Intel was, very surprisingly, the price combatant on the SSD market when it was first with 34nm NAND circuits and this has lead to a big user base. Despite some bugs in the firmware they are still very popular thanks to its overall stable nature. Now the successor to Intel’s performance SSD for retail 510 is coming, the 520 series.
The 510 series is Intel’s high-end series for retail, available in sizes 120 GB and 250GB. One of the problems with the 510 series is that it is not quite where it should be from a performance perspective, and that it is only available in two capacities.
The new 520 series code-named Cherryville offers better performance and more models, which should make it a more attractive alternative. The SSDs will come in a variety of sizes and configurations to get prices down, so quantity is not bad.
|Model||Intel SSD 510
|Intel SSD 510
|Intel SSD 520
|Controller||Marvell 88SS9174-BKK2||Marvell 88SS9174-BKK2||?|
|Technology||34nm MLC NAND||34nm MLC NAND||25nm MLC NAND|
|Interface||SATA 6.0 Gb/s||SATA 6.0 Gb/s||SATA 6.0 Gb/s|
|Seq. read speed
||450 MB/s||500 MB/s||530 MB/s|
|Seq. write speed
||210 MB/s||315 MB/s||490 MB/s|
|Random read speed
||20 000 IOPS||20 000 IOPS||<40 000 IOPS|
|Random write speed
||8 000 IOPS||12 000 IOPS||<45 000 IOPS|
|MTBF||1 200 000 hours||1 200 000 hours||1 200 000 hours|
|Warranty||3 years||3 years||3 years(?)|
Intel SSD 520 looks like a minor update of the 510 series, and a possible price pressurer since it has crossed over to 25nm circuits instead of 34nm. The capacities will be 60, 120, 160, 240, 480 GB, which is better than the meager lineup of today.
We also see two other changes worth mentioning. Both are called Hawley Creek, and the first is a refresh of the 20 GB Larson Creek that use 25nm SLC NAND and comes in sizes 20 GB and 24 GB. It is once again a SSD developed for being cache for a larger mechanical drive through Intel Smart Response, and sport SATA 3.0 Gb/s.
The second SSD of Hawley Creek is a new SSD series from Intel with the new mSATA standard that is starting to ship with more motherboards, but most commonly used by notebooks. This builds on 25nm NAND in MLC suit with 40, 80 and 128 GB capacities. It also looks like the budget-oriented 320 series will be phased out, which means the new 520 series will also cover this segment.
320 series becomes superfluous and replaced in Q4 by 520 series and Hawley Creek?
All SSDs will launch in Q4 and judging from the roadmap they are competitive and affordable alternatives. It also makes a break for the mSATA standard that is expected to grow, in formfactors where size matters more than anything.