One of our sources has given us some more details with regards to Intel's upcoming Braidwood Turbo Memory modules and from our understanding, this is an entirely new ballgame compared to what Intel offered last time around.
For starters, it wasn't clear if the P55 chipset was going to get support for Braidwood or not, but this has now been confirmed and it's most likely part of the changes that were made to the chipset. However, this doesn't mean all motherboard manufacturers will add support for Braidwood modules on their motherboards, as this will increase the cost of the boards to a certain degree. We're hearing that at least one of the big motherboard makers might not offer Braidwood support at all, on any of their P55 models.
The modules themselves are said to come in 4, 8 and 16GB sizes, with the two larger sizes having the option to be used as boot drives. Again, at least initially, this option will be reserved for large system integrators, but Intel should be releasing a tool that will allow anyone to do this on their own at a later stage. Unlike Turbo Memory which used fairly slow flash memory, the Braidwood modules will get the same kind of flash memory you find in Intel's SSD drives. This should allow for vastly improved performance, but we're still curious how much of a performance improvement Braidwood will offer.
Our source told us that if you're running a RAID 0 configuration and add a Braidwood module to the mix, you should get performance that isn't far off that of an SSD drive, although we presume this will be a consumer level MLC SSD and not some of the faster, more expensive SLC SSD's.
It's also interesting to note that although Intel has based Braidwood on the open ONFI standard, at least initially, Intel won't license Braidwood. Instead Intel will be making all the Braidwood modules with a possible option being that Intel will do some co-branding, as it has done with its SSD products. This would mean all profit for Intel and lower risks in the channel, especially as there won't be any competition.
Pricing is as yet an unknown factor to take into consideration, especially as the price of SSD drives keep dropping. Until we have some performance figures as well as pricing at hand, it's hard to tell if this will be another flop for Intel like Turbo Memory, or a roaring success.