Intel's Third Generation SSDs Scale to 600GB

It can be argued that Intel essentially kickstarted the performance-oriented solid state drive (SSD) market with the introduction of the X25-M, which at the time of its release was one of the faster drives on the market. Since then, the SSD market's been flooded with enthusiast SSDs boasting scorching fast read/write speeds and highly tuned controllers.

Well, Intel's looking to make another splash by announcing its third generation SSD 320 Series. The new series is an upgrade to the high-performing X25-M SATA model and uses a 25nm manufacturing process. Larger capacities and cheaper pricing are the name of the game this time around.

"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. "Intel's third generation of SSDs adds enhanced data security features, power-loss management and innovative data redundancy features to once again advance SSD technology. Whether it's a consumer or corporate IT looking to upgrade from a hard disk drive, or an enterprise seeking to deploy SSDs in their data centers, the new Intel SSD 320 Series will continue to build on our reputation of high quality and dependability over the life of the SSD."

The new series comes in 40GB, 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 300GB, and 600GB capacities. Each one still straddles SATA 3Gb/s instead of the newer SATA 6Gb/s interface, but on the performance front, these third-generation drives boast up to 39,500 input/output operations per second (IOPS) random reads and 23,000 IOPS random writes on the highest capacity drives, as well as a doubling of sequential read and write speeds from its second generation drives to 270MB/s and 220MB/s, respectively.

That's not quite on par with the fastest drives available today, but if an Intel label gives you warm fuzzies for its reliability, it's not like these drives are slowpokes, at least not on paper.

"Solid-state drives continue to be one of the hottest trends in computing," said Bernard Luthi, vice president of marketing, Web management and customer service at leading e-retailer "Intel remains a top brand because of its consistent performance and extremely low return rate. We are sure customers will welcome the new higher capacity drives, and now is a great time for consumers to upgrade their PC to a fast new SSD."

Pricing for the new drives have been set at $89 (40GB), $159 (80GB), $209 (120GB), $289 (160GB), $529 (300GB), and $1,069 (600GB).