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Intel's 510 Series.

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February 14, 2011 12:05:58 PM

I'm going to be putting together a system sometime between now and the first week of march. I'll definitely be going SSD but I'm still looking for the right solution.

I'll be using the SSD(s) for boot and programs, whilst keeping documents and work on a separate hdd.
Probably looking for a total SSD storage size of 300gb or thereabouts.

Is it beneficial to look for two drives I can raid 0? Are there any drives coming down during this month I should be watching? Intel hasn't said anything about their G3's since the big P67 debacle.

If there's any other hardware I should be looking out for between now and the beginning of march, feel free to link that too!

Thanks

More about : intel 510 series

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February 14, 2011 3:28:48 PM

I have been checking every morning and every evening for more information about the new Intel 510 series solid state drives. According to the most recent articles, Intel will release the new ssd's this month. Currently it is possible to pre-order the new ssd's in the United Kingdom. I assume anyone in the European Union could pre-order the drives. As of this morning the new drives are not yet available in the United States. No official word yet as to the exact date the new ssd's will be available in the USA.

Several news article indicate the new Intel drives will be SATA III (6 Gb/s) capable. That does not mean the new drives will be able to trasmit and receive data at that speed. For a variety of technical reasons actual data transmission rates for all SATA capable drives are much much lower. It is a bit disappointing.

Additional information indicates Intel will not use the new 25nm MLC NAND flash. Instead, the new drive will use 34nm MLC NAND flash. Read speeds on the new drives will be "up to" 450 MB/s and write speeds will be "up to" 300 MB/s. The drives are supposedly capable of 20,000 IOPS for 4KB reads and 4,000 IOPS for 4KB writes. Typically, actual performance will vary.

Detailed technical reviews are not available at this time. I do not exepct to see any technical reviews until the drives are actually released for sale. Sometimes reviewers receive products in advance of the actual release date. The reviewers may not publish their reviews until the products are actually released due to a non-disclosure agreement.

If you are interested in a raid array and faster speeds, then you may want to consider PCI-e based ssd's. The PCI-e based ssd's are available with multiple ssd's in a raid O array. The drives fit in either a PCI-e x16, x8, or x4 slot on a motherboard.

OCZ offers 13 PCI-e based ssd's with Raid 0 for consumers in the USA. The drives can be used in either a PCI-e x16, x8, or x4 motherboard slot. Here is a link to the drives at newegg.com:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Here is a link to an excellent technical review of a PCI-e based OCZ RevoDrive X2 published last month by Tom's Hardware:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ocz-revodrive-x2-pc...

There is one more thing I should mention. There are some motherboards that have only two PCI-e x16 slots but no x8 or x4 slots. The PCI-e x16 slots are backward compatible with x8 and x4 devices. As long as you only use the primary x16 slot it has all 16 lanes available for the primary slot. That primary slot is usually for a video card. However, if you add a second device such as a video card for Crossfire or SLI or a video card and a ssd, then both x16 slots are reduced to only 8 lanes each. Both slots have to share 16 lanes. The video cards will suffer a slight performance hit of about 2% to 5%. There may also be motherboards with more than two PCI-e x16 slots that also reduce the number of lanes available from 16 to 8 if mutiple devices are used. Please check your motherboard manual or manufacturer's web site for more information about your specific motherboard. Hopefully you'll have all 16 lanes available in all the PCI-e x16 slots.

We should see the release of new ssd's with improved performance between now and May. Posters at this web site seem to be anxiously awaiting the new Crucial C400 ssd's.

You mentioned documents and work rather than hardcore gaming. There are a lot of technical reviews and news articles about ssd's but they often miss the mark. In my case I wanted specific information about Adobe products and other mainstream applications I use for semi-professional work. Other than mentioning that applications load fast, there was very little information about how ssd's would improve performance for the specific applications I use. On a whim I decided to try the Adobe web site and see if it had any useful information. There's an entire section about optimizing Adobe product performance for Windows 7, Vista, and XP. There is an entire section devoted to solid state drives. Here's a link to the web page:

http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/404/kb404439.html

Scroll down to the bottom of the list to get to the link to the ssd section.

I also visited the Xbit Laboratories web site checking for new information about ssd's. I found a very interesting article published last November containing facts and forecasts about Flash and Solid State Drives. There is some good news and some bad news.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/flash-...


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a b G Storage
February 14, 2011 5:03:58 PM

There you have it. The 510 seems to be coming with 34nm Nand and the g3 with 25nm nand is MIA.

If I were in the market for 300GB of ssd I would wait for 25nm Nand to hit the market. It shouldn't be that far off.

As to RAID. That's a choice that every one of us has to make but my feeling is that the SSD simply doesn't require it. The real world difference is minimal unless you're working some serious i/o and seconds count. I'm not looking to short stroke my raided ssds to keep the information on the outside chips...
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a b å Intel
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February 14, 2011 5:29:48 PM

Intel delayed the introduction of ssd's using 25nm MLC NAND flash. The reasons for the delay were not made public. I suspect some sort of technical or production problem might be the cause. They actually pulled 510 series information from their web site. Intel ssd's might not be the fastest available but they do have a very good reputation for reliability.

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between Generation 2 (G2) and Generation 3 (G3). There seems to be a murky gray area between the two. You can see the confusion and misunderstanding in the forums so I avoid using those terms.
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February 15, 2011 2:14:37 AM

Update - Found it - Last October Anand Lal Shimpi published a brief article at AnandTech about Intel's Generation 3 ssd specifications. The major difference was the switch to 25nm IMFT Flash which should provide twice the storage capacity at the same price. At the time Intel was sampling (testing) the 25nm MLC NAND. Anand also reported he heard Intel was still working on the 25nm process to get production quality NAND. Anand did not identify the source of the information. The article also included a chart comparing the Intel Generation 2 and 3 drives.

Here is a link to the article at anandtech.com:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3965/intels-3rd-generatio...

I wonder how other companies define Generation 3.
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a b G Storage
February 15, 2011 7:46:46 PM

I remember that article. AND I've been in trouble for calling the "second" generation the third or fourth generation because... There have been a number of controller upgrades. However, Intel rules the roost and they call it one and two. OCZ vertex II etc... So I bought in to the generation xyz theory I guess. Thank God Kingston doesn't number their generations.

So I guess they ran in to trouble with the 25nm NAND production process? I am impressed with their ability to keep news under wraps. Tighter than the CIA.
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February 15, 2011 8:22:29 PM

Understandable. It almost seems as if each each company has their own version of "generations" and they don't always match because there appears to be no international standard. At least I have not come across one.

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February 16, 2011 3:18:53 PM

I would say after the issue OCZ has been having with their release of 25nm drives on the new Vertex 2's, I can see why Intel may have delayed their release of the G3's. It seems performance has dropped to a point going to 25nm technology.

http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?...
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February 16, 2011 7:51:58 PM

^5 +1 what tecmo34 said.

I was just over at the OCZ web site and forums. OCZ changed from 34nm to 25nm NAND in their Vertex 2 series ssd's without any sort of press release or major announcements. In addition OCZ did not change the model name, product number, or description to reflect the switch. The Vertex 2 is still SATA II (3 Gb/s) too. Seems the 25nm NAND drives are not performing to customer expectations. I got the impression the new 25nm Vertex 2 performed worse than the original 34nm Vertex 2. OCZ may have been first to market with ssd's using 25nm NAND but that's all they can claim.

Intel on the other hand has simply delayed introducing ssd's with the new 25nm NAND. They are still working on manufacturing production quality 25nm NAND. The new Intel 510 series that will be introduced later this month will use the 34nm NAND. Looks like Intel is playing it safe and sticking with reliable components for the time being. I doubt they want a repeat of the Sandy Bridge recall.



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February 18, 2011 11:08:12 AM

Update - Yesterday there were several announcements that Intel is planning on releasing their new 510 series ssd's on March 1st.
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February 18, 2011 11:19:38 AM

Yes, I saw that too! I'm debating on going with two 120gb models instead of the 250gb model. Allows me to raid (No I dont need to but why not?!) and saves a bit of money, only losing 10gb.

It just better not get delayed again!
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February 18, 2011 11:31:19 AM

I recommend waiting for technical reviews.

Just remember the 510 ssd's are not Generation 3 (3) drives. They are SATA III (6 Gb/s) capable but they still use 34nm NAND.
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February 18, 2011 11:58:42 AM

Right now I actually prefer the 34nm. OCZ has been getting a lot of flack for their rushed 24nm models. It may be more expensive, but I'm quite glad that this isn't too "new" and that really the only thing to double check is the interface's stability.
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February 18, 2011 3:23:26 PM

I am inclined to agree. It does not appear as if 25nm NAND is ready for mass production.
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February 21, 2011 10:25:57 AM

Today's article seems written for us. :) 
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February 21, 2011 11:58:33 AM

Good Morning!

Just read the Toms Hardware article. It appears as if OCZ was the first to market which would normally mean press releases, announcements, lots of hoopla, and technical reviews. Instead, OCZ chose to remain silent until customers complained. Silence had to be a management decision. What did management know? Inquiring minds want to know!
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February 21, 2011 2:49:12 PM

^^ Yes, very interesting to see what develops in the coming weeks.
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February 21, 2011 5:12:01 PM

It seems like everyone has been holding their breath for the 25nm drives, but for flash memory smaller does not mean better. Cheaper, yes, but not better. A smaller flash memory cell can't hold as much of a charge as a larger one, and that means tighter tolerances (which translate to slower write speeds), less write endurance, and shorter time until charge depletion. Those are pretty basic laws of physics which can't easily be circumvented.

The controller manufacturers are trying to mitigate these issues by providing larger spare areas and more buffer RAM, but the 34nm chips will still have the advantage. I suspect Intel's 510 series is going to be pretty popular among people who value reliability.

And unless there's some fundamental breakthrough we may find that the progression of ever-larger SSD capacities starts to lag as we start to crowd the limits of the technology.
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a b G Storage
February 22, 2011 6:00:15 PM

^^ Absolutely... I might add more and more devices are fighting for NAND causing a supply and demand issue as well.
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February 22, 2011 10:39:32 PM

Wow Newegg is trying to get rid of the Vertex 2's so terribly. $25 off and just sent another coupon for 25% off.
Prices will still be going down in March, so I'm not going to jump. Plus I want to see what the 510's do before I commit to G2 or "G3"
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February 23, 2011 12:16:21 AM

So far we don't have very much in the way of SATA III (6 Gb/s), 25nm, Generation 3 (G3) solid state drives.

Intel delayed introducing their own G3 ssd's. Next Monday Intel will be releasing their new and improved G2 ssd. I'm glad Intel assigned them a different model name. Less confusion that way.

OCZ snuck them in some of their Vertex 2 ssd's and customers are not satisfied.

Corsair did release SATA III (6 Gb/s), 25nm, G3 ssd's. Unlike OCZ, Corsair made sure customers knew what they are getting. There were press releases, public announcements, and explanations. Corsair also made sure the G3 ssd's were assigned their own model numbers and product SKU's.

Who is next? Crucial? I'll have to do some research.
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February 23, 2011 3:40:09 PM

510 UPDATE - I was checking out some of the online vendors in the United Kingdom that were taking pre-orders for the Intel 510 Series solid state drives. I stumbled into a web site that lists prices from other vendors. The web site had a list of some of the features for the Intel 510 250Gb ssd:

Read: 400MB/s
Write: 200MB/s
Random 4K Read: 20000IOPS
Random 4K Write: 4000IOPS
Cache: not specified
Connector: SATA 6Gb/s
NAND type: MLC (34nm)
Controller: Intel
Three years warranty

Do you see what I see? Intel Controller!!! I wonder if that information is accurate. I wonder what other surprises Intel might have for us.
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February 23, 2011 4:31:24 PM

JohnnyLucky said:
Do you see what I see? Intel Controller!!! I wonder if that information is accurate. I wonder what other surprises Intel might have for us.
I'm not sure what the surprise is here - Intel's SSDs have always used Intel controllers....
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February 23, 2011 5:05:03 PM

No, there have been rumours all month that the 510 series would be using a Marvell controller. So many rumours that I'd still have to wait and see before I can say either way. It is nice to see a counter-rumour suggesting Intel controllers, hopefully that is true.
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February 23, 2011 5:31:02 PM

+1 what Geofram said.

When a Marvell controller was mentioned in the articles there were comments in forums that indicated disappointment. On the other hand I've only found the information about the Intel controller at one web site in the UK. It could be a mistake.
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February 23, 2011 6:15:08 PM

It probably is a mistake with so many other "sources" claiming Marvell. Is it possible that Intel is waiting for the true G3's to loose their Sata III controller? Is the use of the Marvell controller enough to consider the Sata II G2's that will certainly have to drop in price once the 510's are released?
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February 23, 2011 6:46:52 PM

Here is the pattern so far - When new ssd's are introduced they command a premium price. I tracked a few brands and models. Generally the prices of the new and improved ssd's are between $20.00 and $70.00 more than the "older" ssd it is replacing. At the same time the prices of older models have been reduced a little bit. There have been no drastic price cuts. Newegg has had a few sales but they usually only last a day or two and they are usually for the lower capacity ssd's.
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February 23, 2011 9:23:39 PM

Interesting, I hadn't heard the rumour about the Marvell controller. I for one certainly wouldn't be willing to pay any sort of price premium for an Intel drive with a non-Intel controller...
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a b G Storage
February 24, 2011 11:55:13 AM

It may be Marvell like in it's characteristics. I'm with Sminlal on this but am willing to wait for the proof if this drive makes it to market before I lose interest.
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February 24, 2011 2:53:36 PM

Intel will release their new 510 series ssd's on Tuesday, March 1st. Just have to wait 5 more days.

I know there will be 2 technical reviews published as soon as the ssd's are released. I suspect there will be more technical reviews.

EDIT - Anand of AnandTech published that his next ssd technical review will be Intel. That makes three technical reviews coming up.
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February 24, 2011 4:27:40 PM

Found this at a UK web site

120GB - £223 450mb/s read, 210mb/s write 8,000 IOPS Write 20,000 IOPS Read (model: SSDSCMH120G2K5)
250GB - £458 500mb/s read, 315mb/s write 8,000 IOPS Write 20,000 IOPS Read (model: SSDSCMH250A2K5)

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February 24, 2011 6:10:10 PM

I'm hoping the US prices are the ones previously rumoured and not these above.
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February 24, 2011 9:33:21 PM

Since it is a UK web site the prices are in English Pounds. Generally I have found that European prices are higher than USA prices.
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February 24, 2011 10:20:20 PM

Wait when did this:
Quote:
A 120GB drive will cost $279, while a 250GB version will set you back $579.

turn into this:
Quote:
At least initially, it will be available in only two capacities, 120 GB and 250 GB, priced at around US $366 and $767, respectively.

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February 24, 2011 10:45:46 PM

I usually see the $279.00 price for the 120 GB 510 at US web sites. I guess we will find out the price when newegg and other vendors in the USA start selling them. The initial price will probably be at the full msrp.
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February 25, 2011 12:01:25 AM

Best answer selected by Geofram.
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February 25, 2011 10:09:21 PM

Vendors reportedly have received shipments of the Intel 510 series ssd's. They are waiting for Intel to release them. That should happen next Tuesday.

Vendors have placed orders for the new Crucial C400. They are expecting them to arrive in about 3 to 4 weeks. They also have to wait for Crucial to release them. That means they probably will not be available for purchase until the latter part of next month.

Despite the 25nm NAND, the new controller and several other improvements are expected to result in a 20% increase in performance over the equivalent C300 models. I am not sure what the result will be for real life programs and applications.

This morning Patriot announced they will be offering a new series of ssd's equipped with a new SandForce 2100 series controller. They expect to release the drives during the second quarter of this year - sometime during the April to June time frame.

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February 28, 2011 10:02:57 AM

Johnny, where do PCI-E SSD's belong in this mix? The $/gb of these new SataIII drives is close to some of the PCI-E drives and sometimes perform worse.
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February 28, 2011 11:26:50 AM

PCI-e based ssd's with multiple ssd's in Raid 0 array perform much better than ssd based drives. The big problem again is price.
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February 28, 2011 11:44:07 AM

Something like this. 240GB @ $525. Compared to the 510's 250GB @ $579.

Or this faster one that blows the 510 out of the water for $625.

You completely lose any hope of mobility with the drive, but are there really any drawbacks to going PCI-E if you have the room on the board?
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March 2, 2011 1:00:35 PM

Anyone pulling the trigger with AandTech's review?
The Marvell controller still turns me off.
I may wait until the Vertex 3, though what OCZ did with the Vertex 2 upsets me.
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March 15, 2011 3:16:32 AM

Ugh, Vertex 3 is the last piece I'm waiting for >.<
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March 15, 2011 2:34:22 PM

The OCZ Vertex 3 should be released next Monday. Some vendors are taking pre-orders.

Within the next 30 days we should see the Crucial C400 series and Intel 320 series become available.
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March 15, 2011 10:44:55 PM

Where are you hearing Monday?
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March 16, 2011 3:27:32 AM
March 16, 2011 4:10:07 AM

If I'm set on getting it, do you think its worth preordering? Or should I wait until I can shop around? I definitely do not want to have to wait for backorder.
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March 16, 2011 9:55:30 AM

Typically several technical reviews are published on the release day. Read the technical reviews first, then order.
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