Intel unveils SSD 525 Series mSATA drives

January 29, 2013 | 11:14

Tags: #intel-ssd #mlc #msata #multi-level-cell #nand-flash #sandforce-sf-2281 #sata-30 #sata-6gbs #solid-state #ultrabook

Companies: #intel #lsi #sandforce

Intel has announced its latest solid-state storage devices (SSD,) the high-performance Intel SSD 525 Series - the company's first mSATA device to offer a full SATA 6GB/s connection.

While not Intel's first foray into the world of mSATA devices - the company previously launched the Intel SSD 310 Series mSATA in 2011, it's a clear indication of how seriously the company takes its 'Ultrabook' slim and light laptop project: based on 25nm multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash and taking up just one-eighth the footprint of a traditional 2.5in SATA SSD - its official measurements are given as 3.7mm x 50.8mm x 29.85mm with weight of 10g on the button - the device nevertheless offers some pretty impressive peak performance figures.

According to Intel's internal testing - which uses the Iometer software set to a queue depth of 32 on an 8GB logical block address (LBA) range - the Intel SSD 525 Series can hit up to 550MB/s sequential read and 520MB/s sequential write, with random read performance rated at 50,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS) and random write at 80,000 IOPS. Those are pretty impressive figures, and ones not usually seen in the mSATA market where price and size are typically the deciding factors.

'The Intel SSD 525 Series is Intel's latest 6Gb/s mSATA product, which brings high performance to an ultra-portable form factor targeted for Ultrabooks and a myriad of embedded solutions,' claimed James Slattery, product line manager for Intel Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, Client SSDs - which is quite possibly the longest division name at Intel. 'Intel SSDs reduce the risk of data loss due to shock, vibration or jarring. With these new performance thresholds available in a small form factor package, and backed by Intel quality and reliability, the Intel SSD 525 opens the door to an unlimited number of creative embedded solutions such as in-flight entertainment, mobile workstations, microservers and IP phone storage.'

All models in the SSD 525 Series feature 128-bit AES encryption in hardware - giving the device's controller away as a LSI SandForce SF-2281, one of LSI's 'whoops' piles which fail to implement AES-256 correctly - along with Intel's usual five-year warranty package. Capacities available at launch comprise 30GB, 60GB, 90GB, 120GB, 180GB and 240GB models, with Intel confirming volume shipment of the 120GB and 180GB models immediately and the rest to follow later this financial quarter.

What Intel has not yet revealed is whether the SSD 525 Series will be getting a retail release: thus far, the company's focus has been on selling the device to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to include in their products. With an increasing number of motherboards including an mSATA port, for connecting a small but speedy SSD on which to install the operating system or use as file cache space, Intel could be missing a trick if it doesn't bring the drives to shop shelves in a pretty box.

Thus far, Intel has not provided pricing for the parts.
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