Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where Intel Smart Response fits in the PC eco-system

We were happy to have a chat with our friends at VR-Zone yesterday, giving us a chance to show off our new Z68 motherboards with onboard mSATA support. During our meeting we inevitably discussed Intel Smart Response Technology and mSATA SSDs and where these new technologies fit in today’s desktop PC ecosystem. Our take on the matter is that Smart Response is a really valuable technology for a very broad segment of mainstream PC users, bringing the benefits of faster SSDs to a segment of users that wouldn’t typically invest in an SSD drive as their primary boot partition.

Smart Response is designed to make use of a smaller and more affordable SSDs to cache frequently used applications and significantly speed up their responsiveness and loading times. As we demonstrated on video a few days ago, Smart Response also makes a difference to boot and shut times. These are the kinds of advantages that users with SSD boot partitions have enjoyed for sometime now, but the barrier to entry was always price, with SSDs commanding prices significantly beyond the budgets of most mainstream PC users.

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However, because Intel Smart Response needs only 20GB or more to make a real impact, it means that faster SSD-like performance is with reach for far more users who will find the price of smaller SSD much easier to stomach. mSATA potentially expands that group further. mSATA doesn’t need drive housing and uses far less PCB, so it can manufactured more cheaply and reach even lower price points. We predict that as mSATA matures as a technology, we’ll see more memory companies such as SanDisk and Transcend bring out competing mSATA modules which should also mean lower price points for consumers.

If you’re attending Computex 2011 next week, makes sure to check out demonstrations of our mSATA capable boards in action. You’ll find GIGABYTE boards running Smart Response enabled PCs on mSATA at several booths around the show including the GIGABYTE booth, the Intel booth and notably the SanDisk booth, who will be showcasing their own mSATA products.

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