Intel releases NAND flash "drives"

Intel releases NAND flash "drives"

Summary: Intel today jumped into the NAND flash drive market with the announcement of their Z-U130 solid state "drives" (SSDs). It's conceivable that the Intel Z-drive could land in Apple's nanoBook by the end of 2007 or in January 2008. NanoBook in time for Macworld Expo '08? It could happen...

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TOPICS: Intel, Hardware
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Intel Z-U130 NAND Flash DriveIntel today jumped into the NAND flash drive market with the announcement of their Z-U130 solid state "drives" (SSDs). The new Z-U130 drives are based on NAND flash memory and feature USB 2.0/1.1 interfaces.

Intel's Z-drives are different than SanDisk's 32GB 1.8-inch SSD that I blogged about in January because Intel is using USB whereas SanDisk is using an Ultra ATA interface.

One promising feature of the new Intel flash drives is that they're being positioned as "value" drives aimed at delivering performance and lower costs. While SanDisk's 32GB Solid State Drive (SSD) could cost "around $600" when released in the first half of 2007, Intel's variant should be more cost-effective. According to Daily Tech:

Intel is positioning its solid state drives as a hard disk drive replacement technology for emerging market notebooks and low-cost, fully featured PCs and other embedded systems. Current price projections place Intel’s 4GB value SSD on par with 1.8-inch HDDs, but Intel expects costs to fall as it ramps up volume production. Intel predicts that its 4GB product will be priced below comparable 1.8-inch drives by the second half of this year, with it surpassing 2.5-inch drives by 2008. By 2009, Intel believes that its 8GB SSD will cost less than any comparable 1.8-inch or 2.5-inch HDD.

SSDs have several the advantages over fixed hard disk drives including faster boot times, embedded code storage, rapid data access and lower power requirements.

Solid state drives enjoy several advantages over traditional hard disk drives, such as faster start up, faster read times, lower seek times, less power consumption, silent operation and lower weight. Solid state drives should also be more reliable as there are no moving parts involved in the device’s operation. On the flip side, magnetic-based drives may endure better after a great number of read/write cycles and faster write times. For the foreseeable future, traditional hard disk drives will also enjoy the cost advantage at large capacities.

It's conceivable that a 4-8GB SSD like the Intel Z-drive could land in Apple's nanoBook by the end of 2007 or in January 2008. NanoBook in time for Macworld Expo '08? It could happen...

Topics: Intel, Hardware

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7 comments
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  • Only 4 to 8 GB?

    You have [i]got[/i] to be joking. I have around 160 GB of storage on 2 disk drives on my notebook right now. I really need something along the lines of 250 to 500 GB to carry my "office" with me from one customer's site to the next. As a computer consultant, that's my need [i]today[/i]. Tomorrow will likely be much, much more.

    Okay, so maybe I make my boot drive a NAND drive. That might help the dismally slow Microsoft boot experience. My current C: drive is partitioned to 30 GB; Vista requires something like 35 GB free so I'll need to expand it to 40 to 50 GB if I ever decide to take the Vista upgrade. So let's see: 40+ GB needed, 4 to 8 GB NAND available; am I just missing something here?

    And tell me again why I would want to do this when the new combo laptop drives (regular disk plus lots of NAND type memory as cache) will give a good combination of storage capacity and performance. I need both capacity and speed; this type of design offers it. The Intel offering certainly has the speed. It's just a wee bit lacking on the capacity side of things.

    Or did I just miss something?
    bitflippper1
    • You can do a lot with 8 GB

      I recently decommissioned a typical desktop PC from 1998 and was shocked when I noticed that the HD was only 6 GB. How quickly things have changed. That system worked fine at the time running Office 97 and IE, doing all the tasks most users still do today. Windows has become very bloated in recent years without really adding much value for the typical office user. I just hadn't thought much about it because HDs have also grown.

      Sure, a notebook with only 8GB of storage wouldn't work for everyone these days, but it could certainly do everything that a LOT of people use their notebooks for. With SaaS (gmail, salesforce, etc) growing fast, the need for local storage could even begin to decline for many users. Plus, flash storage would also provide lighter weight, longer battery life, more reliability, and instant start-up compared to HD-based notebooks. I can see it becoming a very big thing.
      pointzerotwo
    • Thin and Light OS X?

      That's probably why Apple is considering using the iPhone variant of OS X on this
      device. iPhone is quite capable with only 4 or 8GB. Think of the nanoBook as a larger
      iPhone (probably minus the phone) rather than a smaller MacBook...

      Thoughts?
      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
  • 4-8 GB???

    My 40Gb drive is full!! How about 80Gb's Seems doable with all of our technology, even if it is $500.
    wjarvis@...
  • 8GB can go a long way

    I recently decommissioned a typical desktop PC from 1998 and was shocked when I noticed that the HD was only 6 GB. How quickly things have changed. That system worked fine at the time running Office 97 and IE, doing all the tasks most users still do today. Windows has become very bloated in recent years without really adding much value for the typical office user. I just hadn't thought much about it because HD capacity has also grown.

    Come to think of it, the vintage 1998 Windows 98 notebook I keep in my kitchen has a 4GB hard drive. It basically just runs Firefox for web e-mail, news, and weather, but (because of its location) it gets more use than the more powerful computers in the den. The point is that it does the job, and could do it even better with a faster processor and more reliable OS. Storage has not been a problem.

    A notebook with only 8GB of storage wouldn't work for everyone, but it could certainly do everything that a LOT of people use their notebooks for. With SaaS (gmail, salesforce, etc) and public wireless access still gaining momentum, the need for local storage could even decline for many users. Plus, flash storage would also provide lighter weight, longer battery life, more reliability, and instant start-up compared to HD-based notebooks.

    An 8GB notebook wouldn't run Vista, but you don't need Vista to run a web browser and OpenOffice. It could easily run a mobile version of Windows or OS X, and Linux is getting close to having a mainstream desktop. It seems inevitable that flash-based notebooks will become a significant portion of the PC market.
    pointzerotwo
  • Finally... solid-state mass storage.

    Finally... solid-state mass storage. Since I started in the IT business I've hated the hardware with moving parts.

    So, I'm glad more moving parts are being replaced by solid-state hardware. Less failure, less power consumption, and (maybe) less cost.

    Now, if we could move from using electrons to using fotons...


    MV
    MV_z
  • I believe that Intel is on fast track...

    I see one reason why I would buy a flash drive that small, Audio/Video editing. I would use it as a temporary store device for raw video clips and short high quality footage.
    Boney420J@...