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Analyst: Intel's Braidwood could knock SSDs out

Posted: 04 Sep 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Intel Braidwook? solid-state drive? SSD? NAND flash?

Not long ago, solid-state drives (SSDs) were poised to be the next "killer app" for NAND flash. And to some degree, SSDs were also supposed to displace hard drives. Now, the technology is receiving its share of criticism. First, a technologist was recently critical of SSDs for servers, saying the emerging technology is still too expensive.

And there could be another blow for SSDs. Intel Corp.'s upcoming Braidwood technology is "likely to stifle SSD acceptance," according to Objective Analysis, a research firm.

Braidwood is another attempt to put NAND on the motherboard. Braidwood is a flash memory technology said to provide faster boot-up times. It will be incorporated with Intel's future "5 Series" chipset family.

Intel and Microsoft have tried to put flash on the motherboard for similar reasons, but have basically failed in those attempts. Intel's ill-fated effort was called Turbo Memory.

Braidwood, however, could be the right formula. PC purchasers who were considering an SSD upgrade will find NAND on the motherboard to be a cheaper alternative with nearly all the same benefits, according to Objective Analysis.

"NAND has a role in the PC platform and Braidwood promises to be the right implementation at the right time," said Jim Handy, an analyst with the firm, in a report. "Although this isn't the first time that Intel has tried to bring NAND into the PC, the earlier Turbo Memory product failed for a number of reasons."

In the report, Handy explains why Braidwood technology works and why it is likely to meet with rapid acceptance. It will also explain "how and why NAND on the motherboard will impact the SSD and DRAM markets."

Ironically, Intel and many others are shipping SSDs. Intel is shipping NAND flash SSDs based on 34nm process technology, an industry first, according to the company. Intel said the move to 34nm would help lower prices of the SSDs up to 60 percent for PC and laptop makers and consumers who buy them due to the reduced die size and advanced engineering design.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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