Intel Solution Summit: Intel Rolls Out New Enthusiast Line Of SSDs

Intel on Monday expanded its solid state disk (SSD) product line with its new 510 series targeted at gamers and high-performance users, and offered a sneak peak at some upcoming products.

The new SSDs are being officially released at the Intel Solution Summit, which is being held this week in Las Vegas.

The Intel Solid-State Drive 510 Series of SSDs features a 6-Gbps (gigabits per second) SATA interface and a third-party SSD controller to give it a data read performance of up to 500 MBps and a sequential write speed of up to 315 MBps, said Troy Winslow, director of product marketing for the company's NAND Solutions Group.

The 510 series SSDs represent a gradual shift in Intel's SSD strategy to offer different versions of the storage devices targeting different markets, Winslow said.

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"As SSDs proliferate the IT environment, we need to differentiate our offerings," he said.

Intel first entered the SSD market in the Fall of 2008 with its X25E enterprise and X25M mobile models.

The company followed up in January with the introduction of its SSD 310, an SSD module with a 3-Gbps SATA interface targeted at mobile computing devices and embedded applications.

The SSD 510 is based on 34-nanometer MLC NAND Flash memory technology, Winslow said.

While SLC (single-level cell) NAND is generally superior to MLC (multi-level cell) NAND technology, Winslow said that the market in general is moving towards MLC technology, even for enterprise SSDs.

"We are developing technology to allow MLC technology to have near the performance and reliability of SLC," he said.

Intel later this year plans to update its SSD 300 and SSD 500 series with increased performance, and possibly a new form factor, Winslow said.

The company also plans to unveil the SSD 700 series, which will target enterprise applications and data center deployments, he said. The SSD 700 series will feature enterprise-class MLC technology, and will be available in a variety of interfaces.

Winslow would not get more specific in terms of Intel's plans for the SSD 700 drives. However, he did point to Intel's joint venture with Hitachi GST that resulted in the production of SAS and Fibre Channel SSDs using SLC technology. Those drives are currently being sold with the Hitachi brand. "We can utilize technology from that development," he said.

The SSD 510 are available in a 120-GB model priced at $284, and a 250-GB model priced at $584. Both prices are for when purchasing the drives in lots of 1,000 units.