Intel announces solid-state drive for the enterprise

As we noted last week, Seagate is planning to make a major strategic move by introducing enterprise solid-state drives next year. Well, Intel has its eyes set on the nascent enterprise SSD market too—and it's just introduced its first contender on that stage.

The Intel X25-E Extreme solid-state drive looks a lot like the consumer X25-M we reviewed, but it uses pricier and longer-lasting single-level cell NAND flash instead of multi-level cell NAND. Performance doesn't sound half-bad, either: Intel quotes a maximum of 250MB/s for sequential reads, 170MB/s for sequential writes, and a read latency of only 75 microseconds.

The company goes so far as to claim the X25-E can deliver 100 times the input/output performance of mechanical hard drives in servers, workstations, and storage systems. (Intel quotes 35,000 inputs/outputs per second for 4KB random reads and 3,300 IOPS for 4KB random writes.) Couple that with an active power-consumption rating of just 2.4W and a 2.5" form factor, and one can easily see the upsides of a product like this.

Of course, like almost all SSDs, this one has neither low pricing nor a high storage capacity. Intel says a 32GB X25-E model with a $695 price tag (that's in 1,000-unit quantities, mind you) has entered production, and it plans to follow up with a 64GB drive in the first quarter of 2009.

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