|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Review: Intel SSD 310 Series 80Gb|
|Posted by Winston|
|Monday, 31 January 2011 22:23|
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Intel is no beginner when is comes to SSDs (solid state drives). When they released their X25-M SSD last year, it was quite a product and received numerous awards from hardware websites. So for this year, what has Intel got in store for us? Well, as we all know tablets and slates are going to big this year, so it's only natural for Intel to introduce their innovative products for this market. Say hello to their 310 series SSD ... the world's smallest SSD on the market, measuring only (50.80 mm x 29.85 mm) 1/8th the size of an ordinary 2.5" SSD.
What's interesting about Intel's 310 series SSD, is that it uses their "home-grown" 34nm NAND flash memory technology (MLC), and comes with a mico PCIe interface. It's primarily designed for the mobile market, which includes notebooks, tablets and slates. It's no ordinary SSD and you can't really use it for your desktop without a special add-on. To use the 310 series SSD on your desktop PC, you'll need their Interposer card, which converts the little unit into a 2.5" size SSD with a SATA interface.
According to some reports, these 310 series SSD will be installed in the new Lenovo Thinkpads, as well as some tablets and slates. There's also a rumor that they simply plug and play into an available mPCIe slots found on the Dell M4500, M6400 and M6500 series.
Over the coming months, I predict that these mPCIe SSD modules will become very popular and widely available. This is especially so, when the imminent market for tablets and slates is set to explode in 2011. I won't be surprised to see manufacturers like Adata, Crucial, Patriot and others, start producing these mPCIe SSD modules.
In thie review, we'll be taking a look at the Intel 310 series SSD (80Gb). It uses a 34nm based NAND flash memory technology (MLC), and offers a sequential read speed of upto 200Mb/sec and a write speed of 80Mb/sec. IOPS performance is pretty good at 35,000 IOPS for the 80Gb version. The SSD module itself comes with a micro PCIe interface, which can be plugged directly into most mPCIe slot found on some notebooks (you'll need to check first). But interestingly, it's also compatible with both SATA2 and SATA3 interfaces using the Interposer card, which is ideal for desktop users.
Looking at the specifications, the Intel 310 series SSD does look pretty good. However, although the read speed maybe very good, the write speed is something of a concern. Now I know it's not meant to be a desktop SSD, still it's something a lot of readers will be looking at. One thing which is still a shock to me ... is the size of this little SSd module. It's just crazy how small it is!
One thing I'm really concerned about is the total capacity of the unit itself. According to Intel, you have a choice of 40Gb or 80Gb capacities, which I think is a little limiting ... especially after you've installed your OS and other applications.
We'll be testing the Intel 310 Series SSD (80Gb) on our test rig which consist of an Intel Core i5 - 650 @ 3.2Ghz cooled by a Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler, a Gigabyte P55 USB3 motherboard, a Geforce GTX 460 OC, 4Gb Crucial Ballistix DDR3-2133 and a Thermaltake ToughPower XT 875W PSU. It's the same test rig we've been using to test all our other SSDs.
OK, now let's take a closer look at the specifications of the Intel 310 Series SSD (80Gb) on our next page ...