Intel Monday announced a new line of solid-state drives (SSDs) that are based on the serial ATA (SATA) 3.0 specification, which doubles I/O throughput compared to previous generation SSDs.
Using the SATA 3.0 specs, Intel's new 510 Series gets 6Gbit/sec. performance and thus can take full advantage of the company's transition to higher speed SATA bus interfaces on the recently introduced second generation Intel Core processor platforms.
Supporting data transfers of up to 500MB/sec, the Intel SSD 510 doubles the sequential read speeds and more than triples the sequential write speeds of Intel's SATA 2.0 SSDs. The drives offer sequential write speeds of up to 315MB/sec.
Intel said its new 510 series is ideal for demanding gamers, media creators, performance-intensive workstation users and any technology enthusiast.
"As a game developer the number one thing we try to optimize during development isn't our game's memory usage or frames per second, but our content creator's iteration time," said Dave Lang, CEO of game development studio Iron Galaxy, in a statement. "By transitioning our team to Intel's 6Gbit/sec SSDs, we've seen a dramatic 15 to 20% improvement in the time it takes one of our developers to make a change in the editor, then get to try it out in-game. Faster iterations mean more iterations, which means a better game for the consumer."
Intel builds proprietary SSD processor technology, but it is using a Marvell controller in its latest SSD.
According to a spokeswoman, when Intel introduced its X25 SSD product line in 2008, the third-party controllers available did not meet its requirements, therefore Intel chose to develop its own proprietary controller. Since that time, third-party controller technology has improved considerably, she said.
"Intel will consider using a third-party controller when it meets the needs of the product and Intel specifications and validation. In this case, we chose to use a third-party controller which met our needs. We timed the product to be available when the 2nd Generation Intel Core processors became available supporting the 6 Gbit/sec interface," she said.
Last week, SSD controller manufacturer SandForce announced a line of SATA 3.0 controllers that will be used by multiple manufacturers producing SSDs with 500MB/sec throughput.
"The Intel SSD 510 Series helps round out our SSD product line and was specifically designed for applications that require high sequential media transfers," said Pete Hazen, director of marketing for Intel's NAND Solutions Group. "Whether it's a gamer ... or a performance-intensive workstation user, the new 6Gbit/sec SATA SSD from Intel is not only significantly faster than the top 10,000 RPM gaming hard disk drives, it's also faster than two RAIDed gaming HDDs."
The Intel SSD 510 Series uses the company's 34-nanometer, multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory technology.
The product is available now and comes in a 250GB capacity version priced at $584, and a 120GB version at $284, in 1,000-unit quantities. Both products include a limited 3-year warranty.
Intel said the 120GB version is aimed mostly at dual-drive desktops, which allows users to have the operating system and applications boot from the faster SSD while using the HDD for mass data storage.
Intel SSDs can be purchased from a variety of resellers, retailers or Internet e-tailers such as Newegg.com or Amazon.com.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.