Intel announces third-generation SSD: 320 Series

By on March 28, 2011, 12:32 PM
Intel has launched the much-anticipated follow up to its popular X25-M solid-state drive. The new 320 Series is the first of the company's drives to use 25nm MLC NAND chips, and the smaller process size has also enabled capacities up to 600GB. Performance is up as well: the 320's sequential write bandwidth is rated at 220MB/s, contrasting with the X25-M's 100MB/sec, while read bandwidth numbers are 270MB/s for the 320 and 250MB/s for the X25-M.

The 320 is positioned as a mainstream desktop and notebook SSD, and because it uses the same controller chip as the old X25-M, you're still limited to 3Gbps SATA connectivity. This means Intel is leaving the high-end sector to the 34nm, 6Gbps SSD 510 series it launched late last month featuring data transfers of up to 500MB/s. Still, the company improved its controller and firmware and significantly bumped random IOPS performance with small files on the 320.


According to the official press release issued today, Intel's third-generation drives will be available in 40GB, 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 300GB, and 600GB capacities at prices of $89, $159, $209, $289, $529, and $1,069 respectively, based on 1,000-unit quantities. Assuming prices don't get bumped too much at retail this could represent savings of up to 20-30% compared to previous X25-M models with equivalent capacities.

All models include a limited three-year warranty from Intel, 128-bit AES encryption and Intel's SSD toolbox plus downloadable Intel Data Migration Software "to help clone the entire content of a previous storage drive (SSD or HDD) to any Intel SSD". You can check out some reviews at: AnandTech, Legit Reviews, Storage Review, and Tech Report.



User Comments: 14

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Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Awesome, as soon as I paid roughly $200 for a OCZ 120GB drive. Haha.. oh well, Im satisfied with it. This is how technology will always be.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

We're getting closer to some reasonable SSD prices for the mainstream population. Just another couple more years...

Omnislip said:

Why don't they make a 3.5" one which is either cheaper (less need to make it compact) or much higher capacity?

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Because then they are back in the business of making separate drives for desktops and laptops.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Omnislip said:

Why don't they make a 3.5" one which is either cheaper (less need to make it compact) or much higher capacity?

3.5".. 2.5"... 1.8"... I don't think it really matters in terms of price/capacity.

All these form factors are merely legacy ideas and the actual electronics inside of these SSDs don't seem to be constrained by the physical dimensions of the chassis. Most SSDs being 2.5" might be a case of serving to the "lowest common denominator" since 2.5 will fit in just about everything. RAIDing them together would be the answer for higher capacities and the manufacturer's probably consider that when thinking about making a 3.5" drive (not many out there)

Physically larger flash chips wouldn't necessarily be less expensive, either. In fact, making them as small as possible uses less material and more can be produced per wafer... as well as being mass produced along with existing chips which I'm sure makes them less expensive for most applications.

Cota Cota said:

Omnislip said:

Why don't they make a 3.5" one which is either cheaper (less need to make it compact) or much higher capacity?

I gave this a good thinking, and i came to the conclusion of the Nand chips they use; since the memory chips already come in those dimensions it seems like at least for them its cheaper to just stick to those chips than making bigger and cheaper ones. Dont get me wrong since i do want 3.5 drives in my desktop whit more capacity at lower prices but at least this generation its sticking to capacity rather than the "hysteria" speed since 200MB's are enought.

In SSD's the biggest improvement rather than the raw write/read speeds is the HUGE improvement on those seek times of files, no more HDD heads going from here to there when you are multitasking (yeah that one).

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Do note that the performance depends on the drives capacity.

The 160GB drive is twice as fast as the 80GB drive on random write and sequential write performance.

They are only matched in speed at sequential reads (which are not so common for dektop usage, random reads and writes are what's most important)

You can see a graph of this in the Anandtech article on it's first page linked above...

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

SSD's are definitely the future. Still expensive though, alas I hope that I'll be getting one someday. Until they reach common HDD price and sizes of at least 2 TbB, I think many HDD-users will wait until the market "opens up" a bit more for them.

Guest said:

Unforntunately for Intel, anyone who does their homework will buy a Sandforce SSD.

lchu12 lchu12 said:

Wow, this explains the sale I saw the other day on Intel SSD.

$189.99 for the X-25M

Guest said:

i want even 160 gb at $60.

Guest said:

Quote "SSD's are definitely the future" .. FOOL.. SSD's are the now. PRAM is the future.

MR T's Technology news.

LOL ... seriously, SSD's are taking their sweet time to normalize in price. I reckon maybe 2 to 3x premium over Hards is about justified. And capacity has to grow by a large margin. Many many people would love an SSD of 500GB+ even if based on last years Flash. ?Maybe when the Chinese start producing ...eh?

Mizzou Mizzou said:

SSD's still have a ways to go before displacing the traditional HDD, especially when you're dealing with high capacity drives in the 2TB & 3TB range. They are definitely good for loading of the operating system and high use programs but are too limited in capacity for large storage applications.

scottybobo said:

SSD's still have a ways to go before displacing the traditional HDD, especially when you're dealing with high capacity drives in the 2TB & 3TB range. They are definitely good for loading of the operating system and high use programs but are too limited in capacity for large storage applications.

Exactly, if SSD's had more than 40gb for 100$ id buy one. But for 70$ an hdd can get you 150gb... so no matter how fast ssd's are, your paying a large sum just for a small amount of storage space. Or your paying an insanely large sum for a decent amount of storage space.

Wait a couple of years we shall

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