Intel has announced the impending availability of a new breed of enthusiast-grade solid-state drives (SSDs), the Intel 730 Series, which includes technology originally unveiled back in August at the Intel Developer Forum.
Although Intel had originally announced it would be demonstrating a means of overclocking SSD drives
to improve performance at the event, with code even making it into an update of the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility
, the company appears to have changed tack. Rather than offering user-configurable overclocking to end-users, the company is taking the technology and using it to offer pre-overclocked SSDs to performance enthusiasts.
The Intel 730 Series SSDs, adorned with a circuit-based skull just in case there was any doubt as to its target market, is the first to benefit. According to Intel's figures, the drives boast a 50 per cent boost in controller clock speed from 400MHz to 600MHz and a 20 per cent bump in the speed of the NAND flash memory clock from 83MHz to 100MHz. The result: claimed transfer rates of up to 550MB/s and reads of up to 89,000 input-output operations per second (IOPS.)
Despite factory-set overclocking - and, to be clear, there's no option to use the beta code in the XTU to change those figures yourself - Intel is also claiming market-leading reliability. According to the company's internal testing, the drive offers endurance rated at 70GB of writes a day compared to the industry average of 20GB. To back that up, the company is offering a full five-year warranty with each purchase.
UK pricing for the drives has yet to be confirmed, with Intel promising a 240GB model at $249.99 and a 480GB model for $479.99 in the US (around £150 and £287 respectively, excluding taxes.)