Intel refreshes consumer line of SSDs, drops price

Intel debuted the third generation of its consumer solid state drives on Monday, promising increased reliability while at the same time lowering the price by as much as $100 or more in some capacities. The 320 series drives replace the X25-M drives which the company began to push in earnest last year.

Prices on average dropped about 30 percent, which came as a result of advancements in the manufacturing process. Overall drives are expensive, however -- about $1.80 per gigabyte -- which some analysts believe is still higher than most consumers would be willing to pay.

The X25-M drives have been a part of Intel's hardware lineup since 2008, although the company only recently began marketing them to consumers as manufacturing costs dropped.

The 320 series would come in 40GB, 80GB, 120GB, and 160GB prices like its predecessor, with retail prices of $89, $159, $209 and $289 respectively. New however are high-capacity SSDs of 300GB and 600GB: those would sell for a rather steep $529 and $1,069.

Fear of data loss is sometimes a deterrent to the adoption of SSD drives. To combat this and offer protection of stored data, Intel has included additional memory above the listed capacity where data on faulty chips could be moved to these additional chips in order to preserve data integrity.

Such functionality has been commonplace in enterprise-class drives, but this would be the first time such technology has made it into a solid state drive intended for consumers.

"We have expanded our SSD product line and now offer both consumers and computer OEMs more SSD choices," Intel NVM Solutions group president and general manager Tom Rampone said. "We see the Intel SSD 320 as a solid advancement to our SSD roadmap."

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