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New Intel solid-state drive lineup features 20nm flash memory

Smaller manufacturing process means better energy efficiency, faster access speeds

By , Network World
October 30, 2012 11:04 AM ET
Intel SSD

Network World - Intel's new 335 series solid-state drives, which were announced Tuesday morning, feature improved performance, lower power consumption and, the company says, better bang for your buck.

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The 20nm flash memory process is the smallest on the market, according to Intel, allowing for better storage density. The company credits IM Flash Technologies' 20nm NAND chip for making the advances possible, saying that the new planar cell structure makes it possible to scale the technology up without running into the problems caused by previous architectures.

"The Intel SSD 335 uses Hi-K/metal gate planar cell technology, which overcomes NAND process scaling constraints to deliver the smallest-area NAND cell and die in the industry," said Rob Crooke, Intel vice president and general manager for the non-volatile memory solutions group.

While the 335 line can't measure up to the company's more enterprise-focused 520 series in terms of pure performance, the new drives consume considerably less energy -- 350 millwatts under load and 275 mW at idle for the 335 series, compared to 850 mW and 600 mW respectively for the older devices.

The company says that the 335 series will also be substantially cheaper than the 520 line, though it has not released specific pricing data yet.

Intel's ability to push down transistor sizes has already been seen this year, with the release of its Ivy Bridge line of CPUs -- which feature a 22nm process -- in April, producing similar gains in energy efficiency.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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