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Intel releases third-gen data center SSD, slashes price by 40%

November 5, 2012 11:30 AM ET

The SSD 710 series SSD marked Intel's move from SLC to MLC NAND flash in its enterprise flash products. The SSD delivered sequential read/write speeds of up to 270MBps and 210MBps, respectively and 38,000 random read IOPS and 2,700 write IOPS. The SSD 710 had a 75 microsecond read latency and an 85 microsecond write latency. A millisecond is one-thousandth of a second; a microsecond is one millionth of a second.

The new DC S3700 Series SSD offers sequential read/write speeds of up to 500MBps and 460MBps, respectively, and 75,000 IOPS (4KB random read) and 36,000 IOPS (4K random write). The DC S3700 suffers about 50 microsecond average of read latency and 65 microsecond write latency, according to Intel.

"When someone is deploying a virtualized environment, this kind of performance in the I/O subsystem will allow end users to put more virtual machines onto a single base of hardware," Peene said. "You'll see very nice consistent performance over time. Our performance will only vary no more than 15%."

For example, in big data and Hadoop file system deployments, the DC S37000 SSD increases the performance for mapping and sorting functions over its predecessor allowing system administrators to deploy fewer nodes in a server cluster for the same or better performance, Peene claimed.

The new SSD also offers a SATA 3.0 (6Gbps) interface versus the SATA II (3 Gbps) interface of its predecessor.

As with the SSD 710, the new DC S3700 SSD is based on a new proprietary Intel ASIC and firmware and includes native 256-bit AES encryption algorithm software in the controller. As with its predecessor, the DC S3700 uses about 20% of its flash for overprovisioning, meaning the host sees only 80% of the physical NAND flash capacity.

Overprovisioning is useful during operations such as garbage collection (the removal of data marked for deletion) and wear-leveling (evenly spreading writes across the flash for greater endurance). The additional 20% NAND flash capacity in the Intel SSD allows the drive to more quickly and easily free up spare blocks. In doing so, it increases performance and lowers the write amplification (when the flash controller must erase a block marked for deletion before performing a new data write).

Intel is currently shipping samples of the DC S3700 to system manufacturers and plans to go into general production in the first quarter of 2013.

Suggested retail prices are as follows:

    2.5-in. form factor
  • $235 - 100GB
  • $470 - 200GB
  • $940 - 400GB
  • $1,880 - 800GB
  • (based on 1,000-unit quantities)
    1.8-in. form factor
  • $495 - 200GB
  • $965 - 400GB

covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at Twitter @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed Mearian RSS. His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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