Monday Intel officially launched a new line of 2.5-inch solid-state drives (SSDs) called the 320 Series. The new line replaces and builds upon Intel's current high-performing X25-M SATA SSDs, offering better performance and reliability.
According to Intel, the 320 SSDs are based on 25-nm Intel NAND Flash Memory which should offer a 30-percent price reduction compared to second-generation drives. That also means consumers will see larger storage capacities of up to 600 GB thanks to the 25-nm processing and lower manufacturing costs.
"Intel designed new quality and reliability features into our SSDs to take advantage of the latest 25nm silicon, so we could deliver cost advantages to our customers," said Pete Hazen, director of marketing for the Intel Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) Solutions Group.
Targeting mainstream consumers, corporate IT or PC enthusiasts looking for a performance boost over HDDs, the 320 Series arrives with 40 GB, 80 GB, 120 GB, 160 GB, 300 GB and 600 GB versions. Surprisingly, all six will use the SATA 3.0 Gb/s interface (rather than the speedier SATA 6.0 Gb/s), but that also means the drives will be supported by "more than 1 billion" SATA 3.0 Gb/s PCs already sitting in homes and businesses worldwide.
On the technical front, Intel's 320 Series produces up to 39,500 input/output operations per second (IOPS) random reads and 23,000 IOPS random writes on its highest-capacity drives. They also provide up to 220 MB/s sequential writes and up to 270 MB/s sequential reads. Intel also threw in 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard capabilities on every drive, to help protect personal data in the event of theft or loss.
"Already one of the most solid-performing SSDs over time, Intel continues to raise the bar on SSD reliability in the way it has architected its third generation, using proprietary firmware and controller, to further demonstrate that not all solid-state drives are created equal. In this rendition, Intel creatively uses spare area to deploy added redundancies that will help keep user data protected, even in the event of a power loss," the company said.
Although consumer pricing wasn't provided, tags for retailers purchasing the new SSDs in quantities of 1000 are $89 for the 40 GB version, $159 for 80 GB, $209 for 120 GB, $289 for 160 GB, $520 for 300 GB and $1,069 for 600 GB.
Intel SSDs can be purchased in the United States from such retailers as Best Buy or Fry’s Electronics, plus a variety of resellers, retailers or Internet e-tailers such as Newegg.com or Amazon.com worldwide.