Intel ships solid-state drive for fast app start-up

The SSD can speed load times for operating systems and applications.

Intel has starting shipping a solid-state drive that can speed Windows 7 and app load times.

Intel Serial-ATA 40GB SSD retails for $125
Intel Serial-ATA 40GB SSD retails for $125 Intel

Intel says the drive is aimed at "dual-drive/boot drive desktop set-ups" as well as Netbooks. Solid-state drives typically offer better performance--in some cases, dramatically better performance--than hard disk drives. But SSDs cost more per gigabyte than hard drives, a fact, which, to date, has limited SSDs to performance-sensitive applications such as high-end laptops, gaming PCs, and servers.

The Intel X25-V is a relatively low-capacity SSD at 40GB, but claims performance that is four times faster than a 7200RPM hard disk drive. And at $125, it qualifies as an inexpensive SSD, but on a dollar-per-gigabyte basis of about $3 per gigabyte, it's comparable with, if not a little more than, competing products.

Intel says consumers can use the SSD as an add-on to a hard-drive-equipped desktop PC by configuring a dual-drive or "boot drive" set up. "In a dual-drive configuration...the SSD is loaded with the operating system and favorite applications to take advantage of the speedy performance," Intel said in a statement.

For example, with 40GB of boot drive capacity, a user could load the SSD with the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system, Microsoft Office applications, and a favorite gaming application. Users keep their existing HDD for higher capacity data storage, according to Intel.

Though SSDs are still an esoteric technology for some users, Intel-branded SSDs are popular at retail sites. "The Intel solid-state drive is our top-selling SSD," said Stephen Yang, product manager for solid-state drives at e-tailer, in a statement provided by Intel. And brand is important because some lesser-known SSD manufacturers do not meet quality and reliability standards, according to a report from DRAMeXchange Technology, a firm that does market intelligence on major electronics components. Intel was rated as one of the top brands for quality and reliability, DRAMeXchange said.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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