MLC is designed for desktops and notebooks; SLC is for enterprise flash. Winslow said Intel has finally come up with an MLC flash chip that will provide 250MB-per-second read/write performance and can be expected to have "at least five years of useful life in a notebook or PC application."
The knock on flash has always been that its durability is suspect.
"This has been the challenge for the industry, to design NAND flash memory that can do more than just facilitate large file transfers of music and photos to and from USB thumb drives," Winslow said.
"When you go into a compute environment, you're dealing with much smaller blocks and much more frequent reads and writes. With our proprietary controller, our firmware and 10-channel architecture, we've been able to design an MLC device that's in a class by itself," he said.
Most flash SSDs now on the market use only four to six channels in their architecture. Winslow said Intel's can be virtualized from 10 physical channels to up to 20 virtualized channels, which speeds performance markedly.
Intel released the specifications and some performance benchmarks on the SSDs at the conference, which continues through Aug. 21.