Although not quite the Intel SSD announcement we were expecting in Q4, today Intel unveiled its first mSATA SSD: the Intel SSD 310.

Based on the 34nm Intel X25-M G2 controller, the 310 will be available in both 40GB and 80GB capacities. The 80GB version should perform a bit slower than an 80GB X25-M G2 while the 40GB version will perform like a 40GB X25-V.  

Intel SSD 310 Comparison
  Intel SSD 310 Intel X25-M G2 (34nm) Intel X25-V (34nm)
Codename Soda Creek Postville Postville
Capacities 40/80GB 80/160GB 40GB
NAND IMFT 34nm MLC IMFT 34nm MLC IMFT 34nm MLC
Sequential Performance Read/Write

Up to 200/70MB/s (80GB)

Up to 170/35MB/s (40GB)
Up to 250/100 MB/s Up to 170/35MB/s
Random 4KB Performance Read/Write

Up to 35K/6.6K IOPS (80GB)

Up to 25K/2.5K (40GB)

Up to 35K/8.6K IOPS Up to 25K/2.5K (40GB)
Typical Power Consumption Active/Idle 150mW/75mW 150mW/75mW 150mW/75mW
Size 50.8mm x 29.85 mm x 4.85 mm 100.5mm x 69.9 mm x 7mm or 9.5mm 100.5mm x 69.9 mm x 7mm or 9.5mm

The 310 isn’t about performance, rather form factor. The SSD in Apple’s new MacBook Air is just the beginning - OEMs are beginning to shed the limits of traditional hard drive form factors as SSDs don’t need to house a circular platter.

The mSATA interface is physically a mini PCIe connector (similar to what you’d see with a WiFi card in a notebook) but electrically SATA. The result is something very compact.

The full sized mSATA 310 measures 50.8mm x 29.85mm and is less than 4.85mm thick. Total weight? Less than 10 grams. 

The Intel SSD 310 is OEM only at this point. Lenovo has already announced it will offer the 310 in ThinkPads in the future, while DRS Technologies will show off a tablet PC next month with the 310 inside. The 40GB drive is priced at $99 while the 80GB version will run you $179 in 1000 unit quantities. 

As for the rest of Intel’s SSD updated lineup? While internal roadmaps showed a Q4 release for the 3rd generation X25-M based on 25nm NAND, that product is obviously delayed. We’re also hearing that new SandForce drives are still months away so those of you eagerly waiting for new drives at the high end will have to wait a bit longer.

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  • ArteTetra - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    It's a shame write speed performance is still so poor... a low-RPM HDD has twice the sequential write speed. Reply
  • erple2 - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    Which I think is why they make such great Data Disks (plus cost per GB), and terrible application disks. Reply
  • Computer Bottleneck - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    Looking forward to seeing these included in Moorestown/Medfield Tablets. Reply
  • Computer Bottleneck - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    Oops, forgot Moorestown/Medfield lacks the connection for these. Reply
  • iwod - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    All of a sudden i am not too keen on SSD or NAND 's future. Or, again we are nearing the end of the curve for SSD improvement.

    1. We are limited by the amount of "Channels" we can fit in these form factor. Even an 2.5" would allow theoretically 20 Channel SSD. Double of what Current Intel SSD offers.

    2. Since we are moving to much smaller size SSD as this article suggest. Theoretical channel would be reduce to 4 - 8. That is similar performance to our current regular SSD.

    3. Even with DDR NAND, we would only see Double the performance. But that is at the cost of even worst reliability. And we are already much worst with each die shrink.

    4. Error Correction is not going to fix this problem.

    So i think after next gen SSD, which is coming in a few months time, we would have seen the last explosive increase Price / Performance in SSD to a much more gradual increase in price performance and capacity.
    Reply
  • martinf - Thursday, December 30, 2010 - link

    "The mSATA interface is physically a mini PCIe connector (similar to what you’d see with a WiFi card in a notebook) but electrically SATA. The result is something very compact."

    So, I guess ther's no use in trying to pop one of these in the PCI Express mini card of my Intel 510MO (wich annoyingly only has two SATA ports) ?
    What would have been sweet.
    Reply
  • Finite Loop - Thursday, December 30, 2010 - link

    I've got an eee PC 900 with a mini PCI express connector currently used for the provided SSD storage device.

    Will I be able to use this Intel SSD instead? If so, what kind of performance increase can I expect?
    Reply
  • ArteTetra - Thursday, December 30, 2010 - link

    The SSD of the Eee PC 900 is about 2 cm longer than Intel's. So you won't be able to screw it to the motherboard.
    The performance increase should be pretty good, as I think the bottleneck of this netbook is often the extremely slow Phison SSD (I own a 900 too).
    Reply
  • Finite Loop - Thursday, December 30, 2010 - link

    Good to know about the difference in form factor. Anything should be faster than the supplied 16GB ssd. Maybe intel should include a bracket for eee pcs, like supplying a 3.5" bracket for 2.5" drives. Reply
  • semo - Thursday, December 30, 2010 - link

    "While internal roadmaps showed a Q4 release for the 3rd generation X25-M based on 25nm NAND, that product is obviously delayed"

    No word on the Vertex 2 25nm editions? It's strange that not many people are talking about it.

    http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=21308...
    Reply

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