Intel Smart Response Technology: SSD Caching on Z68 Tested
The Larson Creek SSD 311 Solid State Drive
In parallel with the Z68 Series Chipset launch, Intel has released the 'Larsen Creek' series of SSD's. The finalized name is the SSD 311 Series.
This is a very small capacity SSD, aimed at being as good as it can be when acting as a pure HDD cache. To accomplish this, a drive needs the best possible controller and flash memory, as random access caching beats up such a cache with very small random writes. Since only the most frequently read files (or parts of files) are cached, there's no real chance for contiguous files to be stored - it will all be purely random writes, which over time will do a number on the fragmentation level of an SSD.
Intel attacked this caching chore by equipping the SSD 311 with enterprise-grade 34nm SLC flash memory. That's right folks, SLC is back. Sure this type of flash memory is very fast, and also very expensive. Luckily the 311 has only 20GB of it, so costs can be kept relatively low.
...and now let's get a look at the guts:
The 311 is equipped with only 5 flash chips, meaning the layout is similar to that of the X25-V 40GB SSD. It also means that the 2.5" unit can be easily restructured into an mSATA unit, for use in mobile platforms equipped with newer 6-series chipsets (Z68, HM67, QM67).
Enough of the guts. Let's see how this puppy performs!