Intel expands DC S3500 SSD family with monster 2.5'' units, mini M.2 models

Intel has been making server SSDs since the X25-E debuted six years ago. Those drives have apparently grown quite popular, too, because the company claims it's been the number-one provider of SATA SSDs to datacenters for the past three years. In a bid to keep that streak going, Intel is introducing much larger—and much smaller—entries in the DC S3500 Series that arrived last year.

Arguably the biggest news is the addition of 1.2TB and 1.6TB capacities to the 2.5" lineup. That family previously topped out at 800GB, but a new spin of the proprietery Intel controller allows the S3500 to address twice as much flash. The controller tweaks are limited to supporting more NAND; Intel says the updated chip has the same eight-channel architecture and SATA 6Gbps interface as its forebear.

Here's how the new 2.5-inchers stack up against the existing members of the family:

Capacity Max sequential (MB/s) 4KB random (IOps) Endurance Price
Read Write Read Write
1.6TB 500 460 65,500 18,500 880TB $1444
1.2TB 500 460 65,000 14,600 660TB $1099
800GB 500 450 75,000 11,500 450TB $740
600GB 500 410 75,000 11,000 330TB $450
480GB 500 410 75,000 11,000 275TB $400
300GB 500 315 75,000 9,000 170TB $230
240GB 500 260 75,000 7,500 140TB $210
160GB 500 175 75,000 7,500 100TB $160
120GB 475 135 75,000 4,600 70TB $110
80GB 445 100 70,000 7,000 45TB $100

According to the official specs, the larger S3500s are slightly slower than their siblings with random reads but faster with random writes. They have higher endurance ratings, too, though only in terms of total bytes written. All the members of the DC S3500 Series are rated for 0.3 full drives writes per day for the length of their five-year warranty.

Source: Intel

The smaller additions to the S3500 family comprise M.2 models with 80GB, 120GB, and 340GB capacities. These mini SSDs have the same controller and SATA interface as the 2.5-inchers, but they come on a much smaller M.2 2280 "gumstick" form factor. They're meant to be used as boot drives and in embedded systems, microservers, and digital signage.

Cue specs:

Capacity Max sequential (MB/s) 4KB random (IOps) Endurance Price
Read Write Read Write
340GB 480 355 67,000 14,500 180TB $314
120GB 440 160 67,000 12,000 70TB $124
80GB 340 110 67,000 8,300 45TB $99

The M.2 units have lower random read rates but higher random write speeds than their 2.5" counterparts. Sound familiar? There are also some differences in sequential performance, all in favor of the mini drives.

Like the rest of the DC S3500 Series, the M.2 variants are built with Intel's own 20-nm MLC NAND. Other common features include 256-bit AES encryption hardware, end-to-end data protection, and capacitor-based power-loss protection. Server-grade validation testing? Check.

Given their enterprise credentials, the new DC S3500 SSDs aren't too expensive. Just about all of 'em ring in at under $1/GB, which probably means someone needs a phone call. The drives are due to be available in the distribution channel, so expect to see them popping up at places like Newegg before long.

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