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Faster, cheaper Intel X25-M solid state drive (SSD)

Today Intel announced a huge price drop and speed increase in the already terrific X25-M, which I described in How to Make Your Mac Feel Lightning-Fast, and reviewed here and here and here and here.

The new models (still at 80GB and 160GB) move to 34nm lithography from 50nm, thus increasing yields and decreasing cost. The newer model doubles random-write speed (sustained speed is not stated).

But the kicker is that the price is 60% less than the original price of the older models, which will likely mean reductions in the ~25% range over current street prices. Slightly disappointing is the absence of a 256GB or 320GB model, which is a more realistic threshold for notebook users who need reasonable capacity for photos and other big files.

For more information, see the Intel SSD web page. The Intel X25-M and other SSD drives are available at OWC, though the new models might not actually be available immediately.

This announcement is particularly interesting because it foreshadows what are likely to be a slew of announcements in the SSD area for 2009, which will result in lower prices along with higher performance and capacity. I expect hard disk drives to be obsoleted in many usage scenarios by SSD drives within a year or two.

Very interesting are 1.8" solid state drives, having the same capacity as the 2.5" models, portending really small external storage devices (dual or quad SSD drive anyone?). It’s a pity to see Apple’s bone-headed elimination of the ExpressCard/34 slot in the new 13" and 15" MacBook Pro, which precludes fast external storage of any kind via eSATA eg SSD.

Intel X25-M

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