Intel has unveiled a new solid state hard drive based on Flash memory that aims to provide a low cost alternative to mechanical hard drives. The Z-U130 is currently shipping in 1GB and 2GB models, and the company is scheduled to add 4GB and 8GB versions in the coming months. Models with capacities of 20GB and 40GB are slated for release by the second half of this year, followed by 80GB and 160GB versions next year.
The units are attached to computers through USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 connectors which in most cases will be integrated on the motherboard. The low capacity drives target inexpensive desktop and notebook computers as well as systems for emerging markets such as Intel"s Classmate PC, according to Peter Hazan, a marketing manager with Intel. "The intention is to drive to the lowest cost with good enough capacity," said Hazan during a meeting with reporters at Intel"s corporate headquarters last week. "If your application requires 8GB or less [a solid state hard drive] can deliver that at a bill of materials that is lower than a hard disk drive."