Intel Readies Solid-State Storage for Ultramobiles

Intel will embed solid-state storage drives in its upcoming platform for ultramobile PCs, aiming to meet increased storage requirements for users on the go.

The Z-P140 PATA solid-state storage drives (SSDs) will be provided as an optional module to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to embed on motherboards made for the Menlow platform. The platform, designed for ultramobile PCs, also includes the Silverthorne processor and Poulsbo chipset. Menlow-based devices will ship in the first half of 2008, product line manager Don Larson said Friday at an event in San Francisco.

The tiny SSD chip, which weighs only 0.6 grams, will be available in capacities of 2G bytes and 4G bytes. The on-board storage capacity will be expandable up to 16G bytes with four SSDs connected to a standard PATA (parallel advanced technology attachment) interface that links the drives, Larson said. SSDs consume less power than hard drives because they have no moving parts, so they are ideal for mobile devices, Larson said.

The storage capacity of the storage modules could grow to 64G bytes in two years, said Troy Winslow, marketing manager at Intel.

Intel said it will display ultramobile PCs based on the Menlow architecture from vendors including Asus, BenQ and Lenovo at the Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas in January. The Menlow platform, announced at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing in April, will be followed in 2009 by the Moorestown platform, which Intel detailed in September.

Moorestown will be an SOC (system-on-chip) design that packs a CPU, graphics processor, video, and a memory controller into a single chip. It will be more power-efficient than Menlow devices, according to Intel.

The company also previewed the next-generation Centrino platform, which will include a power-efficient Core 2 Duo processor manufactured using the 45-nm process, and Intel's GM965 Express chipset. The new mobile platform will deliver better processor performance and include new instruction sets to enhance the video-viewing experience on notebooks, Intel said.

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