Intel's current line of enterprise solid-state drives may not be long for this world. According to a story by VR-Zone, Intel has told its customers that X25-E SSDs "will be discontinued from 11th of July 2011." The phrasing of the story doesn't make it clear whether the purported July 11 deadline will see Intel stop taking orders or halt shipments, but either way, it's awfully close.
Why so soon? Intel has reportedly justified the move by pointing to the limited supply of 50-nm SLC flash memory, which is used in the X25-E family. Also, the chipmaker presumably wants to clear the way for its upcoming 710 Series SSDs, which VR-Zone expects to come out in mid-August. For now, good luck tracking down an X25-E in stock. The drives are unavailable at Newegg, and Amazon only offers a handful through the Amazon Marketplace.
Judging by the latest whispers from the rumor mill, 710 Series SSDs will be based on 25-nm MLC flash and will retain the 2.5" form factor and 3Gbps Serial ATA interfaces of their predecessors. For performance-hungry enterprise applications, Intel is also cooking up a 720 Series SSD featuring a PCI Express interface and 34-nm SLC flash. The 720 Series is expected to hit speeds in the neighborhood of 2GB/s.
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