Intel shrinks its Solid-State Drives, aims for tablets

Intel's new Solid-State Drive 525 packs performance identical to a standard 2.5-inch SSD into a device one eighth of the size, the company said in an announcement last week.

The SSD 525 comes in 30GB, 60GB, 90GB, 120GB, 180GB and 240GB sizes, and uses the same 25nm memory architecture as Intel's larger solid-state options. The drives use mini-SATA connectors, which allow them to be plugged into smaller PCIe slots common to notebooks while still providing a full SATA 6GB/s data rate.

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The diminutive new line could help raise Intel's profile in the mobile marketplace -- despite its desktop and laptop dominance, the company has not seen its processors widely used in smartphones and tablets, and could benefit from an improved reputation among mobile OEMs.

Intel also hopes that the SSD 525 line will appeal to embedded device makers, for applications like digital signage and in-flight entertainment.

Intel says that the SSD 525 series offers 50,000 I/O operations per second of random read speed and 550MB/s of sequential read, as well as 80,000 IOPS random write and 520MB/s sequential write -- the same numbers as the larger SSD 520 series.

Independent testing by noted review site AnandTech found that the SSD 525 line was "almost equal" to the best of the full-size solid-state drives currently on the market.

The 120GB and 180GB models are already shipping, and Intel has promised that the rest of the drive sizes will be available within the quarter.

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

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