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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  • AnnonymousCoward - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Thunderbolt is dumb. Many systems get 1 port. That gets used when you plug in your display via DisplayPort, and there it goes completely unused! Even if you have a spare port and find something to plug into it, it won't be any faster than USB3 would be. So what's the point?

    I think Apple wanted it since it was "cool, light!" for their marketing, and then engineering common-sense managed to win, since metal wires are cheaper. Intel likes it since they get to sell boatloads of Intel-only controllers. USB3 makes more sense in many ways.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Saturday, May 07, 2011 - link

    Thunderbolt supports daisy-chaining so you can connect up to 7 devices into one port. I'm pretty sure most of the TB devices will support DC when they start rolling out. Plus, you can always get a hub if you have devices that don't support.

    Moreover, there are currently two computers from Apple that have TB so you can't conclude that most systems in the future will be stuck with one port. The 27" already has two BTW.
    Reply
  • B3an - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Can someone answer these questions for me? would appreciate it.

    Will X79 support Ivy Bridge CPU's?
    And if so... then will Ivy Bridge CPU's be available for X79 at around the same time as IB CPU's for the lower platforms or will the high end be left out again?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    No. X79 will be for Sandy Bridge-E, which uses socket LGA2011. There's a schism between the ultra-high-end enthusiast platforms and the "mainstream enthusiast" platforms, which is a continuation of the X58 and P55 split. The problem is that where X58 was clearly superior to P55 platforms in most performance metrics, X58 vs. P67 suddenly didn't look so compelling. We'll eventually get the "fix" for that in Q3/Q4 when SNB-E launches, but just like X58 vs. P67 we'll have X79 vs. Z77 in 1H'2012 to make things difficult. Reply
  • B3an - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Thanks Jarred.
    So the X79 platform will have no CPU upgrade path at all? It will ONLY ever take SNB-E CPU's? Being as Ivy Bridge is just a "tick" and not a new architecture i would have thought X79 would get a IB CPU for LGA2011 that just needs a BIOS update.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    IIRC some of the leaked intel roadmaps have IB based LGA2011 chips coming out in late 2012, about a year after the SB ones. Reply
  • Pneumothorax - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    I'd still be wary of the crap that Intel did to us 1366 users. Promising an 'affordable' 6 core upgrade, but never releasing a chip coming even close to $500. That's what happens when AMD can't compete. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Well, there is i7-970 at 583$ but yeah, I have to agree with you. Sandy Bridge runs circles around Gulftown and is much cheaper. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Isn't that a fairly recent price drop? IIRC before SB launched the only hexes they offered were in the $900ish range. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Yeah, i7-970 was 880$ when it was launched in July last year (before that there was only 999$ 980X). It was dropped to 583$ when i7-990X was launched in February IIRC. Reply

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