Intel Launches Cheap Solid State Disk Drives


Taipei (Taiwan) - Intel has begun offering NAND flash-based solid state disk drives (SSDs) for mobile Internet devices (MIDs) and entry-level desktop and notebook computers, referred to as Nettops and netbooks. They might not offer a whole lot of capacity, but they are one of the first SSDs we can actually call affordable.

If Intel wants its MID idea to succeed, there is no way around the fact that these devices need to run on solid state disk drives to save space and weight. Initial hard drive-based models may be limited to Windows XP/Vista-based MIDS, but in terms of portability just don’t make the grade.

It is good to see that Intel puts quite some effort into bringing cheap SSDs to market that make a whole lot of sense for MIDs and, if the price is right also entry-level Netbooks as well as Nettops for emerging markets. The new Z-P230 series of SSDs launches with 4 GB and 8 GB capacity, while a 16 GB version is expected to become available in the fourth quarter.

Both new drives should be large enough to hold a Ubuntu Linux-based operating system, a few applications and room for some data storage. Pricewise these are really the first SSDs we find to priced right for the consumer segment : The 4 GB drive will cost $25 and the 8 GB drive $45 (in 1000-unit quantities).

Of course, you can’t expect a lot of performance features in exchange. The Z-P230 is only available with a PATA interface, which is supported by Intel’s Atom platform and the SCH chipset (SCH does not support SATA). The 10 gram light drive will deliver a read performance of 35 MB/s and a write performance of 7 MB/s. Idle power consumption is 1.65 mWatts and typical power consumption is 314 mWatts, according to Intel.

The meantime-between-failure rating is 1 million hours.

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