Intel has announced that its new generation of solid-state drives for enterprise data centers will use 25nm MLC flash chips. Although this type of memory is usually considered slower and less reliable than SLC, the switch to multi-level cells enables greater capacities at lower prices. Where the X25-E was available only in 32GB or 64GB capacities, the new 710 Series will be offered in 100GB, 200GB, and eventually 300GB models.

Intel claims the 710 Series would still achieve performance comparable to the X25-E, with up to 2,700 4K random write operations per second, compared to its predecessor's 3,300 IOPS. Read performance is rated at 38,500 IOPS on the 710 Series versus 35,000 IOPS on the older drive.

The company is also touting a feature called High Endurance Technology, which promises to extend the life of the drives through firmware tweaks and algorithms to reduce data errors. Intel says the 200GB model will have a write endurance of 1PB, equal to the old 32GB X25-E model. Other features include enhanced power-loss data protection and AES 128-bit encryption.

Prices for the SSDs start at $649 for the 100GB SSD, the 200GB is $1,289, and the 300GB is $1,929 based on 100 unit quantities. By comparison, the X25-E SSD launched in 2008 with a list price of around $718 for 32GB.