Intel launches sub £100 SSD

Intel has finally realised that now probably isn’t the best time to be releasing ridiculously expensive storage devices, and is now luring mere mortals its way with the new just $125 (£83) X25-V SSD.

Unsurprisingly, the V stands for Value, and the drive sits at the bottom of Intel’s SSD line-up, underneath the X18-M and X25-M. Despite the price, you get a reasonable amount of storage space for your comparative pittance, and the X25-V also offers the bare essentials with its capacity of 40GB.

Of course, there has to be a catch, and in this case it’s the X25-V’s sequential write speed, which Intel says can hit up to 35MB/sec. As a point of comparison, the 160GB X25-M has a quoted sequential write speed of 100MB/sec, so the X25-V is a very long way behind Intel’s mainstream SSDs.

It’s also a fair way behind the quoted write speeds of OCZ’s new $100 Onyx drive, which OCZ says can write at up to 70MB/sec. On the plus side, the sequential read speed is much more respectable at 170MB/sec, compared with 250MB/sec on the X25-M and just 125MB/sec on the aforementioned OCZ Onyx.

The drive uses Intel’s own controller design, as well as Intel’s 34nm MLC (multi-level cell) NAND flash memory. As with most SSDs today, it also comes in the standard 2.5in package, and supports the standard SATA 2 interface. The drive is fully compatible with Intel’s SSD Toolbox too.

As well as being an obvious candidate for netbooks and laptops, Intel and its partners are also keen to point out that the X25-V could make an ideal boot drive in a desktop system. Newegg.com’s SSD product manager, Stephen Yang, said that the new drive “means more customers will have the chance to experience the benefits of SSDs, not just in notebooks or high-end PCs, but in mainstream desktops as a boot drive. This is the right price point to help convert more users to SSD computing."

With its fast read speeds, the X25-V will load Windows 7 much more quickly than a standard hard drive, and its 40GB capacity will happily accommodate an operating system and a few apps. You could then use a standard hard drive for storing all your documents, which will make the X25-V’s slow write speed less of an issue anyway.

Perhaps the biggest problem for the X25-V, though, is the fact that OCZ has already released a cheaper drive that has double the write speed, even if it’s a bit slower on reads. With consumers continuing to be cash-strapped at the moment, Intel’s likely to see many more competing low-cost drives in the future too.