Intel next-gen SSD specs leaked

October 7, 2010 | 10:27

Tags: #intel-ssd #leak #solid-state-storage #ssd #x25-e #x25-m #x25-v

Companies: #intel

Details of Intel's next generation of SSDs has leaked out, and if the specifications prove true the company could have a seriously hot property on its hands.

The specifications, obtained by the guys over on AnandTech from an unknown source, claim that the successor to Intel's X25-M 'Postville' solid-state devices will bring double the capacity and significantly improved longevity and performance.

The new drives, which will launch under the traditional X25-M name but are known internally under the project name 'Postville Refresh,' are slated to use IMFT MLC flash built on a 25nm process, which should mean a doubling of capacities without too much of an increase in price.

The third-generation drives will be available in 80GB, 160GB, 300GB, and 600GB sizes, along with 1.8in and 2.5in form-factors. Interestingly, the specifications claim that Intel will be adding AES-128 encryption support to certain models in the range.

Performance has been tweaked, with the 25nm models equalling their predecessors' 250MB/s sequential read but blasting past the 100MB/s sequential write performance to hit an impressive 170MB/s. Random IOPS has also been boosted, with the new drives able to hit 50,000 4KB random reads and 40,000 4K random writes compared to the older models' 35,000 reads and 8,600 writes.

Better yet, the drives lifespan has been significantly boosted: Intel rated the second-generation X25 drives to between 7.5TB to 15TB before the NAND flash expired, but the third-generation models manage 30TB to 60TB, and come with a power-safe write cache to help prevent data loss.

Sadly, there's a trade-off for all this increased capacity and performance: power. Despite a drop in process size from 34nm to 25nm, the new drives will draw more power than their predecessors: the maximum power consumption goes from 3W to 6W, while the idle power consumption rises from 0.06W to 0.075W.

The consumer-grade X25-M models will also be joined by new X25-E enterprise-grade drives, codenamed Lyndonville. Again based around a 25nm process, the new drives boost performance to 250MB/s read and 200MB/s write, while improving longevity to somewhere in the region of 1PB to 2PB. Yes, that's between one and two petabytes of data before the drives fall over.

Both models are expected to launch with SATA 3.0Gb/s interfaces at first, although it's not yet known whether they will be followed by a SATA 6.0Gb/s version in the future. Likewise, precise launch dates and pricing information is not yet available.

Do you think that Intel's new drives look like what you always hoped SSDs would be, or does Intel need to reveal pricing before you start getting excited? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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