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Flash memory drives now available from Intel

Intel's first flash-memory hard drives build on an industry trend toward solid state drives.

Flash memory isn't just for cell phones anymore. Flash drives are moving up into PCs and servers, and Intel wants to get in on the action with a new drive.

Internal flash memory drives look like this, apparently Intel

The company formally launched the Intel Z-U130 Value Solid-State Drive (just rolls right off the tongue) on Monday, promising to deliver the drives to PC and server companies as either replacement hard drives or performance enhancers. These drives aren't going to be replacing your hard drive in most situations--at least for now--but could provide a more reliable low-cost way of storing infomation in PCs for emerging markets, said Greg Matson, product marketing manager for Intel's NAND flash memory division.

The drives can also be used in PCs or servers to help the operating system boot faster, he said. Intel is not disclosing pricing for the drives, which range in capacity from 1GB to 8GB. But he said that the drives would cost less than half the price of a $40 to $50 low-end PC hard drive.

Intel is still planning to deliver a separate flash memory technology known as Robson along with the introduction of its Santa Rosa notebook technology, expected in the first half of this year. Robson is designed to help boost performance but was engineered specifically for a notebook.