Intel's 335 Series is pretty sweet. The SandForce-powered solid-state drive uses the latest 20-nm NAND and is only a step behind the very fastest consumer-grade SSDs, yet it costs just $175 for 240GB. The only thing missing is a five-year warranty, a perk Intel reserves for its pricier 520 Series models. Those drives currently pair the same controller with 25-nm NAND, but it looks like they're set to recieve a 20-nm refresh.
VR-Zone's Chinese site has published a purported Intel roadmap that shows a new 530 Series SSD scheduled for the first quarter of this year. The drive will supposedly appear first in a new, ultrabook-friendly NGFF form factor that's smaller than existing mSATA cards. The roadmap mentions 80GB and 180GB models and indicates that mSATA and 2.5" variants are due in the second quarter.
The 2.5" version would presumably offer a wider range of capacities, and it looks like a replacement for the nearly year-old 520 Series. There's no mention of a change in controller technology, though. If the 530 Series uses the same SandForce SF-2281 chip as the existing model, it probably won't challenge for the overall performance crown. That said, the lower prices enabled by 20-nm NAND could make the 530 Series an appealing proposition. We've reached the point where even mid-range SSDs are fast enough for most enthusiasts, making affordability a more important factor than ever before.
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