Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel

Introduction and Specifications

Introduction:

Intel has pushed out many SSDs over the years, and unlike many manufacturers, they have never stopped heavily pushing SSD in the enterprise. They did so with their very first push of the X25-M / X25-E, where they seemingly came out of nowhere and just plunked down a pair of very heavy hitting SSDs. What was also interesting was that back then they seemed to blur the lines by calling their consumer offering 'mainstream', and considering it good enough for even some enterprise applications. Even though the die-hard stuff was left to the SLC-based X25-E, that didn't stop some consumers from placing them into their home systems. The X25-E used in this review came from a good friend of mine, who previously had it installed in his home PC.

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With several enterprise class models out there, we figured it was high time we put them all alongside each other to see where things are at, and that's the goal of this particular piece. We were motivated to group them together by the recent releases of the DC S3500 and DC S3700 drives, both using Intel's new Intel 8-channel controller.

Specifications:

  X25-E SSD 320 SSD 710 SSD 910* DC S3500 DC S3700
Capacity 32, 64GB 40, 80, 120, 160, 300, 600GB 100, 200, 300GB 400, 800GB 80, 120, 160, 240, 300, 480, 600, 800GB 100, 200, 400, 800GB
Read (seq) 250 270 270 500 500 500
Write (seq) 170 205 210 375 410 365
Read (4k) 35k 39.5k 38.5k 45k 75k 75k
Write (4k) 3.3k 23k (8GB span) 2.7k 18.7k 11k 32k
  • Since the SSD 910 is subdivided into 4 or 2 (depending on capacity) physical 200GB volumes, we chose to test just one of those physical units. Scaling can then be compared to other units placed into various RAID configurations. 910 specs were corrected to that of the single physical unit tested.
  • All other listed specs are specific to the tested (bold) capacity point.

 

 

Controllers:

Starting with the good old X25-E, which pretty much started it all, is Intel's original SATA 3Gb/sec 10-channel controller. Despite minor tweaks, this same controller was used in the X25-M, X25-M G2, SSD 320 and SSD 710 Series. Prior to Intel releasing their own 6Gb/sec SATA controller, they filled some of those voids by introducing Marvell and SandForce controllers with the 510 and 520, respectively, but those two were consumer-oriented drives. For the enterprise, Intel filled this same gap with the 910 Series - a PCIe LSI Falcon SAS RAID controller driving 2 or 4 6Gb/sec SAS Hitachi Ultrastar SSDs. Finally (and most recently), Intel introduced their own SATA 6Gb/sec controller in the form of the DC S3500 and DC S3700. Both are essentially the same 8-channel controller driving 20nm or 25nm IMFT flash, respectively.

More to follow on the next page, where we dive into the guts of each unit.

Continue reading our roundup of Intel's enterprise SSDs!

Intel 710 SSD Prices Leaked

Subject: Storage | August 8, 2011 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: ssd, nand, mlc, Intel, 710

According to VR-Zone, Intel's newest enterprise series 710 Lyndonville solid state drives (SSD) will be launching soon in a mid-august time frame, and will be carrying a price-per-gigabyte metric that only a corporate expense account could love.

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The Intel 311.  The 710 series will have the same 2.5" form factor.

The new drives will come in 100GB, 200GB, and 300GB capacities and will be priced at approximately $650, $1250, and $1900 USD respectively.  Featuring 25mm eMLC HET, the drives feature 64MB of cache, user-controllable over-provisioning up to 20% (which helps drive longevity by reserving more of the drive for replacement of worn out cells), and a SATA II 3.0Gbps connection.  The SATA 3Gbps connection is not likely to bottleneck the drive as it will only feature 270MB/s read and 210MB/s write speeds.

The eMLC HET flash chips are higher quality MLC chips that Intel hopes will provide enterprise level SLC enduring without the higher cost of the SLC chips.  Interestingly, the drives only carry a 3 year warranty that is then further impacted by the state of the E9 wear level indicator so that the warranty expires once the three years are up or the E9 indicator reaches 1, whichever comes first.  The consumer grade Intel 320 drives on the other hand carry a longer 5 year warranty.

My aging X-25 drive remembers the days when Intel pushed for driving down the cost of SSDs; however, does Intel still remember that goal?

Source: VR-Zone

Intel's Z68 SSD caching revealed

Subject: General Tech | April 28, 2011 - 12:52 PM |
Tagged: leak, ssd, Intel, 720, 710, 520, z68, larson creek

ASRock made a bit of a mistake which enthusiasts everywhere are grateful for. We have been given a sneak peek at the upcoming SSD families, the 720, 710 and 520 series.  As if that wasn't good enough for those keeping an eye on the development of SSDs, we also get a peek at what even a small SSD can do for a system built on a Z68 board and using a traditional platter based HDD.  Check out The Inquirer for more information on this very interesting leak.

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"Chipzilla recently updated its popular range of SSDs with the 320 Series of drives based on 25nm NAND flash memory modules, but it looks like the chipmaker will release another, smaller capacity drive to interface with the Z68 chipset for its Sandy Bridge line of processors. At the launch of the 320 Series, Intel announced capacities ranging from 40GB to 600GB, however a new 20GB drive codenamed Larsen Creek was spotted when Asrock sent out some marketing material about Intel's upcoming Z68 chipset."

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Source: The Inquirer