Sometimes, it takes an established industry giant to bring out the best in a brilliant new technology.
AnandTech Chief Executive Anand Lal Shimpi writes that the new Intel X25-M is the first product that has ever made him want to "actually go out, buy and stick in my desktop machine" right away. The Tech Report concedes that the drives are very expensive at about $600 per 80 gigabytes of storage space, but it's still "an absolute bargain" if you measure value in price per high-speed data transfer. These are the tech enthusiasts who set the tone for the rest of the market, and both have been kicking the tires of new processors, hard drives, and the like for a decade or more.
Consider the mobile computing market first. With performance that varies from respectable to mind-blowing, low power drain, and no moving parts, this is the perfect storage solution for laptops and other portable gadgets. Spinning magnetic disks in small packages are slow, eat batteries for breakfast, and tend to break if you drop 'em. That's why Apple
Then, look at the enterprise market. STEC
The X25 delivers scary performance under some circumstances such as reading massive data sets (hello, corporate America!) or working with several applications at once (a.k.a. a normal day at my desk). Through smart design and quality components, Intel has overcome some glaring problems with drives built around lower-cost multi-level flash memory cells. It's still not cheap enough to blow traditional disk makers like Western Digital
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.