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Intel says it will release faster, less expensive solid-state drives for PC
and laptop system builders and OEMs later this quarter, paving the way for less
expensive and more energy-efficient computers for the consumer and corporate
markets.

The Intel X25-M Mainstream SATA SSD will be
up to 60 percent less expensive for computer manufacturers, says Intel, and
will be available in 80GB and 160GB versions.

The improvements come from Intel’s move to a 34-nanometer manufacturing process
from the existing 50nm process. Intel says its X25-M on 34nm flash memory is
drop-in compatible with the current 50nm version, and it will continue to be
drop-in compatible to replace existing hard disk drives.

Intel says the new SSDs offer a 25 percent reduction in latency and doubled
random write I/O operations per second.

New channel prices for the X25-M 80 GB are $225 for quantities of up to 1,000
units, which Intel says represents a 60 percent reduction from the original
introduction price of $595 a year ago. The 160GB version is $440, down
from $945 at introduction for quantities up to 1,000 units. The X25-M comes in
a standard 2.5-inch form factor, and the X18-M is a 1.8-inch form factor.

"Our goal was to not only be first to achieve 34nm NAND flash memory
lithography, but to do so with the same or better performance than our 50nm
version," says Randy Wilhelm, vice president and general manager of Intel
NAND Solutions Group, in a prepared statement. "We made quite an impact
with our breakthrough SSDs last year, and by delivering the same or even better
performance with today’s new products, our customers, both consumers and
manufacturers, can now enjoy them at a fraction of the cost."

It’s a market that is expected to grow at a rapid pace. A recent report by
Electronics.ca forecasts a 70 percent compound annual growth rate from 2007
through 2012 for the SSD market.