Intel releases a much smaller SSD

In another announcement that foreshadows the impending doom of the Hard Drive, Intel has created an SSD in a smaller form factor than any previously released model. The product, Intel’s Solid State Drive 310 Series, offers similar performance to current drives but at 1/8th of the size (51mm x 30mm x 5mm). At the consumer level, this means manufacturers can more easily integrate dual-drive systems into their PCs. A dual-drive setup typically has system and application files on a small SSD and the bulk of your data (like pictures, movies, and music) on a slower and cheaper HDD. This gives a lot of the performance gains of a full SSD setup at a fraction of the price. The smaller form factor of the 310 Series will allow engineers to fit these setups into laptops at a lower overall cost. Intel also wants to use the smaller form factor to push SSD technology into the small embedded systems market, with numerous potential applications in military, industrial, and government sectors.

While it has taken longer than some analysts predicted, the SSD continues to make its push to uproot the HDD from the storage medium throne. Cost has been the biggest factor, but offsetting some of that cost with a much smaller form factor will undoubtedly be a step in the right direction. If you’re a manufacturer, you can pick up (at a minimum order of 1000 units) a 40GB drive for $99 and an 80GB drive for $179. The full press release is below.

Ultra-Small Intel SSD 310 Enables Dual-Drive Notebooks, Innovative Tablets or Rugged Embedded Applications

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

  • New Intel SSD 310 Series delivers Intel X25-class performance, but in 1/8th the size.
  • Ultra-compact SSD enables the accelerated performance of an SSD with higher-capacity HDDs for dual-drive notebooks.
  • Intel SSD 310 is ideal for tablets, rugged, low-power military or industrial embedded apps, and was selected by DRS Technologies for its upcoming ARMOR™ tablet PC.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 29, 2010 – Intel Corporation announced today the Intel® Solid-State Drive (Intel® SSD) 310 Series, an ultra-small solid-state drive (SSD) that delivers Intel® X25-class award-winning SSD performance, but in one-eighth the size. Measuring 51mm-by-30mm and only 5mm thick, the Intel SSD 310 is a fast, ultra-compact SSD that brings flexibility, ruggedness and scalability to innovative form factors and devices. It can enable highly responsive dual-drive notebooks, innovative single-drive tablets and low-power, rugged embedded industrial or military applications. When paired with a high-capacity hard disk drive (HDD) in a dual-drive system, the Intel SSD 310 can improve overall PC system performance by up to 60 percent.1

A solid-state drive uses no moving parts, and thus is more durable and reliable than a mechanical HDD, while using less power and providing better system responsiveness. The Intel SSD 310 Series contains 34 nanometer (nm) Intel NAND flash memory and is available in an  m-SATA form factor in 40 gigabyte (GB) and 80GB capacities.

The Intel SSD 310 supports SATA signals over a PCI Express (PCIe) mini-connector for on-board, compact storage in single-drive netbooks, tablets or handheld devices. Weighing just 10 grams, the compact size also enables dual drive all-in-ones, notebooks or small-form-factor (SFF) desktops to help accelerate boot time and access to frequently used applications or files.

“The Intel SSD 310 series will allow us to provide the advantages of a full-performance Intel SSD paired with the storage of a hard disk drive in a small, dual-drive system,” said Tom Butler, director of ThinkPad product marketing, Lenovo. “We’ve offered Intel SSD solutions for our highly innovative Lenovo ThinkPad laptops for some time, and now we’re looking forward to incorporating this new solution across our ThinkPad line.”

With its rugged design, the Intel SSD 310 Series has been chosen by DRS Technologies for a new ARMOR communications tablet PC to be unveiled at Storage Visions in Las Vegas. The ARMOR mobile and field unit tablet PC is certified by DRS to work in extreme temperatures and hold up to shock, vibration and drops, delivering up to nine hours of operating time.

“In order to meet the rigorous demands of our mobile users, we design for mission-critical tasks that require connectivity and handheld mobility in all-weather operations,” said Mike Sarrica, vice president and general manager for DRS Tactical Systems Inc. “The Intel SSD 310 Series fits the bill by offering a reliable and high performing memory solution.”

“The Intel SSD 310 Series is the first in a wave of SSD products we will introduce throughout the next year,” said Tom Rampone, Intel vice president and general manager of Intel’s NAND Solutions Group. “With this introduction, Intel is offering full SSD performance in a compact, ultra-small form factor.”

Already shipping to customers, the Intel SSD 310 is priced at $99 for the 40GB capacity and $179 for the 80GB version, both in 1,000-unit quantities. More information on Intel SSDs can be found at www.intel.com/go/ssd or by accessing the multimedia press kit at www.intel.com/pressroom/kits/ssd. Follow Intel SSDs on Twitter: @intelssd, Facebook: Intel Solid State Drive (Official) or communities.intel.com.

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Miuku said,
Yeah sure, 40GB and 80GB blow my mind and will surely doom the entire mechanical harddrive.

Call me when they're 400 and 800GB models at reasonable prices.

+1. How is it such a radical upgrade if 90% of my data will be accessed from an HDD anyway? I don't care if the OS boots 10 seconds faster, that's just once per day. The day I can store most of my data and programs on SSD, at a reasonable price, then yeah the revolution will have happened.

Miuku said,

Not really - they intend them to be "OS drives", well my OS with applications currently consumes more than their largest drive, making these devices completely worthless with their claims of "amazing performance".

You obviously have no clue what people mean with "OS drive" if yours uses more than 80GB....sigh

tanjiajun_34 said,
"New Intel SSD 310 Series delivers Intel X25-class performance, but in 1/8th the size."
WTF?!

It's smaller but performs the same. What part is confusing?

TRC said,

It's smaller but performs the same. What part is confusing?

I don't think they were confused, just shocked.

sask said,
I don't think they were confused, just shocked.

Why would he be shocked? If he knew anything about chip design, he would have known that a size reduction leads to a performance boost in most cases, because of the smaller distances that the electrons have to travel.

Digitalx said,
unfortunately from what i've seen this uses up the mini pci-e slot doesn't it ?
Yea which is why I'm confused. I've been aware of pci-e SSD cards for a long time. I never got one because I didnt' see the point of replacing the wireless card for a SSD (except in one notebook)

cybertimber2008 said,
Yea which is why I'm confused. I've been aware of pci-e SSD cards for a long time. I never got one because I didnt' see the point of replacing the wireless card for a SSD (except in one notebook)

because before this one, the mini pci-e ssd drives were rather slow.

SSD for a OS drive helps a good deal IMO, I notice the difference between my desktop and my netbook when it comes to things like hibernate etc.

Neato! I'll wait for capacities to increase and prices to decrease. It's nice to see progress in this area. Thanks for the article.

51mm x 30mm x 5mm, so 5.1cmx3cm and 0.5 cm thick, thats some dense data! most USB sticks are about that size!

80gb in that, and a normal desktop drive is 5 times thicker (so thats 80GBx5=400GB) and 14.5cm long (3 times longer x 400gb = ~1.2TB) and then they are 10cm wide. these are 3cm so 3 more (~3.6TB)

SO in theory, based on a their density and current size of mechancial drives - we could fit 45 drives in here at 80GB a piece for a total of 3600GB of space, at SSD speeds. This would currently cost $180USx45 = $8100

I wonder how hot these lil babies get?

Ruciz said,
51mm x 30mm x 5mm, so 5.1cmx3cm and 0.5 cm thick, thats some dense data! most USB sticks are about that size!

80gb in that, and a normal desktop drive is 5 times thicker (so thats 80GBx5=400GB) and 14.5cm long (3 times longer x 400gb = ~1.2TB) and then they are 10cm wide. these are 3cm so 3 more (~3.6TB)

SO in theory, based on a their density and current size of mechancial drives - we could fit 45 drives in here at 80GB a piece for a total of 3600GB of space, at SSD speeds. This would currently cost $180USx45 = $8100

I wonder how hot these lil babies get?

Surely you don't mean temperature wise? No moving parts means that users don't need to worry about them getting too hot, unless perhaps you drop one in furnace.

Altho you have hit the nail on the head, as to why this smaller form factor is useful, just have to wait for capacities to go up and for prices to fall.

Say I have this hooked up to my desktop. With a decent motherboard.
What kind of 'performance increases' will I notice if I just have my OS installed on it? (if any at all)

este said,
Say I have this hooked up to my desktop. With a decent motherboard.
What kind of 'performance increases' will I notice if I just have my OS installed on it? (if any at all)

Depends on what you're upgrading from...any HDD to SSD is going to be noticeable.

Could they eventually get them small enough for phones ? That would boost eg game loading times and data transfers for sure.

Gaffney said,
Could they eventually get them small enough for phones ? That would boost eg game loading times and data transfers for sure.

what do you think flash memory is?

That's what I do with my EEE PC 4G.
It's loaded with a 4Gb SSD, with Windows 7 Ultimate (YEAH! IT FITS) and the other drive, an SD card with 4GB, with all the apps, drivers and files.
Works wonderfully.

Ruixituh said,
That's what I do with my EEE PC 4G.
It's loaded with a 4Gb SSD, with Windows 7 Ultimate (YEAH! IT FITS) and the other drive, an SD card with 4GB, with all the apps, drivers and files.
Works wonderfully.

More details, finding it hard to imagine trimming win7 down to <4GB.

A 120 might work nicely for me, but convincing the parents would be tough. But then again, the speeds would be ridiculous vs a 5400RPM drive.

Its write speed is make smile, its a shame for an SSD. In my opinion as long as the manufacturers floating the prices that ovewrly high, it wont be spreaded widely.
Around 200-400 GB for 100-150$ would be the level where I can thinking about buzing one. Its a good thing to contain a huge OS in it (like win7 full of needless things), but people want to use it for speed up their applications, which cant fit in 40GB...

I just looked at the pricing for this model, its ridiculous. And it has a terrible write speed compared to others. Ill be skipping this brand, much cheaper and better ones out there.

I don't need a "Name Brand Intel" SSD, especially for the price and small size that it offers.

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