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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  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    That would make sense. It looks like Intel has switched their product release cycles. Before, it was high-end chips first and then mainstream chips later on (at least this was the case with Nehalem, I'm too lazy today to check anything older that that :D). Now it is the vice versa. Mainstream chips in H1 and high-end/enterprise in H2.

    This make sense though since enterprise level stuff is more complex and thus needs more time and money to be designed, tested etc.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    It does make sense in some ways, the other half though is that there're lots of people who bought 2500/2600K systems that probably would've bought LGA2011 quads at the higher margins if the high end part launched first. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Lets say someone drops an Ivy Bridge CPU in an existing 6 series motherboard, could it run at DDR3-1600 or only at 1333? Technically, the memory controller is in the CPU die, so it sounds reasonable to say it would do 1600. On the other hand though, the motherboard would have to be able to handle the speed and would doubtlessly have some sort of UEFI settings related to it. Any thoughts here? Reply
  • don_k - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    Personally I want to see confirmation that Ivy Bridge will be on X79 (in good time) otherwise there would be no hesitation. But I forsee a dead end for X79 like with X58 and I just don't like it. If IB won't be on X79 quickly enough and IB turns out to be quite a bit faster at a smaller process.. but that means waiting for IB. Bloody hell Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Saturday, May 07, 2011 - link

    Don't expect LGA 2011 Ivy Bridges before H2 2012. SB-E is Q4'11 so Intel won't release IB-E in Q1'12. Reply
  • don_k - Saturday, May 07, 2011 - link

    Yup, that's what I gathered. Frankly I don't see any point in LGA 2011 if, as I expect, IB is much faster than SB at the same clock speeds. You then get to wait for IB while the supposedly more 'mainstream' platform is faster than the high-end platform. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Saturday, May 07, 2011 - link

    I would say the primary market for LGA 2011 parts is the enterprise market. The mainstream products (LGA 1155) lack many necessary features (PCIe lanes, ECC, DP setups...) that are required by servers and higher-end workstations. While there is Xeon E3-1200 lineup, it does not offer more than four cores and there is no option for DP setup either.

    For enterprises, the raw CPU performance is not always the number one concern. Fast I/O options are usually crucial and the 16 PCIe 2.0 lanes provided by mainstream SB may not be enough for those needs. In most cases, the performance per watt is also essential, especially in servers which are online 24/7. That is why Xeon lineups often offer low-power options.

    From consumer's standpoint, SB-E may look like it makes no sense but in the end, it is not really aimed at them. There will be few CPUs for enthusiasts but other than that, it's solely Xeons.
    Reply
  • Casper42 - Friday, May 06, 2011 - link

    I really wanna slap someone over at Intel in their Marketing Dept.

    Why isnt this new chipset simply the X69?
    did all the engineer's giggle too much or do they somehow think the SB-E NB/PCH is magically next generation because its taking so long to release.

    If you're not including USB3 or LightPeak, it doesn't deserve to be a new generation.

    Its bad enough there will be 4 different sockets for Servers next year, and I'm sure at least a dozen procs per socket (except maybe on the ultra high end, half dozen there more likely)
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Sunday, May 08, 2011 - link

    According to VR-Zone, 20GB "Larsen Creek" SSD will be 119$. 40GB X25-M/310 series is cheaper than that! Reply
  • DanaG - Sunday, May 08, 2011 - link

    Anyone know if the Ivy Bridge IGP is supposed to support 120Hz desktop? I don't expect true stereoscopic 3D on it, but it'd be nice for a 3D laptop to not switch from 120 to 60 when running on IGP.
    120Hz would also be helpful for playing 24FPS blu-ray.
    Reply

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