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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  • fic2 - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    I think Intel GPUs get pretty much the respect they deserve. As long as they keep crippling the mainstream parts by putting in crap like HD2000 they don't deserve any respect. The only decent GPU they have is the HD3000 in the 'k' series which will never be used by the people that buy 'k' series parts (ok, 1% might). Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Yeah, but all of the mobile chips pretty much get HD 3000, and they're the place you're more likely to use the IGP. Maybe Ivy Bridge will be better in this respect; guess we'll wait and see. Reply
  • ssj4Gogeta - Sunday, May 08, 2011 - link

    Actually in that case it will be 1.33*1.33*1.33=2.35 times faster. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - link

    Oh if only math worked that way in real life. :) Reply
  • Conficio - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Kristian,
    thanks for an article full of details. However, I find this article harder to read than necessary. Because it is peppered with abbreviations that I'm not familiar with. They might be daily use for an Intel enthisiast but they have not yet reached the mainstream.

    May I suggest AnandTech adds to their awesome Benches a Glossary and links the first use (in an article) of any name or abreviation to a short definition page with a list of serach results for the term (good Google juice if you knwo what I mean). That would make it so much easier to brush up on a term the reader is not familiar with.

    Alternatively (or in addition) spell out the names of technologies with appreviations at theri first use, such as S... R... T ... (SRT) so that one can form a mental word for the appreviation and better understand what is said.

    That said, keep up the good work. One wants to read these articles and understand in detail as opposed to skimming just for buzz words and chatter (slashdot I'm looking at you).

    P.S.: The formatting of tables, etc. often does not scale with enlarging the font, but that is for another post.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm still learning and sometimes it's just hard to use the full name instead of the abbreviation, mainly because in the forums I go everyone uses abbreviations.

    While I don't want to blame Jarred for this, in the original version at least the SRT was first mentioned as Smart Response Technology (SRT) so people get the idea of what the SRT means. In the original version, there is also info on the Z68 and SRT in general but due to the NDA, we couldn't publish it so that might have added confusion since some parts of the other areas of the article referred to that.

    If you really want to be helpful, send me an email (click my name above the article) and give me more examples of the cases where you wish that the abbreviation should be explained more clearly :-)
    Reply
  • HilbertSpace - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    I also did a google search for "Intel SRT" (didn't know what it was) and got to Intel's site that talks about "System Recovery Technology" - same acronym two different things... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Just to clarify, we are under NDA on Smart Response Technology until Z68 launches, at which point Anand will have a full explanation as well as performance results. That also takes care of the Larsen Creek SSD, so I'm as interested as the next guy to see what it will do for performance. Basically, I had to cut a whole page from the review where Kristian discussed SRT and Z68 features, but we'll have the official launch soon enough to fill in the gaps. :-) Reply
  • Conficio - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    This roadmap screams to me that Intel does not support Thunderbolt for non Apple systems.

    I'd have expected the next set of chipsets to support it for display and other purposes. Instead we see USB 3.0 accross teh board. Not that that is bad, but the lack of Thunderbolt in all of 6 new chipsets is really sendign a message (It's Apple only technology) despite all the statements otherwise.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Thunderboilt is just a combination displayport/PCIe lane in a single plug. I don't see any reason why it would need special chipset support. Reply

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