IDF 2008 – Intel Solid State Drives and Inside The X18-M

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Inside the Intel X18-M SSD

Intel X18-M Solid State Drive

As a parting gift the Intel Engineers gave us non-working 80GB X18-M SATA SSD. This drive is very small at just 1.8″ wide and thinner than the credit cards that you have in your wallet.

Intel X18-M Solid State Drive

Flipping the drive over we see that the model number for this drive is SSDSA1MH080G15M and is an engineering sample that has no warranty.  The drive had some weight to it, so we opened it up to see if it could be a working drive.

Intel X18-M Solid State Drive

With the cover removed by simply popping it off we quickly found that the controller chip, which renders the drive useless. It is highly likely that these drives were using a controller chip that was not used on the final versions. Rather than throwing away the internal samples they used for R&D they figured they could give them to the media for use to have for article images.

This ten channel drive has ten 8GB Intel NAND flash memory chips on the PCB (five on each side) and a Samsung SDRAM IC with the model number K4S281632I-UC60.  This is a 16MB IC that operates at 166MHz (6.0ns). We are not exaclty sure what this chip does, so if you know be sure to shoot us an e-mail.

Intel X18-M Solid State Drive

Flipping the Intel X18-M SSD over we see the final five Intel NAND flash memory chips that make up the ten being used on the SSD.

Intel X18-M Solid State Drive in RAID

Intel had a number of display systems running four Solid State Drives in RAID 0, which was very impresive.  With a setup like this the read performance is close 1Gbps and the write performance is over 700Mbps. Most of the demo systems running 4-way RAID arrays were using add-in RAID cards from companies like Adaptec to get peak performance.  It seems most of the motherboards on the market are using RAID controllers that can’t handle drives this quick and for the best performance an add-in card is needed.

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