Intel doubles capacity, drops price in refresh of popular SSD line

Solid-State Drive 320 series offers up to 30% drop in price; capacities increased by up to triple that of X25-M drives

Computerworld - Intel announced today a new line of consumer-class solid-state drives based on its smallest 25 nanometer (nm) circuitry that replaces the chip maker's most popular SSD, the X25-M.

The new 2.5-in. Intel Solid-State Drive 320 Series offers models that more than triple capacity over the X25-M and reduces prices by up to 30%, or $100, on some models. While aimed at the laptop and desktop market, the consumer SSD has also been Intel's most popular model for servers in data centers.
SSD 320 doubles sequential write speeds
The SSD 320 more than doubled sequential write speeds from Intel's second-generation X25-M consumer SSD, to 220MB/sec.

With the 320 Series, Intel has added native 128-bit AES encryption on the drives, which protects data while at rest on the NAND flash memory.

For data resiliency, Intel also included surplus NAND flash chips on the drive's board over and above the usable capacity. If the SSD's controller detects a potential chip failure, it automatically migrates data to the spare capacity.

Intel has also included small capacitors in its latest SSD, so that in the event of a power loss, data writes in progress to the NAND flash memory will be completed.

"We're talking about microseconds [of power] here, not seconds," said Kishore Rao, product line manager for SSDs. "There's just enough reserve current to complete any writes that were in progress."

Michael Yang, an analyst with market research firm iSuppli, called the SSD 320 Intel's "Honda Accord." Yang noted that Intel is not the first manufacturer to offer native encryption or data redundancy features on an SSD, but he said they have added what amounts to enterprise-class features on a consumer-class SSD.

For example, SSDs made with SandForce and Indilinx controllers -- such as those from OCZ -- also come with native encryption.

"This is not a leadership product by any stretch," Yang said. "But it's a good product, especially for a 25nm SSD."

Intel's legacy consumer SSD series, the X25-M, comes in 80GB and 160GB models. The new SSD 320 Series offers capacities ranging from 40GB to 600GB.

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Intel ships first Celeron chip based on Sandy Bridge

IDG News Service - Intel this month started shipping its first Celeron laptop processor based on Sandy Bridge architecture. It is a cheaper and stripped down version of the new Core i3, i5 and i7 counterparts.

The dual-core Celeron B810 processor runs at a speed of 1.6GHz, includes 2MB of cache and draws up to 35 watts of power. The chip is priced at $86 when purchased in quantities of 1,000.

Celeron chips have been used in low-cost laptops designed for basic applications such as word processing and Internet surfing. Over the last two years, single-core Celeron chips have been used in sub-$300 laptops with 15.6-inch screens. The Celeron chip usually competes with AMD's V-series and Sempron processors.

PC makers have not yet announced laptops based on the Celeron chips.

According to product details on Intel's website, the Celeron B810 includes integrated graphics capabilities just like the Core i3, i5 and i7 chips, which are being used in the recently announced business and ultraportable laptops from Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo. But the Celeron chip is missing some power saving and speed-enhancement features such as Turbo Boost 2.0, in which idle processing cores can be shut down or cranked up depending on the level of processing power needed.

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HP Slimline Transferred to Mini Tower Case

My friend’s new HP Slimline power supply broke down due to wrong power supply rating used. It was setup for 110volts however mistakenly plugged to 220volts then boom!

I had problem getting replacement for its power supply because of its rare slim design and availability from HP. So it came into my mind to transfer its entire component to a bigger case – mini tower minus the broken power supply. This idea worked like a charm. Everything worked perfectly, motherboard is like ordinary board that fits into the new case. I also like this idea of having enough room for heat being bigger.

Asus Making a $200 Android or Chrome Netbook

ASUS is a pioneer of the low-cost, small notebook made for internet consumption. That was the original concept behind the Linux-based Eee PC, but soon that grew into something bigger when Windows XP invaded and owned the segment.

Now Google has something that could be a very good alternative to Linux in the form of Chrome OS. We put Google's own Cr-48 through its paces and we came away impressed with computing from the cloud.

Reports from Taiwan now point to Asus as working on a low-cost netbook that could float around the $200 to $250 range that will run a Google OS. Interestingly, the report says that it could be either Android 3.0 or Chrome OS.

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Microsoft Patch Tuesday Targets Four Bugs, One Critical

Microsoft on Tuesday issued three security bulletins that tackle four vulnerabilites. Just one of the vulnerabilities is rated critical. The other three are essentially the same bug, despite the fact that they affect three different products.

The first bug, MS11-015, describes two vulnerabilities in Windows Media. One, the only rated critical in this group, is a bug in Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player related to the handling of .dvr-ms files. It can lead to remote code execution in the context of user.

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Asus Motherboard Box Turns into PC Chassis

Now here's one way to stay green: use the motherboard packaging as a chassis.

We've seen mods in the past that bypass the chassis and use what's available in the nearby vicinity to create a unique rig. A great example was the one crammed within a used Little Caesar's pizza box; another resided in an actual trash can. Needless to say, the modders were looking to stay "green" with their designs, and it seems that ASUS may be following in those footsteps starting this June.

According to a report by PCWorld, Asus plans to alter the shipping box for one of its upcoming Mini ATX motherboards so that additional components can be added without removing the mainboard, thus replacing the typical metal chassis with the cardboard box. Punch-out holes for ventilation will also be present as well as an actual panel for containing the rig's connectors and interfaces.

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