Intel recently began shipping small solid state disk (SSD) drives that deliver almost as much performance as the companys popular 2.5-inch X25-M SSDs, but in one-eighth the size (51mm x 30mm x 5mm).
Intels 310 Series SSDs, code-named Soda Creek, are targeted at PCs, notebooks, tablets, and embedded applications. The drives are based on 34nm, multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash technology, as opposed to the more expensive single-level cell (SLC) technology. The SSDs are available in 40GB and 80GB versions, both with m-SATA interfaces.
When the 310 SSD is combined with a traditional disk drive, users can expect up to a 60% increase in performance (based on the PCMark Suite benchmark), according to Troy Winslow, director of product marketing in Intels NAND Solutions Group.
For the 80GB version of the 310 SSD, Intel claims performance of up to 250MBps on reads and 70MBps on writes. In terms of I/Os per second (IOPS), Intel claims up to 35,000 IOPS on random reads with 4KB blocks, and up to 6,600 IOPS on random writes.
The SSDs are designed to accelerate boot time and access to frequently-used applications and files. For now, however, users will have to manually put the data on the SSD devices.
The first generation of the 310 does not work as a cache, so users have to place files on the SSD, says Winslow, but the second generation will be able to be used as a cache with automatic data placement via most-recently-used algorithms. The second generation of the SSDs is due later this year.
The 310 SSDs, which weigh only 10 grams, support SATA signals over a PCI Express (PCIe) mini-connector.
Initial OEMs for the 310 Series SSDs include Lenovo (for its ThinkPad laptops) and DRS Technologies (for its upcoming Armor tablet PC).
In 1,000-unit quantities, the 40GB 310 is priced at $99, while the 80GB version is priced at $179.
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