Intel’s SSD Plans

Intel's SSD Roadmap
  Currently Shipping Future Products
Series 310 320 510 310 320 700 700
Code Name Soda Creek Postville Refresh Elmcrest Larsen Creek Postville Refresh Lyndonville Ramsdale
Capacities (GB) 80/40 600/300/160/80/40 250/120 20 300/160/80 300/200/100 400/200
Flash 34nm MLC 25nm MLC 34nm MLC 34nm SLC 25nm MLC 25nm MLC-HET 34nm SLC
Form factor mSATA 2.5" 2.5" 2.5"/mSATA 1.8" 2.5" PCIe
Interface SATA 3Gb/s SATA 3Gb/s SATA 6Gb/s SATA 3Gb/s SATA 3Gb/s SATA 3Gb/s PCIe 2.0 (?)
Read speed (MB/s) 200 270 500 N/A 270 N/A N/A
Write speed (MB/s) 70 220 315 N/A 220 N/A N/A
4KB read (IOPs) 35000 39500 20000 N/A 39500 N/A N/A
4KB write (IOPs) 6600 23000 8000 N/A 23000 N/A N/A
Availability Now Now Now Q2'11 Q2'11 Q2'11 Q4'11

It looks like Intel has learned something from their CPU model name fiascos, though to be fair the SSD lineup naming is quite simple. The 300 series is intended for consumers, the 500 series is for enthusiasts/prosumers, and the 700 series is for enterprise customers. Let’s take each in turn.

The soon-to-be-released 320 series is the same as the 2.5” 320 series, only in a 1.8” form factor. “Lyndonville” and “Ramsdale” are set to replace the X25-E lineup, which is frankly long overdue. Unfortunately, both still list SATA 3Gbps as their interface speed, which further explains why Intel is using someone else’s controller for the 510 series. However, most enterprise customers will be stuck with SATA 3Gbps controllers for a while yet so it’s not as big of a problem. The MLC-HET flash memory is supposedly higher quality MLC for enterprise use. Sadly, we don’t have any further information about MLC-HET and how it compares with regular MLC and SLC.

There aren’t any new 500 series parts, so we’ll move to the 300 series. The 20GB 310 series “Larsen Creek” SSD is a special case intended solely for use with Intel’s SRT. That accounts for its small size as well as the use of SLC flash; we’ll have more information on it in the near future, including a full performance review. Pricing is expected to be relatively low (under $100), so with the appropriate platform it could be ideal for users on a tight budget who still want SSD performance.

Wrap-Up

As always, Intel has many irons in the fire and most are looking very interesting. From ultra-high-end enthusiast processors to low power Atoms and everything in between, they have something to sell you. They also have companion chipsets, motherboards, SSDs, wireless devices, and other odds and ends to go with their processors. It’s no surprise this business model continues to increase their revenue and net profits every year. We always look forward to the steady march of technology; we don’t yet know what 2013 and beyond will bring, but 2011 and 2012 are looking very strong for Intel. AMD’s Bulldozer and Llano certainly have their work cut out for them, but we’ll see where the chips fall in the next few months.

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  • DanNeely - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    looks like it's not going quite as fast as was expected; prior rumors had it stripped from the x79 chip too.

    OTOH if filling in all the expansion slots in an ATX board would've been tricky with x79, it's going to be even worse for enthusiast z7x boards unless the number of lanes on the southbridge is increased, especially if DMI isn't given a boost to allow the SB lanes to run at 3.0 speeds as well. 2x gb nics, and 3rd party audio will take 3 lanes. Additional usb3 and sata 6gb controllers will take 1 each. That leaves at most 3 SB lanes to make 1x slots. The situation is worse if the board makers insist on adding legacy firewire or pata ports. Thunderbolt ports will IIRC eat a PCIe lane each as well. I suspect 4 to 8 lane pcie bridge chips (or possibly PCIe to PCI bridge chips) will end up being fairly common on these boards.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Do the current 6-series chipsets connect to the CPU with a 20Gbps DMI link, which isn't even enough for all the potential peripherals if they're all maxed out, but in practice that almost never happens.

    8x PCIe 2.0 lanes = 40Gbps
    2x SATA 6Gbps = 12Gbps
    4x SATA 3Gbps = 12Gbps
    14x USB 2.0 = 6.72Gbps
    Gigabit Ethernet = 1Gbps
    --------------------------------
    Total Potential = 71.72Gbps!

    I believe the 7-series is still using DMI 2.0, so it remains at 20Gbps, but now the total potential bandwidth for all ports is:

    8x PCIe 2.0 lanes = 40Gbps
    4x USB 3.0 = 19.2Gbps
    2x SATA 6Gbps = 12Gbps
    4x SATA 3Gbps = 12Gbps
    10x USB 2.0 = 4.8Gbps
    Gigabit Ethernet = 1Gbps
    --------------------------------
    Total Potential = 89Gbps

    Realistically, the SATA ports are pretty much never going to all be 100% utilized at the same time, and the same goes for the PCIe ports and USB ports. It's possible Intel will tweak the DMI interface to boost bandwidth as well, which could easily accommodate the additional bandwidth heavy devices.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    I was looking at the number of devices to connect, not total bandwidth (pcie to pci or pcie-pcie (more lanes) bridge chips don't help with that.

    My observation is that after you connect all the devices to the PCIe bus that need to be connected, you don't have enough lanes left to fill out all 7 slots on an enthusiast level full atx board. Depending on the chipset you have anywhere between 1 and 3 slots off the CPU, and at most 3 1x slots off the southbridge. With thunderbolt potentially eating a 6th, and a few of the 6x series boards having enough USB3 controllers to have 8 or 10 USB3 ports, it's entirely possible to use up all of the southbridge's 8 lanes just on onboard controllers. The main advantage I see in potentially running the SB lanes at PCIe3 speeds isn't total bandwidth which isn't likely to be saturated; but allowing board makers to use 4xUSB,3 4x SATA6GB, or 2x GB nic controllers to get their port inflation numbers up while only consuming a single PCIe lane instead of 2.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    That or they should bump the number of lanes on the southbridge from 8 to 12ish to allow connecting as many low average bandwidth devices as they could when the PCI controller was still available. IIRC the controller on Intel's current desktop boards supports 5 PCI devices. Reply
  • Ammaross - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    If you remember, current P67 motherboards share PCIe lanes. If you drop a card in the bottom PCIe gfx 4x slot, it disables some on-board things (firewire, some USB headers, etc). In essence, the lanes are shared amongst the devices already. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    I wasn't aware of anything like that, I assume the disabled headers are USB3 since there's no reason to disable any of the USB2 ports. The firewire port surprises me though, I'd always assumed it would have been stuck on the legacy PCI bus since there's plenty of capacity there and no need for the higher speeds of PCIe. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    While you're probably right about it not seeing much traction in the enthusiast market, assuming it trickles down to the mobile chipset as well, support for a third monitor would be really nice for my work laptop. Reply
  • iwod - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    This basically are the rumors we have heard from other places summed up here. Of coz being Anandtech this means the rumors are realistic.

    The EU are properly a lot different to current SandyBridge, We expect to have double the Gfx Performance from Ivy Bridge. If any of the previous Intel slide are to be trusted. 22nm would also allow much higher Clock Speed for GPU part.

    I hope Anandtech could find out whether Ivy Bridge have FMA.

    $100 for a 20GB SLC SSD is really expensive, compare to the previous rumors of 40 - 50 USD.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Ivy Bridge IGP will only have 16 EUs which is only 33% more than what SB has. Like Anand mentioned in the SB review, it unfortunately looks unlikely that the IB IGP would be twice as fast, which is a shame.

    In the original version, I said the "Larsen Creek" SSD will be priced at around 50$ like the rumors have suggested but apparently Jarred edited that. Of course it is safer to say 100$ and then be happily surprised when it turns out to be 50$ instead of getting those angry comments when it turned out to be 100$ instead of 50$.
    Reply
  • iwod - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    My thought is that these "Next Gen EU " would be completely different to current EU, that is why it is not fair to compare EU numbers to performance.

    And if this new EU runs 33% faster per clock, and runs at 33% higher clock while having 33% more EU then previous EU, should land us at 100% performance increase.

    Of coz, Hardware dont matter much on GPU, not at all. It is software, drivers that makes ALL the difference. As we have seen with S3. Nvidia has double the Software Engineering compare to hardware working on it. And if Intel continue the way it is, their GPU hardware will never get the respect they deserve.

    I am looking forward to the Larsen Creek SSD.
    Reply

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