Intel 310 Series 80GB mSATA SSD Review

Article Index

Our Summary and Conclusion


Performance Summary: It would seem unlikely that a company could take a 2.5-inch SSD, carve away about 7/8ths of its physical properties, and maintain comparable performance. Yet Intel made such a claim, and then set out to prove it. Save for a blip in CrystalDiskMark, benchmark after benchmark proved Intel wasn't kidding when the company told us its 310 Series SSD would offer performance similar to the 2.5-inch Intel X25-M 34nm 80GB SSD. That's exactly what the 310 SSD did, and even managed to pull out a few victories in PCMark Vantage's storage subsystem tests. The X25-M does boast a faster read speed rating (250MB/s versus 200MB/s), and this disparity played out in most of our benchmarks, but we should point out that more often than not, the 310 SSD performed as advertised.


Intel's 310 Series SSDs come in 40GB and 80GB capacities.

 Intel's ability to shrink an existing SSD line and maintain comparable performance bodes well for the future of mobile devices. The 310 SSD is proof that you can stick NAND flash memory chips on a much smaller form factor -- in this case, it's mSATA -- and have it whip data to-and-fro at nearly the same clip as 2.5-inch and 1.8-inch SSDs, at least within Intel's own family of drives. Higher performing SSDs aimed at enthusiasts still leave Intel's X25-M and 310 Series in the dust, but those are geared towards a different audience. Those kinds of drives belong in desktops and high performing notebooks, whereas Intel's 310 Series is geared towards embedded applications and increasingly smaller mobile devices, like tablets and ultraportables.

We do have a bit of concern with the price, however. Intel says the 310 Series is already shipping to customers for $179 in 1,000-unit quantities, which means it's unlikely you'll see this drive in a $400 or even a $500 tablet, at least not the 80GB version. To be fair, that's more of a complaint about the SSD industry as a whole and not a knock specifically on Intel. But unlike other SSD vendors, Intel has paved a path for mobile device makers to offer thinner hardware with a fair amount of capacity and decent performance, and it would be a shame if this only manifested itself in high-dollar electronics. Regardless, Intel's SSD shrink is an impressive technological accomplishment and it's now up to mobile device makers to put it to good use.

 

 

  • Performs as advertised
  • Same NAND flash memory chips and controller as Intel's X25-M SSD
  • Tiny stature opens the door to increasingly smaller mobile devices

 

  • Weak write performance compared to today's high-end SSDs
  • Not likely to work in your notebook's PCIe slot

 


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