Intel, which has been putting more and more emphasis on its solid-state drive business since moving into it full force in 2009 with its partner, Micron, on March 28 started shipping the third generation of its SSD 320 series on 25-nanometer NAND flash memory.
The SSD 320, the next generation of Intel's client product line for use in desktop and notebook PCs, is targeted at devices for mainstream consumers, corporate IT or PC enthusiasts who want a performance boost over conventional hard disk drives, Intel marketing executive Pete Hazen said.
The new drives, designed to replace Intel's current X25-M SATA SSD and are more than twice as fast doing sequential writes, come in a range of capacity options: 40GB, 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 300GB and 600GB.
They also feature "enhanced security features and improved power-loss management" for desktop/notebook PCs or server data center storage, Hazen said.
The redesigned SSD has an all-new Intel controller to go with 128-bit AES self-encryption. Its data reliability has been improved with additional data arrays that augment the error correction in the NAND flash.
A failsafe feature has been added, so that the drive can complete a write in midstream -- even if it has been hit by a power loss.
The 320 line (pictured) uses a 3-gigabit-per-second (3gbps) SATA II interface to support an SSD upgrade for the more than 1 billion installed SATA II PCs worldwide, Hazen said.
SSDs have no mechanical parts, use less power and have speedier read/write performances than most hard disk drives. The tradeoff is that they are more expensive than HDDs.
Only one month ago, the world's largest processor maker came out with another entirely new SSD series -- the Intel 510 -- aimed at high-performance users and high-end game enthusiasts.
Intel SSD 320 pricing, based on 1,000-unit wholesale quantities, is as follows: 40GB at $89; 80GB at $159; 120GB at $209; 160GB at $289; 300GB at $529 and 600GB at $1,069. Consumer buyers should check retailers/e-tailers for pricing. All models include a limited 3-year warranty, Intel said.