Intel 313 Hawley Creek SRT Caching Drives Now Available

Subject: Storage | April 7, 2012 - 11:15 PM |
Tagged: Intel SRT, Intel, caching, 313, 25nm

Intel is continuing the Intel SRT caching technology with two new Single Level Cell (SLC) SSD drives in both 2.5” SATA and mSATA form factors. The new Intel 313 series SSDs come in 20 GB and 24 GB capacities and are available for purchase now. Intel hopes that vendors will integrate the caching drives into their machines to improve performance while offering lots of storage with a mechanical hard drive.  They further advertise the drives as "ultrabook ready."

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The specifications can be found in the chart below, but they do seem to be a little strange, in that the larger capacity drive is actually slower in 4K random and sequential reads (which does not seem correct). After all, who would pay extra money for a slower caching drive (and a measly 4GB extra capacity) where read speeds are going to be more important than write speeds as far as general desktop performance.

  Intel 311 Intel 313 20 GB Intel 313 24 GB
Random 4K Read IOPS 37,000 36,000 33,000
Random 4K Write IOPS 3,300 3,300 4,000
Sequential Read 200 MB/s 220 MB/s 160 MB/s
Sequential Write 105 MB/s 100 MB/s 115 MB/s
Manufacturing Process 34nm 25nm 25nm
NAND Type SLC SLC SLC
Price ($USD) 119.99 (retail) 119.99 (retail) 139.99 (retail)

Compared to the previous generation "Larsen Creek" Intel 311 series SSD, the new "Hawley Creek" drives offer faster sequential read and write speeds.  The 24 GB Intel 313 drive does manage to beat both the 20 GB Haswell and previous generation Intel 311 drive on 4K random writes, but otherwise the new drives are equal to, or slower than, the previous generation in 4K random IOPS (input/output per second).  Considering the new drives are retailing for the same or more than the previous generation, the new Intel 313 SSDs really are not looking all that promising, despite the move to a 25nm NAND manufacturing process.

I am personally waiting for reviews to come out on the new Intel 313 drives before making a final decision, but they are nonetheless perplexing.  More information is available here (PDF).

*Edit by Allyn*:

The 'odd' differences in performance are due to the channel routing. The 20GB model has the standard Intel 3Gb/sec controller using 5 of the 10 data channels (similar to the old 40GB X25-V). Each of those channels is routed to a 4GB SLC die. This lays out to 5 TSOP packages with 1 die each. The 24GB model also uses the same controller and channel layout, but those 5 channels are routed to 6x 4GB dies. This is an odd configuration, and assuming Intel kept the same PCB layouts, the 2.5" model has provision for additional mounted TSOPs but the mSATA PCB is too tight on room, meaning they would have had to shift only one of the 5 flash packages to a double stacked configuration. More to follow on that once we see these in the flesh.

Source: Intel
April 8, 2012 | 10:46 PM - Posted by gloomfrost

I'm a little confused about this product. If i own an SSD would this decrease cold boot times or game load times?

April 9, 2012 | 04:22 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

This is more for people that do not already own an SSD. It caches some of the stuff on the mechanical hard drive to give close to SSD general desktop performance.

April 10, 2012 | 12:00 AM - Posted by gloomfrost

thanks for the reply Tim.

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