow users to optimize the performance of their SSD on Windows XP and Vista operating systems.

Pricing: The X25-M 80GB is priced at $225 for quantities up to 1,000 units (a 60 percent reduction from the original introduction price of $595 a year ago), and the 160GB version costs $440 (down from $945 at introduction) for quantities up to 1,000 units.
Availability: The X25-M comes in a standard 2.5-inch form factor. The X18-M, in a 1.8-inch form factor, will begin shipping on 34 nm later in the quarter.
Resources: Intel’s SSD products.