Intel 313 Series SSDs (also known as "Hawley Creek") were originally scheduled for Q4'11 release but obviously they were delayed. VR-Zone is now claiming that the release will take place alongside the Ivy Bridge processors and the 7-series chipsets. That could mean an April release, though there are also rumors of a delayed IVB launch. Either way, here's a quick rundown of the upcoming 313 SSDs.

The 313 Series is the successor of the 311 Series (or Larson Creek if you prefer codenames), which is a 20GB SLC NAND SSD meant for caching with Intel's Z68 chipset with Smart Response Technology (SRT). SRT will be even more useful with the Ivy Bridge platform because there will be widespread support among the 7-series chipsets: two of the three consumer desktop chipsets (Z77 and H77) will feature SRT, along with one of the business chipsets (Q77). We will also finally see mobile chipsets with support for SRT.

The major change with the 313 Series is that it will switch to 25nm SLC NAND and offer a 24GB model, but otherwise we are looking at a product very similar to 311 Series. The controller is Intel's own, but that's all we know for certain. Most likely the controller is the same as in 310, 311, and 320 Series, i.e. Intel PC29AS21BA0, because Intel's roadmap shows no plans for any other SATA 3Gb/s SSDs. It wouldn't make much sense to make a new SATA 3Gb/s controller just for one product, or to create a new SATA 3Gb/s controller in general at this point. Unfortunately we don't have any performance figures but given that the controller should be the same, the performance should be on par with 311 Series—the 24GB model should have slightly higher write speeds as it uses six NAND channels while the 20GB model uses only five.

Comparison of Intel 311 Series and 313 Series
NAND Intel 25nm SLC Intel 34nm SLC
Capacities 20GB, 24GB 20GB
Interface SATA 3Gb/s SATA 3Gb/s
Controller Intel PC29AS21BA0 (?) Intel PC29AS21BA0
Form Factors 2.5", mSATA 2.5", mSATA
Sequential Read N/A 200MB/s
Sequential Write N/A 105MB/s
Random Read N/A 37K IOPS
Random Write N/A 3.3K IOPS

As for pricing, VR-Zone is claiming a suggested retail price of $99 (20GB) and $119 (24GB). For comparison 20GB 311 Series had an MRSP of $110 and retails for ~$120 now, so a ~$10 price drop sounds plausible. A few German retailers have already listed the 24GB model and it's selling for around €104 without tax, which translates to ~$138, but Euro prices tend to run higher than USD. Moreover, one of the sellers is listing availability as 2-3 weeks so 313 Series may hit the retail channel sooner than April. However, some of the retailers are listing the SSDs as OEM models, which explains the early availability and possibly high pricing as well.

Source: VR-Zone

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  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    SRT doesn't seem like it's angled at the enthusiast market, so is it marketed toward the OEM market? Are there any OEM machines with SRT or another similar caching solution?
  • douglaswilliams - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    The Ivy Bridge goes over Hawley Creek.
    The Sandy Bridge goes over Larson Creek.

    Okay, I think I have it straight in my brain now.
  • Mathieu Bourgie - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    I still don't get why one would get 24GB of caching performance here and there for $120 when one can get a 120GB SSD for $140, use it as a boot drive for W7, demanding programs/games and benefit from full SSD performance all the time?
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    Use a 60 GB SF2281 drive for the cache instead of this - much cheaper, faster and a higher cache hit rate due to the added capacity. You won't have to fiddle around with "which game to install where".
  • Mr Perfect - Friday, February 24, 2012 - link

    Exactly. That's what I did, anyhow. I don't have to worry about what gets installed where, and SRT takes care of accelerating whichever game or program I happen to be using this week. It's surprising that most enthusiasts dismiss this tech.
  • dcollins - Friday, February 24, 2012 - link

    This is exactly what I am suggesting people do when they build new machines. Managing two separate drives is annoying, even for an IT guy like me. Having to remember to change the install location of every program, every time is a PITA.
  • Stahn Aileron - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    Because many consumers can barely handle managing a single drive, much less multiple drives a power user who would bother with an SSD would probably have.

    People are packrats in this digital era. It's MUCH easier (from a user experience point of view) to create a hybrid drive volume with an HDD with SSD cache. Less thought goes into managing data directly by the user. Everything just goes on one volume.

    Also, the caching adapts to your usage pattern. While you don't get the SSD advantage 100% of the time, you do get it for the vast majority of your actual usage time. People tend to use only a handful of apps constantly and repeatedly.

    There's not much reason to waste SSD space on a game, IMHO. (My OS and apps are on an SSD. Most of my games are on an HDD instead for space reasons.) Recall that many games these days are multi-GB data hogs. Mass Effect 2 is nearly 20 GB with all the big DLC installed alone. A 120GB SSD will only get you around half a dozen to maybe a dozen modern games after the OS (not taking into account savegame data, other apps, documents, media, etc.)

    Lastly, with caching, ANYTHING on the volume can get a boost in access speed (given enough usuage). It's not a bad compromise really. You get a nice mix of performance and cost/GB with a hybrid SRT-cached set-up. For many consumers, that's probably more favorable than having to manage multiple volumes themselves.

    I could go into more details with my opinion on this, but I'll stop now.
  • superunknown98 - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    It is early in the morning, but you just claimed an average user can't handle having a single you recommend that they figure out how to buy and setup a cache ssd and also a storage drive? I agree with the original poster, these cache drives should be $40 or less, because as it is now it's cheaper and easier to buy a 60gb ssd to install windows on.
  • PubFiction - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    First of all OEMs can ship this as a solution. This way the customer does not need to know anything. Second alot of less tech savy or medium savy users will have a friend do something for them. Obviously the friend could set this up one time or show them how then be free, but managing files constantly is not possible to do this way. Finally even some power users just do not want to decide which files to load on an SSD. I am one of them, typically I play a game for a while then rarely play it again. With an SSD cache the OS deals with that all seamlessly.
  • ckryan - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    I actually bought a 311 20GB. I never got around to using it as a cache drive with Z68.

    I was more interested because it was half of an X25-E 32GB with TRIM and 34nm SLC. I for one was hoping that the 313 series would be available in 40GB capacities for around $200 -- a pipe dream, apparently. The X25-E is magic.

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