Intel 310 Series 80GB mSATA SSD Review

Introduction and Specifications

Actor Rick Moranis must be moonlighting at Intel, because honey, somebody in Santa Clara shrunk the solid state drives. And it's not as if SSDs are big to begin with. The typical mechanical hard drive built around the 3.5-inch form factor measures about 4 inches x 1 inch x 5.8 inches (W x H x D, and yes, we rounded) and are absolutely bulky compared to the average 2.5-inch form factor SSD, let alone those built around the even smaller 1.8-inch form factor. Unlike HDDs, there aren't any platters, motors, or other space-hogging moving parts inside a flash memory-based SSD, which is the primary reason they lend themselves so well to notebooks.

That's all well and good, but as tablets, portable media players, and even ultra-thin notebooks keep shrinking in size, so too will the components they're built around. This is where Intel's new 310 Series SSDs come into play. The 310 Series utilize the same 34nm NAND flash memory technology and controller found on the chip maker's 2.5-inch SSDs, but in a form factor just 1/8th the size. We're talking a scant 2 inches (51mm) long by 1.18 (30mm) wide and flatter than a pancake. And the best part, says Intel, is that despite its diminutive stature, you can expect performance similar to that of the company's popular X25-M 34nm SSD.

Intel 310 Series 80GB mSATA SSD
Specifications & Features
Maximum sequential read speed up to 200MB/s

Maximum sequential write speed up to 70MB/s

34nm NAND flash memory

Multi-Level Cell (MLC)

TRIM support (OS dependent)

Up to 35,000 IOPS (random 4KB reads)

Up to 6,600 IOPS (random 4KB write)

51 x 31 (mm)
Full-sized mSATA form factor

Native Command Queuing (NCQ)

MTBF: 1.2 million hours

Active power use: 150mW

Idle power use: 75mW

Warranty: 3 years

Shock Resistance: 1,500G (@ 0.5msec half sine wave)

O/S Support: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / Mac OS / Linux

Intel's 310 Series SSDs ship in the following capacities and street prices:

  • Intel 310 Series 40GB: $100
  • Intel 310 Series 80GB: $190
Capacity isn't the only thing that separates these two SSDs. The 40GB model is rated at up to 170MB/s read and up to 35MB/s write speeds, while the 80GB version kicks things up a notch with 200MB/s read and 70MB/s writes, the latter being twice as fast as the 40GB unit.

We have on hand the faster and more capacious of the two, and we also have benchmarks of Intel's X25-M Gen2 80GB on hand to compare it with. Intel claims we'll see similar performance, though we should note the X25-M drive boasts a faster read rating at up to 250MB/s (and the same write speed rating).

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