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.