Intel releases miniature 80GB SSD

In a dual-drive laptop, the new SSD can improve performance by as much as 60%

Intel has released a solid-state drive that is one-eighth the size of its current 2.5-in. consumer model but can still hold up to 80GB of data.

The SSD 310 series
Intel's new SSD 310 Series is one-eighth the size of a 2.5-in. hard drive.

Intel's new 310 Series drive offers performance on data reads that's similar to that of its X25-M SSD for consumers, but in a form factor better suited for dual-drive notebooks and tablets, the company said.

When paired with a high-capacity hard disk drive in a dual-drive system, the Intel SSD 310 can improve overall PC system performance by as much as 60%. That's because the computer utilizes the vastly faster SSD as a boot drive and to launch applications while using the hard disk drive as its mass storage device.

The SSD 310 is also ideal for tablets and rugged, low-power military or industrial embedded applications. Lenovo said it plans to use the drive in its upcoming line of dual-drive ThinkPads. The drive was recently selected by DRS Technologies for its upcoming Armor tablet PC, which is designed to function in extreme temperatures and hold up to shock, vibration and drops.

The SSD 310 series
The SSD 310 Series weighs only 10 grams, or 10 times less than a 2.5-in. SSD.

"The Intel SSD 310 Series is the first in a wave of SSD products we will introduce throughout the next year," Tom Rampone, general manager of Intel's NAND solutions group, said in a statement. "With this introduction, Intel is offering full SSD performance in a compact, ultra-small form factor."

The new SSD weighs 10 grams and measures 51mm by 30mm (2 in. by 1.18 in.) and is only 5mm (.19 in.) thick.

The SSD comes in 40GB and 80GB capacities. The 40GB model has a sustained read/write rate of 170MB/sec. and 35MB/sec., respectively. The 80GB model has a sustained read/write rate of 200MB/sec. and 70MB/sec., respectively. With regard to random read/write, using 4KB blocks, the SSD can achieve up to 35,000 I/Os per second (IOPS) and 6,600 IOPS, respectively.

The drive also sips power, using only 150 milliwatts when active and 75 milliwatts while in idle mode.

The SSD 310 supports the Serial ATA data transfer protocol over a PCI Express mini-connector for onboard, compact storage in single-drive netbooks, tablets or handheld devices.

"The Intel SSD 310 series will allow us to provide the advantages of a full-performance Intel SSD paired with the storage of a hard disk drive in a small, dual-drive system," said Tom Butler, director of ThinkPad product marketing at Lenovo. "We're looking forward to incorporating this new solution across our ThinkPad line."

The SSD 310 is already shipping to equipment manufacturers. The SSD is priced at $99 for 40GB capacity and $179 for the 80GB version, both in 1,000-unit quantities.

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

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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