Intel's tiny new flash drives

Intel's tiny new flash drives

Summary: Data on your fingertipDisk drives are going to offer the best $/GB ratio for years to come. Flash drives have to offer something else.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Intel, Storage
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Data on your fingertip Disk drives are going to offer the best $/GB ratio for years to come. Flash drives have to offer something else. A case in point: Intel's new flash drives. Tinier than disks How tiny are they? The Z-P140 measures 12 x 18 x 1.8 mm and weighs 0.6 grams - 400 times smaller and 75 times lighter than a 1.8" hard disk drive. 12 mm is about half an inch. The Z-P140's big brother, the Z-P230 PATA SSD, is only 1/4 the size and weight of a 1.8" drive. Much of that is due to the size of the PATA connector. Intel provided pictures: Flash drive at your fingertips
This is the PATA drive - taken at a different scale.
intel-z-p230-pata-ssd.jpg Tiny capacity too The drives are available in 2, 4, 8 and 16 GB capacities. These are aimed at the folks who manufacture cellphones, media players, Eee-class notebooks and the like. 2 part niche Part of Intel's pitch is size. The other is cost. They've priced the drives below where disk drives can go due to unavoidable hardware costs like heads and motors. The pricing for 1,000 units available Q3 2008 for the 4GB is $25 and the 8GB part is $45. The 16GB will be available in Q4 2008. I suspect the later availability of the 16 GB part has more to do with getting prices below disk prices than manufacturing ability. The Storage Bits take Notebook flash drives are costly per GB and offer mediocre performance and minimal battery life improvement over disks. So vendors have to go where disks can't either due to size, power or cost. I hope this announcement means that the low-end flash drive vendors will stop making promises their products don't keep. Instead they should focus on applications, as Intel has, where disks can't compete directly. Comments welcome! I wish my 16 GB iPhone had 32 GB. I'm ready for more flash - where it makes sense.

Topics: Hardware, Intel, Storage

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6 comments
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  • New flash memory tech coming

    What do you know about new Flash memory technology that will make it faster and more durable than the current generation? Are we going to see it on the market any time soon? Current flash memory wasn't designed for SSD types of applications and it shows.
    Ed Burnette
    • This could be because of USB, but...

      This could be because of USB, but I've noticed that the
      current crop of USB flash drives are [i]really[/i] slow when
      copying or processing lots of little files.

      If it's doing one big file, it's nice and fast. Multiple files is
      sloooow. When I was working more with Windows I would
      zip printer drivers before copying them, otherwise they'd
      take forever. The same is on my Mac when copying over
      some application bundles with all their tiny files. Same
      with installers, I'd copy them to the computer [i]first[/i],
      then run it, otherwise it'd take 10x longer.
      olePigeon
  • Military applications?

    Realistically, what at the potential [b][i]military[/i][/b] applications near-term, i.e., 3-5 years? They could get higher prices from military rather than civilian customers, which would give them an improved income stream during development and acceptance of a new hardware paradigm. There probably are a host of applications the military would like, such as hand-held computers.
    Rick_R
    • Flash memory is way more rugged...

      Flash memory is way more rugged than standard motor &
      spindle. My USB flash drive has gone through the wash +
      dryer at least 3 times, and it's still working fine. That'd be
      great for field work. They just need to work on the size.
      olePigeon
  • RE: Intel's tiny new flash drives

    Sun announced that they will add flash drives into their products by the end of the year. They and Intel were buddying up at IDF.
    corfu
  • I hear you on the iPhone

    I don't understand their business model of giving the otherwise handicapped Touch more memory. Why not have 3 different sizesin the 3G, just charge another $100...for $199/$299/$399 coming up?
    AsItIsToday