Intel Intros New SSD Line With Capacity Of Up To 600 GBs


Intel on Monday unveiled a new line of SSDs with the potential for reaching capacities of up to 600 GBs per device targeting data center, server, desktop, and mobile PC users.

Intel's new SSD 320 series features the company's third-generation NAND technology, which is based on a 25-nanometer process that allows Intel to build SSDs with higher capacities, said Troy Winslow, director of product marketing for the company's Non-volatile Memory Solution group.

The SSD 320 series is slated to replace Intel's X25-M series of SSDs, which were introduced late in 2008 with first-generation, 50nm NAND technology, Winslow said.

The company boosted the performance and capacity of its X25-M series in mid-2009 with second-generation, 34nm technology.

The move to adopt 25-nm technology gave Intel the ability to build SSDs with 300-GB and 600-GB capacity points, in addition to the X25-M's 40-GB, 80-GB, 120-GB, and 160-GB capacity points, Winslow said.

With the SSD 320, Intel built in new reliability features in order to make the SSDs useful for a wide range of applications.

The company had to rearchitect the SSDs in order to compensate for the fact that, as the NAND manufacturing process shrinks to 25nm, the memory chips inherently offer fewer write cycles, Winslow said. "But through our architecture, we are able to deliver better SSDs," he said.

Intel also added a power-loss feature which ensures that, in the event of a power loss, data already in the process of being written to the SSD is safely stored. The company also added 128-bit AES encryption, said Kishore Rao, product line manager for Intel.

"If some malicious person tries to remove the NAND, the data would be garbled," Rao said.

The SSD 320 also includes a surplus array of NAND, a feature under which extra unused NAND is available in the SSD to provide system protection if an individual NAND die fails, Rao said.

The result is an SSD which Rao said will feature better quality and reliability than the X25-M. Of the 1 million units of X25-M SSDs shipped so far, Intel has seen a total annual return rate of about 0.7 percent, and a total annual failure rate of about 0.4 percent, he said.

SSD 320 performance is also considerably higher than that of the X25-M, Winslow said. The SSD 320, with a 3-Gbps SATA interface, features a random read speed of 39,500 IOs per second, which is 12 percent higher than that of the X25-M, as well as a random write speed of 23,000 IOPS, or 167 percent higher. The SSD 320's sequential read speed is 270 MBps, and sequential write speed is 220 MBps, up 8 percent and 120 percent over that of the X25-M, he said.

In 1,000-unit quantities, the 40-GB SSD 320 is priced at $89, the 80-GB version at $159, the 120-GB version at $209, the 300-GB version at $529, and the 600-GB version at $1,069. They are all currently available.

The release of the SSD 320 follows Intel's release last month of its SSD 510 line of SSDs featuring the 6-Gbps SATA interface for gamers and high-performance users.

When introducing the SSD 510 last month, Winslow also said that Intel is preparing the SSD 700 series, which will target enterprise applications and data center deployments.