It's been about a year since Intel's quick-but-pricey Intel's X-series SSDs started the market, so it's about time for refresh. And hey, look: It's a fresh pair of 34nm X25-M drives! (Spoiler: They're almost exactly like the last ones.)
Intel's got a lengthy spiel about how performance has been improved, albeit slightly, by the new fabrication process (they claim a 25% decrease in latency and slightly higher read/write performance), but the core of this upgrade, and the main benefit of switching to 34nm, is a lower price.
Looking again to Intel's claims, there's been a 60% decrease in price for the 80GB and 160GB models compared to original launch prices, which is strictly speaking correct. Thing is, neither of the drives have sold for anything near their initial prices for some time now, so although the new versions, priced at around $225 for the 80GB and $440 for the 160GB, will be more affordable than their predecessors, they won't be budget drives by any means.
It's been a year, so a capacity hike would've been nice. Without that, this feels like a transitional product—a necessary manifestation of solid-state storage's slow crawl toward affordability, if not something many people will be ready to buy. Accordingly, I expect the second generation of 34nm drives to be awesome, so please, be awesome. [Intel]