Intel continues to expand on its solid state operations. Following up the launch of its 2.5-inch 80GB X25-M in September, the company has now announced that the more capacious 160GB edition has begun shipping and that a slimmer 1.8-inch version should be available shortly for ultraportable laptops and other devices.

The drives are based on NAND flash memory, which holds the promise of faster read and write performance than conventional hard disk drives, and are based on Intel's multilevel cell storage technology. Expect similar performance to its 80GB counterpart - 250Mbps read times and 70Mbps write speeds - together with a hefty price tag of around $945. Larger-capacity drives from other SSD suppliers are also on the way, with Samsung now producing a 256GB solid state drive and Toshiba expected to release a 512GB monster by mid-2009.