Intel starts shipping 160GB solid-state drives

The 2.5-inch laptop drives are currently shipping, with the 1.8-inch version set to ship in January

Intel has begun shipping its 160GB solid-state drives, the manufacturer announced on Monday.

The Sata solid-state drives (SSDs) were first announced in April, and come in two form factors — the 2.5-inch X25-M model is shipping to laptop manufacturers now, and the 1.8-inch X18-M model will start shipping in January. Prior to Monday's announcement, the most capacious SSD being shipped by Intel was the 80GB X-25M.

The new drives have read speeds of up to 250MBps and write speeds of up to 70MBps.

Solid-state drives are generally much faster and more robust than their mechanical, hard-disk counterparts, but they are also currently much more expensive. Intel's 160GB SSDs will cost as much as $945 (£639) each, depending on the quantity ordered by the laptop manufacturer.

Intel's chief rivals in the SSD market are Samsung, which is producing a maximum capacity of 256GB, and Toshiba, which announced in mid-December that it would sell 512GB SSDs next year.