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By | Chris Mellor 1st September 2009 20:00

Will Intel's Braidwood threaten SSD uptake?

Motherboard module squares up

Intel is adding solid state drive (SSD) storage to PC and server motherboards with Braidwood, its second generation Robson technology. This caches data stored in hard disk drives inside a NAND flash module installed on a PC's motherboard.

The idea is to shorten boot times, launch applications faster, and generally get a PC running faster overall by cutting down on time spent waiting for disk I/O.

Objective Analysis has a report on this (Intel's Braidwood: Death to SSDs?) that suggests Braidwood technology could put a severe upset into the plans of vendors such as Samsung.

"NAND has a role in the PC platform and Braidwood promises to be the right implementation at the right time," said report author Jim Handy. "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."

Naturally, you have to buy the report to find out why Braidwood cures Robson's ills.

Braidwood could have around 16GB of capacity and will work with Intel's 5-series chipsets, which are due out soon, and the Clarkdale line of processors, due out in 2010. Clarkdale is a 2- or 4-thread, 2-core desktop processor built on a 32nm process and using the Nehalem micro-architecture.

The 5-series chipsets, according to our information, put memory gates directly on the processor and don't have a normal memory bus arrangement.

It's unclear why Robson failed and why Braidwood will avoid that fate.

As well as Clarkdale, there will be a 4-core Lynnfield processor. It would be odd if this doesn't have Braidwood support as well, and there is a report suggesting it will. And then there are Intel's server processors, and its notebook CPUs as well.

Wouldn't both notebook and server motherboards benefit from a NAND flash module or modules too? Where is Intel going with this? Inquiring minds need to know. ®

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