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

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

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
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.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

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 Newegg.com, 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.