The price drop is the result of Intel moving the product line to a 34-nanometer manufacturing process for NAND flash memory used in SSDs from the 50-nm process used in making the previous generation. Also as a result of the shift, the die size of the memory is smaller and the engineering design more advanced, the chipmaker said.
"Our goal was to not only be first to achieve 34-nm NAND flash memory lithography, but to do so with the same or better performance than our 50-nm version," Randy Wilhelm, VP and general manager of the Intel NAND Solutions Group, said in a statement.
The Intel SSDs for mobile PCs come in two sizes, 2.5 inches and 1.8 inches, and offer either 80 GB or 160 GB of storage. The 2.5-inch drive is called the X25-M and the smaller is the X18-M.
Intel launched the 34-nm X25-M on Tuesday and expects to release the smaller model later in the quarter. Compared to the 50-nm version, the new X25-M offers a 25% reduction in latency and faster random write input/output operations per second, according to Intel. The SSD will also support Microsoft Windows 7 with a firmware update to be released later. Windows 7 is scheduled to ship in October.
The new X25-M and X18-M can replace current models in systems without modifications. They are also drop-in compatible with similar size hard-disk drives. The X25-M is available in quantities of 1,000 for $225 and $440 for the 80-GB and 160-GB models, respectively. The previous prices, announced in February, were $390 and $765, respectively.
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