From DailyTech: Intel is announcing a new generation of Solid State Drives (SSDs) using 34nm NAND flash memory from IM Flash Technologies, its joint venture with chipmaker Micron Technologies. IMFT had previously announced production of 34nm NAND flash in November of last year, but various problems had led to a delay in the scale of mass production that Intel needed.
The most important thing that Intel will be able to do with the new SSDs is lower their prices in order to spur consumer purchasing. Intel says the new drives are so much cheaper because of "the reduced die size and advanced engineering design" of the new SSDs. Many consumers have been waiting patiently for prices to drop and the market to stabilize before jumping in with a purchase, despite the dramatically improved performance that SSDs can offer.
The two largest hurdles for SSD adoption have been cost and capacity. Although designs for SSDs as large as 1TB have been announced, their cost will still be much greater than traditional HDDs. Most users who adopt SSDs in a desktop setting will choose to pair a SSD boot drive with a larger magnetic drive.
NAND flash built on the 32nm process by Samsung and Toshiba, along with a much improved JMF612 flash controller from JMicron, are expected to lead to lower prices on competing SSDs from other manufacturers.
“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,” said Randy Wilhelm, Intel's Vice President and General Manager of the NAND Solutions Group.
Intel originally introduced the 80GB X25-M for $595 less than a year ago. Now, the new 34nm 80GB X25-M will sell for $225 to the channel for quantities up to 1,000 units. The 160GB version will be available at $440 to the channel at the same quantities, down from a remarkable $945 at its launch in December.
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