Following up from the release of its SSD 520 Series in February, Intel is reportedly getting ready to unveil a couple more drives in May. According to DigiTimes' sources with Taiwanese PC vendors, the company will introduce a new 300 Series model (codenamed Maple Crest) aimed at the mainstream consumer market and a 720 Series (codenamed Ramsdale) for enterprise applications.
Both drives are said to use 25nm multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory. The 720 Series drives will likely use high-endurance variety Intel reserves for enterprise-class SSDs, however. They'll also come in rather hefty 400GB and 800GB capacities and sport a PCI Express interface, whereas the 300 Series will resort to the usual SATA interface. There's no mention of storage capacities or SATA version for the consumer-oriented model; its predecessor uses SATA 3Gbps and is available in 40GB, 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 300GB, and 600GB sizes.
There's also no mention of which controller technology they will be using. Intel's early SSD products were characterized for using the company's own controller chips and being among the most stable and reliable around. Their reputation still stands but now they've also adopted Marvel and SandForce chips.
Looking further ahead, Intel is set to begin the transition to 20nm NAND flash in Q3 and will release a brand new 500 Series solid-state drive (codenamed King Crest). Then, in Q4 2012, we should see 20nm updates to Intel's other SSD lines with the arrival of 100GB, 200GB, 400GB and 800GB Taylorsville drives as part of the 700 Series, and the Jay Crest and Oak Crest SSDs bearing the 300 Series moniker.
The Intel SSD 520 Series is aimed at performance buffs with initial SF-2281-based models offering capacities of 60GB, 120GB, 180GB, 240GB and 480GB. It also has a slim design, measuring 100 x 69.85 x 9.5mm and weighing up to 78 grams. The 60GB model packs read and write speeds of 550MB/s - 475MB/s, while the larger 120GB version provides 550MB/s reads and 500MB/s writes. The 180GB, 240GB and 480GB models are slightly faster again as the write performance is boosted to 520MB/s. Naturally, using the SATA 6Gb/s interface is essential to achieving those speeds.
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