Details leak out on Intel 700-series SSDs


— 6:00 AM on June 16, 2011

Intel has already released new 510 and 320 Series solid-state drives, but it's not finished yet. German site ComputerBase has the goods on the upcoming 710 and 720 Series SSDs. The 710 Series is the more traditional of the two, with a 2.5" form factor, 3Gbps SATA interface, and 25-nm MLC NAND. Those flash chips are high-endurance models that promise to withstand more write/erase cycles than standard MLC memory. The 710 Series will reportedly be capable of writing 500TB over its lifetime to a 100GB drive that uses 20% overprovisioning. By contrast, the 320 Series 120GB, which has the same amount of flash but a lower overprovisioning percentage, is only good for 15TB of writes over its life.

If the published specifications are accurate, the 710 Series looks like a drive designed more for endurance than performance. It's rated for 270MB/s sustained read speeds and 210MB/s writes, with 36,000 IOps in 4KB random reads and and just 2,400 IOps with writes—figures that closely match the specifications of Intel's old X25-E SSD.

The 720 Series is an entirely different beast, and not just because it has a PCI Express interface. With 512MB of onboard DRAM, the 720 has eight times the cache capacity of the 710 Series. It also has 34-nm SLC flash memory that promises phenomenal longevity. A 200GB 720 Series is said to be capable of withstanding up to 18 petabytes worth of writes over its lifespan.

Ironman-like endurance isn't the only feather in the 720 Series' cap. According to the published spec sheet, the drive will hit sustained read and write rates of 2,200 and 1,800MB/s, respectively. Random 4KB reads top out at 180,000 IOps, while random writes are pegged at 56,000 IOps. The 720 Series also offers 256-bit AES encryption, which is a healthy upgrade over the 128-bit encryption present in the 710 Series.

   
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