Intel announces Mainstream X18 X25 SSD drives

In the wake of last Friday's leak, Intel has now formally announced its Mainstream series of SSD drives. Models will be available in 1.8- and 2.5-inch sizes, and rely on MLC (multi-level cell) NAND memory, which should in theory aid to keep prices down. One of the first examples is the 80GB X25-M, which is also Intel's first SATA-based SSD for notebook and desktop OEM builders.

The new drives are built around the standard 1.8 inch and 2.5 inch form factors found in netbooks, notebooks and compact desktops. 80GB drives will roll off theĀ  production line at the end of next month, with 160GB versions hitting in first quarter of 2009.

Intel has yet to reveal pricing for any of the Mainstream drives, but claims that benchmarking shows a 50 percent boost in system performance, and a nine-times enhancement in HDD performance. While expensive and short on capacity, SSD drives are becoming an increasingly common alternative to regular hard disks, due to their faster seek times and increased reliability.

Intel claims the X18-M (1.8 inch) and X25-M (2.5 inch) drives have read speeds up to 250MB/s, write speeds to 70MB/s and a read latency of 85 microseconds. More of a concern for many would-be users is the life of the drive, however Rao says that based on 100GB of transfers per day the drives would deliver

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