Just a few short days later than rumors suggested, Intel has officially released the new SSD 330 Series for those who seek a good mix of performance and value. Based on the SandForce SF-2281 controller and bringing the the SATA III 6Gbps interface to Intel's budget line for the first time, the new drives can hit maximum sequential performance of 500MB/s read and 450MB/s writes. Input-output operations per second (IOPS) are rated at up to 22,500 for random 4K reads and 33,000 4K random writes.

That's a significant bump from the 320 Series' claimed sequential read and write speeds of up to 270MB/s and 220MB/s, respectively. On paper, it almost matches even the higher end 520 Series, though in both cases random read and write performance is slower on the new SSD 330 Series.

  Intel SSD 320 Series Intel SSD 330 Series Intel SSD 520 Series
Interface SATA 3Gb/s SATA 6Gb/s SATA 6Gb/s
Sequential Performance (R/W) 270 / 220 MB/s 500 / 450 MB/s 550 / 520 MB/s
Random Performance (R/W) 39.5k / 23k IOPS 22.5k / 33k IOPS 50k / 80k IOPS
Capacities (GB) 40/80/120/160/300/600 60/120/180 60/120/180/240/480
Warranty 5-year limited 3-year limited 5-year limited

The drives are built using Intel's 25nm NAND flash memory and are available in 60GB, 120GB, and 180GB capacities. With prices set at $89, $149, and $243 for each of those sizes, that works out to around $1.25 - $1.40 per gigabyte, which is not bad compared to other SSDs. Unfortunately, whereas the previous 320 came with a five year warranty, the new 330 offers only three to compensate for the lower prices.

For reference, Intel's SSD 520 Series drives are available in 60GB ($110), 120GB ($180), 180GB ($290), 240GB ($345), and 480GB ($800) sizes, with a limited warranty good for five years.