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Data Storage Intel Hardware

Intel 310 Series Mini SSDs Now Shipping, Benchmark 121

MojoKid writes "Intel's new 310 Series SSDs utilize the same 34nm NAND flash memory technology and controller found on the chip maker's 2.5-inch SSDs, but in a form factor just 1/8th the size; a scant 2 inches (51mm) long by 1.18 inches (30mm) wide and flatter than a pancake. The new tiny Intel SSDs are now shipping and despite their diminutive stature, performance is actually pretty similar to that of the company's popular X25-M 34nm SSD. Intel says the 310 Series is shipping to customers for $179 in 1,000-unit quantities for the 80GB version of the drive."
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Intel 310 Series Mini SSDs Now Shipping, Benchmark

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  • Units? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NBolander ( 1833804 ) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @10:03AM (#35208856)
    As a European reader, I haven't really gotten my head around those imperial units yet. How many mm would this pancake measurement of yours represent?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Adustust ( 1650351 ) *
      Ideal American pancake flatness should be around 8 to 10mm in thickenss. A 30mm pancake would be a custard pie.
      • Ahaha! That was just awesome.
      • by Zoxed ( 676559 )

        Maybe it is some strange (!!) American usage of English, but to me "flatter than a pancake" is a measure of undulations (i.e. a lack of), for example in the landscape. It is not a measure of thickness. E.g. the ice on the lake could be 1m thick, but is usually flat as a pancake !

        • I'm American. You're not wrong. Flatter than a pancake is used to describe 12 year old girls and Howie Long's Hair. The phrase should have been "thinner than a pancake". But that is vague. I would have said, as thin as a crepe but that is probably not accurate either.

          Now, when are we going to get SSD in the TB range?

          • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

            Why would you need a SSD in the Taco Bell range? What does that even mean?

          • You can get it now [] if you're willing to shell out 5 grand.
          • by falzer ( 224563 )

            See Texas Memory Systems for multi-terabyte solutions. Unless you were actually looking for standard form factors.

            From their FAQ:
            Q: I really want to make my home computer faster, can you help?
            A: Have you considered a home equity line of credit?

        • Which is quite funny, because I'd be moderately disappointed if my SSD had as many dips in it as the average pancake - far less flat than the average crepe, which is also less flat than an SSD really should be.

        • My mom used to make really thick pancakes and put chocolate chips in them. They were pretty bumpy and thick
        • Translation note: Pancake in American is Scotch pancake or drop scone in English. Pancake in English is flapjack in American. I've no idea what flapjack in English is in American, probably oat cookie or similar. American pancakes are several times thicker than English pancakes.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're assuming it isn't a metric pancake there.

    • As a European reader, I haven't really gotten my head around those imperial units yet. How many mm would this pancake measurement of yours represent?

      Dude, how could you not know this? Are you saying that the International House of Pancakes is a sham? All this time I thought there was this benevolent international organization spreading yummy treats, slightly sticky hands, and a general knowledge of comparative thicknesses throughout the earth... Turns out they only serve selected areas of North America.

      I have been crushed... perhaps my spirits would be lifted by a trip to the Waffle House.

      • Are you saying that the International House of Pancakes is a sham?

          Of course not! It's clearly international, says so right in the name. Just like the World Series!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The icon is an old 9-track tape... on a story about tiny tiny new Solid State storage.
    there's irony or something like that in the air.

  • by da3dAlus ( 20553 ) <dustin.grau@gmail.WELTYcom minus author> on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @10:05AM (#35208878) Homepage Journal
    I'm curious as to the continued widespread use of "flatter than a pancake" as a technical unit of measure, considering that a specific mm width and length were just previously mentioned. Not to be a nitpicker, I just prefer my pancakes to be somewhat light and fluffy, and therefore not flat. Perhaps "flatter than a tortilla" would be more apt? Though if we're going this route, I continue to back the opinion that "shitload" be considered a unit of measure ;)
    • I suppose it matters which type of pancake we're referring to. Are we going with literal translation of "pancake", or should we move deeper and include crepes? As for your "shitload" unit of measurement, I agree. A crepe would be a shitload flatter than a pancake.
    • But tortilla [] aren't actually that flat.

      As for this wonderful new device, wow 80GB. No matter how fast it is, it isn't big enough. Considering my non-media (i.e. not moving pictures, still pictures and music) totals over 20 GB on it's own (with my photos (not porn thank you very much, that's in another folder) taking up at least another 20 GB minimum, and my moving pictures (films, TV shows) is nearly 100GB on it's own, and my music is over 50GB) and the fact that I only have a laptop (and travel a lot)...

      • The way i see it is that SSDs are useful if performance is your top priority. For a server, the capacity of the device may not matter if the device is too slow. That's why 15kRPM hard drives exist. They are smaller and more expensive, but are useful as system drives. I keep my other stuff on 7.2kRPM drives because they are cheaper and have higher capacity and I do not really care about the speed for those files. I also archive rarely used files to tape, even though it has much slower random access than hard

      • RTFA. Did you miss the part where Intel said these are primarily intended for dual drive devices with both this SSD and a HD? The SSD for OS/Apps/VM and the HD for mass storage.
      • Aside from the "Yup, SSDs still smaller than platter drives, news at 11." answer, I think that there are really two points to be made:

        Since this sucker is the same size as a miniPCIe card, rather than a 1.8 or a 2.5inch HDD, it gives the laptop OEMs two options:

        Option 1: Ultralight, ultramobile: For a modest premium, you can now build a laptop that simply doesn't have a 2.5 or even 1.8 inch drive bay, just a miniPCIe-sized slot. This will make it thinner and/or lighter than was previously possible, wh
    • >> Though if we're going this route, I continue to back the opinion that "shitload" be considered a unit of measure

      Technically, a shitload = e / pi Libraries of Congress.

    • by pz ( 113803 )

      Though if we're going this route, I continue to back the opinion that "shitload" be considered a unit of measure ;)

      My preferred unit in that scale is the metric butt-load, similar in spirit to the long ton which is the forcing of an imperial unit into a metric approximation by adding an additional layer of arbitrary scaling but still not quite getting it right.

    • Metric shitload, or English?

    • []

      Wolfram Alpha can't even do that. But the thickness is 9.5mm for those wondering how much "flatter than a pancake" is.
    • shitload is a measurment of volume... shit-ton is a measurment of weight and... for size, its various turds of different species.. I beleive this drive is about the size of a stepped on raccoon turd.
  • $200 for 80gb?

    you can get 2 TB HDD for that price or 146 GB 15K HDDs as well.

    Western Digital VelociRaptor WDBACN3000ENC-NRSN 300GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive is about $200 as well.

    • by tomkost ( 944194 )
      you are comparing apples and oranges. That 3.5" drives are the size of an old cassette player. these SSD are almost credit card sized (a bit thicker, maybe 4 credit cards stacked on top of one another). 80Gb is enough for business users. U can carry your music and other media on your iPhone... So if you like a small, easy to carry laptop, it should be designed for these SSD only, and no HDD. Then you can still have the bigger cheaper laptops with 2.5" HDD for cost or max storage capability.
    • Yes but none of those things are about the size of a 50 cent piece. This is.
    • by alen ( 225700 )

      don't kill the SSD hype. it's so cooler having Windows boot up 10 seconds faster and so much worth the ridiculous prices per GB these things go for. not even the power savings make up for the cost

      • Re:$200 for 80gb? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dc29A ( 636871 ) * on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @11:02AM (#35209508)

        Spoken like someone who never used one SSD. I was exactly like you, dismissing SSDs as hype. Until I got an OCZ Vertex 2 60GB for less than 100$. My opinion has shifted dramatically, yes windows boots up fast, but it's not just that. Every program installed on SSD boots fast, the system is much snappier, it almost feels like it was an iPad, wake up from sleep takes less than a second. As for price / GB, yes it's steep, but if you keep only applications and OS on the SSD, the price is well worth it.

        • The same can be said for Linux on an SSD. I have the same 60GB Vertex2 in two boxes here, and it takes roughly 4 seconds from the moment GRUB loads to the moment I see the XFCE desktop, plus perhaps 5 seconds to re-load my session. Counting the POST screen, I'd give it a grand total of 15 seconds from power-on to ready and idle.

          Everything moves faster - I don't find myself waiting anymore. Except for Firefox, programs load from a cold start almost instantly. Since the CPU is more than capable of floodi

        • by Thing 1 ( 178996 )
          Highly agree. It was difficult to convince the "IT Manager" that these "expensive toys" were worth it but evidence is compelling.
      • At my workplace, we replaced most of the devs' spinny disks with SSDs. SVN checkouts went down from about 5 minutes to around 30 seconds, with most of that being due to the SVN server not having an SSD. Other tasks across thousands of files have reduced by heaps as well. On average, easily an hour or two can be saved per developer per week, which pays for itself within a month. Developers don't need more than that kind of size, typically, and large files, like database backups can be kept on the old HDD if
    • by Anonymous Coward

      And if your workload consists primarily of random reads you get:
      SSD: 187 random reads / second / dollar
      HDD: 1.4 random reads / second / dollar

      SSD looks like a much better value to me.

    • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

      1) Almost any of the SSDs currently on the market will smoke any of the above drives performance-wise, even the 10k RPM ones
      2) This particular SSD is a fraction of the size of those drives. You just listed a whole bunch of 3.5" drives, these are significantly smaller than even 2.5" notebook drives.

    • that's all wasted space and power drain for half of laptop users. many of us don't store multimedia crap on our laptop. We just want OS and apps and a few gig for data. I'm glad the price is finally getting within reach

    • and why is the 80gb faster than the 40gb version of the otherwise identical product? []

      • Re:$200 for 80gb? (Score:5, Informative)

        by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @11:16AM (#35209708)

        and why is the 80gb faster than the 40gb version of the otherwise identical product?

        The way they double the capacity is by using twice as many of the same chips. Since it writes to all chips in parallel, twice as many chips means it can read/write twice as much data in the same time period. You see that in the fact that the write performance spec is exactly double. The reason the read performance isn't double is because it has been known for a while that Intel puts a performance cap on the non-enterprise versions of their SSDs

    • by dc29A ( 636871 ) *

      $200 for 80gb?

      you can get 2 TB HDD for that price or 146 GB 15K HDDs as well.

      Western Digital VelociRaptor WDBACN3000ENC-NRSN 300GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive is about $200 as well.

      I know, eh! I decided to put a 3.5 inch high performance desktop drive into my laptop.

      First problem: Hard drive didn't fit.
      Solution: Duct tape it to the laptop, wire SATA cables. Option two would have been cramming it into the chassis somehow.

      Second problem: Voltage. Vast majority of laptops don't have 12 Volt SATA lines.
      Solution: Wire some more cables from an adapter of some sort!

      Third problem: Laptop now looks really funky with the duct taped hard drive. Oh and is much heavier!
      Solution: Don't know, any su

      • Third problem: Laptop now looks really funky with the duct taped hard drive. Oh and is much heavier!
        Solution: Don't know, any suggestions?

        Duct tape some helium balloons to it, which will also help to insulate the heat of the drives from your lap.

    • by snsh ( 968808 )
      Or pay an extra $100 for another 16GB in your iPhone 4.
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Whats that? you paid 20 million for a fighter jet? I can get a flight across the country foe 1000 bucks!

      Maybe the are for different purposes?

    • Those old VelociRaptors arent even competitive with a modern 2TB 7,200K RPM consumer drive like the Caviar Black in performance (which is less than $200)

      Even ignoring SSD's, that class of 10000 RPM drive has been eliminated from the performance market by the higher capacity 7200 RPM drives. The main issue is that while 10K RPM still gives better seek times, that same RPM also keeps them from using the highest drive densities. 7200 RPM at a higher density beats 10000 RPM at a lower density on raw throughpu
      • A few years ago now, I predicted 3-5 years for SSDs to start killing the server market - starting with the 10k RPM drives used for high random outs.

        I'm not sure if I can call it a failure or not - I also predicted 3-5 before 'major penetration' of SSDs into laptops happened. While most laptops are still using 2.5 inch drives, iPod is pretty much the driver for the smaller drives(1.8") right now. The iPad is run by flash though. Even 'netbooks' mostly have HD's in them.

        Maybe this will finally kill the HD

        • Flash hasn't killed magnetic media in servers for the same reason that SRAM hasn't replaced DRAM: most workloads have a working set that is much smaller than the total data set. If your 10TB servers's working set is 100GB, then with something like ZFS's L2ARC, 100GB of flash and 10TB of spinning disks gives similar performance to 10TB of flash, but costs significantly less. Oracle is taking this even further and using tapes for the permanent storage, with disks as L3 cache, flash as L2 cache, RAM as L1 ca
    • In 1985 a 10 meg harddrive for the commodore 64 cost $600.... 60 dollars a meg!! You could buy 1600+ floppies for that.. and use both sides of them... No wonder harddrives never caught on..
      • Around 1993, I paid £30 for a 128KB SSD. It was a single cell, so you needed to periodically reformat (erase) it to reclaim space (each time you saved a file, you wrote a new copy, you didn't overwrite the old one). That was £240/MB. The price has halved roughly every 9 months since then, on average.
    • I wonder what SSD has done to sales of "high-performance" disk drives like VelociRaptors? Who would pay a premium for a faster version of a technology that is inherently slow?
      • The market for consumer 10000 RPM drives is almost completely eradicated. They are down to about $0.50/GB now at best, but thats also the awkward capacities like 600GB.

        That capacity is awkward because if you are throwing $300 at performance storage from the consumer space, then you are a fool to choose any single platter vs a 160GB SSD like the OCZ Vertex 2 (over 2 times as much bandwidth and 180 times as many IOPS vs any 10000 RPM drive.)

        Combine this with the pressure from the 2 TB 7200 RPM platters wh
    • by adisakp ( 705706 )

      $200 for 80gb?

      you can get 2 TB HDD for that price or 146 GB 15K HDDs as well.

      Ummm... yeah, try putting a 3.5" drive in a mini-notebook. What this $200 gets us is PC's notebooks that will be able to compete with MacBook Airs or Notebooks that can have both an SSD (for fast / instant boot capability and longer battery life) and a HD (for user storage) without being any larger. Making a notebook smaller, faster and have longer battery life is something A LOT of people will pay a mere $200 for.

  • What I find hilarious is that the mSATA is physically identical to a PCIe card edge, but is not electrically identical.

    I wonder how many returns they are going to get on these.

  • What I want is a combination of a large-capacity spinning drive and an SSD in a single housing that's no larger than current 2,5" drives. The SSD should be large enough for the OS + frequently-used apps and data.

    The Seagate Momentus XT sort of offers this, but it uses its SSD as a disk cache, so there's no way to influence what gets put on the SSD. And 4 GB is too small: my Hibernation file alone is 4 GB. Also, it has some weird auto-sleep features that make life difficult when you put it in a Mac.

    What I wa

    • So you want two physical drives exposed over a single SATA link? Is that even possible? Seems like SATA was specifically designed to do 1-to-1 links. I suppose what you could do is drive both disks over the same controller and expose a single faux-physical disk of combined size to the mainboard/OS; you'd need to partition it along physical drive boundaries, then. Messy.

      I'd rather just connect two drives where possible -- ie. desktops, upcoming laptops with dual SATA or PCIe+mSATA slots and just use a single

      • They make SATA port multipliers already, that allow you to turn one SATA connector into more than one (I've seen up to five). I presume this is also how the external eSATA enclosures that hold more than one disk also work. You could implement that into the combo drive too, though I've always suspected that the SATA port multipliers are kind of a hack.

    • No thanks, I'd like to be able to upgrade each individually, or buy a SSD from one manufacturer and the HDD from a different one.

      • Sure, if you have room for it that's the way to go. But there's a huge number of laptops out there that only have room for one drive.

    • 4GB is far more than you realize for this purpose. The primary advantage of an SSD is the low latency access, the high transfer rates is a secondary factor for most applications. If the drive firmware can reliably determine which blocks are most commonly accessed in short, random patterns and puts those in the Flash, it will produce a significant performance increase. For instance, presume that the volume allocation tables, directories, and commonly accessed small files end up on the Flash, that will produc

  • Is this still limited to usage in netbooks and laptops? What type of dimensions are in an Ipad or the new ASUS eee Slate? I would love to be able to upgrade the drives in those, it's almost the only thing holding the asus windows slate back.
  • Assuming I have a free PCIe slot on my laptop, can I assume that everything will work or do I need some specific feature on the laptop for it to work?

  • I suppose to do it properly, moving parts are required for fucking.

    Bit of a Freud slip there, Taco?
  • Only if Intel had said "thinner than a pancake" about the SSD, I could have sued them after making a petite pancake definitely thinner than that SSD.
  • The company I work for is occassionally bleeding edge. They purchased quite a number of earlier 160GB Intel 2.5 inch units, and every single one has failed within 18 months. In a first or second gen product, especially bleeding edge arena, we cut people some slack. But Intel have not been good _at_all in terms of warranty, and the base fact is I don't think we have any interest in ever dealing with Intel again in the SSD area. We can tolerate the breakage, its part of being leading edge, but the failure to

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      so you want to be bleeding edge, but not take any of the risk from being bleeding edge? For units that are 18 months old?

      Good luck.

    • What sort of failure?

      If its not simply using up the write limits (which requires extreme usage), then it sounds like something else is amiss.
    • If 100% failure rate were common, I'm pretty sure they would have long ago stopped selling SSDs. Maybe you're doing it wrong?

    • by afidel ( 530433 )
      Was this for workstation or server use? If server and you were actually putting a decent workload on it then you should have bought the x25e instead of the x25m, mlc flash such for high write workloads, especially random writes.
    • What kind of failures? I have a first generation Intel SSD that eventually developed horrible stuttering problems. It actually took me a while to figure out it was the SSD as it otherwise worked fine (no data loss or lost capacity or anything, so I initially suspected other sources). Supposedly you can restore performance by backing up the drive, running an Intel utility to wipe the drive, then restore the backup and it will be good again for a while. Well I did that, except I restored the backup onto a

    • by Thing 1 ( 178996 )
      I had an 80 GB Intel SSD X25-M fail after almost exactly 12 months. (Warranty is 3 years, so no problem, other than the restore.)
  • flatter then a Crepe.

    My pancakes are fluffy and think.

  • Would this new SSD be small enough to be combined with a 1.8" HDD into the size of a 2.5" HDD?

    • I'm really surprised "hybrid" drives which automatically cache the small or frequently-accessed files on an SSD portion, and stick the big stuff on a mechanical disk, are not already all over the market. Those who know already use both SSDs and mechanical disks in their systems... why can't Samsung or Maxtor or whoever give us that in a single package?

      • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

        Using the SSD as a cache to the mechanical drive is exactly what I don't want.

        I'd love to upgrade to a SSD but still have enough room for big media files. But most current laptops only have room for a single 2.5" drive. I want two drives in one 2.5" package, which show up as two separate drives to the computer so that we can put OS and applications on the SSD and media/work files on the mechanical drive.

        • A good cache management controller would put OS and applications on the SSD and media/work files on the mech portion. Automatically.

          • Bullshit.

            Most of the OS files are read-once/write-never (if what gets loaded gets written, its to the swap file), so is simply not a candidate for any worthwhile caching algorithm.

            The problem is that there is no "the operator is waiting" signal that the drive will ever get. Computers do plenty of disk I/O while we are not waiting and there is just no way for that to be measured in drive firmware.

            The best the drive could do is reduce the time the computer itself waits.. but that is not representative o
  • All pancakes aside, I'm surprised it took them this long. Everyone had to have assumed SD card sized drives were on the way when SSDs were introduced.
  • OK great, you made them smaller Intel that's just peachy. Now they can be used in other types of applications such as phones and other devices...

    HOWEVER, the big problem with SSD is 1) PRICE and 2) CAPACITY...

    Soooo what you did here, was make a smaller, slower, MORE expensive and LESS capacity SSD? Bravo.

    How about you get working on making a standard 2.5" 300GB SSD not cost about the same as your first born's eternal soul.

    k thx bye.

  • 50 points for the first person to build a micro linux box that caches access to a spindle disk with this SSD, having the micro linux box exposed via sata to a host.

  • ... a free sample of K-Y Jelly.

    Well, I'm off to the airport.

  • Are there any PATA adapter cards? It would extend the life of PATA-based notebooks even though the throughput would be limited.

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