Leaked plans show details of Intel's SSD roadmap

First-half of 2011 should see 400GB drives with connect speeds twice as fast as hard drives.

Intel has been getting some good press lately as more of its product plans leak out.

The most recent is Intel's plan to replace its existing X25-E solid-state drive (SSD) with larger, faster versions from the Lyndonville 710 product line.

They'll come with 3Gbit/sec SATA interfaces, 25nm MLC NAND flash chips and ship in a 2.5-inch box, in 100GB, 200GB and 400GB sizes.

In the third quarter Intel plans to ship another set aimed at enterprise and high-end PC users which a 6 Gbit/sec PCI-E connector and capacities of 200 GB or 400GB, according to a slid obtained by Engadget.

Intel hasn't confirmed the information, but it is consistent with more generalized plans and directions it has announced in the past.

The roadmap also calls for upgrades to the lower-end Larsen Creek SSDs and, in Q4, a series called Paint Creek with either mSATA or SATA interfaces.

A week ago a Chinese web site called XFastest published a slide it said had been leaked from Intel that showed the performance steps to which it planned to upgrade the Sandy Bridge processors during 2011. Solid-state memory used as a hard drive rather than RAM can boost the performance of servers or laptops because their data-retrieval speeds are much higher than disk. They also use far less power and weigh less than disk, making them ideal for tablets, or even smartphones.

Those advantages are driving SSD market growth so hard Intel's revenue streams are beginning to skew toward memory rather than processors.

They're still far more expensive than disk and have a disputed reputation for lower reliability – in the form of a shorter mean time between failures and far lower total limitation on the number of read/write actions it can manage during its lifetime.

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