Sunday, March 29, 2009

Intel 19

The testing for the new Intel X25-M has been completed for a couple of weeks now, but I have been putting off writing the article. Reviewers are faced with tough decisions from time to time; generally it is because we had found a fatal flaw and try to work with a company to correct the issue. This time the flaw is simply that the drive is too good. Intel is saying that their first entry into the consumer SSD market is able to read up to 250 MB/s, while other products are claiming a maximum of 175 MB/s. Honestly, who in their right mind would want to send over a consumer SSD for us to review knowing that it would be compared to the Intel X25-M? - Where do I sign up for unemployment because my job is gone?

The good thing is that Intel has left us a couple of back doors and has not totally disrupted the market. The first and foremost is price. We are starting to see 128GB MLC based drives with decent performance break the 300 Dollar barrier. The new Intel X25-M just showed up at Newegg for a little over twice that amount for the 80GB version we are looking at today. I may be saved after all, but information about rapid price drops are starting to leak out. The last I heard from the rumor mill is that the X25-M will get a new price of 530 USD before the year is out; still a lot more than some of the others, but clearly not out of range for enthusiasts.

Intel strategically let slip their intention to enter the SSD market last year and the world has patiently waited for the 500 pound chipzilla to enter the fray. Intel brings with them the resources to not only make exceptional products but also the ability to do it quickly, drawing on their decade’s worth of experience with memory products. For most users Intel is a processor company, but the truth is Intel has branched out into many semiconductor fields, NAND Flash being one of them. It was only a matter of time before Intel entered the SSD market, so let’s take a look and see just how good the new Intel X25-M really is.

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