Although not quite the Intel SSD announcement we were expecting in Q4, today Intel unveiled its first mSATA SSD: the Intel SSD 310.

Based on the 34nm Intel X25-M G2 controller, the 310 will be available in both 40GB and 80GB capacities. The 80GB version should perform a bit slower than an 80GB X25-M G2 while the 40GB version will perform like a 40GB X25-V.  

Intel SSD 310 Comparison
  Intel SSD 310 Intel X25-M G2 (34nm) Intel X25-V (34nm)
Codename Soda Creek Postville Postville
Capacities 40/80GB 80/160GB 40GB
Sequential Performance Read/Write

Up to 200/70MB/s (80GB)

Up to 170/35MB/s (40GB)
Up to 250/100 MB/s Up to 170/35MB/s
Random 4KB Performance Read/Write

Up to 35K/6.6K IOPS (80GB)

Up to 25K/2.5K (40GB)

Up to 35K/8.6K IOPS Up to 25K/2.5K (40GB)
Typical Power Consumption Active/Idle 150mW/75mW 150mW/75mW 150mW/75mW
Size 50.8mm x 29.85 mm x 4.85 mm 100.5mm x 69.9 mm x 7mm or 9.5mm 100.5mm x 69.9 mm x 7mm or 9.5mm

The 310 isn’t about performance, rather form factor. The SSD in Apple’s new MacBook Air is just the beginning - OEMs are beginning to shed the limits of traditional hard drive form factors as SSDs don’t need to house a circular platter.

The mSATA interface is physically a mini PCIe connector (similar to what you’d see with a WiFi card in a notebook) but electrically SATA. The result is something very compact.

The full sized mSATA 310 measures 50.8mm x 29.85mm and is less than 4.85mm thick. Total weight? Less than 10 grams. 

The Intel SSD 310 is OEM only at this point. Lenovo has already announced it will offer the 310 in ThinkPads in the future, while DRS Technologies will show off a tablet PC next month with the 310 inside. The 40GB drive is priced at $99 while the 80GB version will run you $179 in 1000 unit quantities. 

As for the rest of Intel’s SSD updated lineup? While internal roadmaps showed a Q4 release for the 3rd generation X25-M based on 25nm NAND, that product is obviously delayed. We’re also hearing that new SandForce drives are still months away so those of you eagerly waiting for new drives at the high end will have to wait a bit longer.

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  • kkwst2 - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    Well, the "good high-res display" is what kills many options. My Thinkpad T410s with a SSD primary and 750 GB HDD in the ultrabay is close, but the display is decent res but mediocre in quality. It is fine for me because I don't do much graphics work on it. Only thing a bit annoying is the angle issue.

    And you have to swap out the HDD for the ultrabay battery to get the 5 hours of battery life, otherwise it is more like 2.5-3.

    I disable my touchpad as it simply gets in the way. Have been addicted to trackpoint (aka red nipple) for years. Even replaced my desktop keyboards with the space-saving server keyboards that have trackpoint.
  • ppokorny - Thursday, December 30, 2010 - link

    I have the same setup on my Thinkpad T500. I love it. 30GB SSD internal, 640GB drive in the ultra-bay. Graphics are techincally switchable between built-in and ATI, but I leave it on the Radeon because I'm running Linux.

    With the backlight turned down, I can about the same 3+ hours battery life when reading or doing e-mail on planes.

    And bluetooth tethering to my iPhone makes using the laptop on the go so nice...
  • ptuy - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Hey Dude..

    I also have an t500.. I would really like to hear more about your setup..

    Please reply at this topic soon, then I will reply with my email.
  • perpetualdark - Monday, January 3, 2011 - link

    See, I see it different.. The enthusiast market is not driving SSD development any more, the business market is. My gaming machine combined with the laptops and other PCs at home don't hold a candle to the dollars invested in my 100+ business machines. For business, not only is it unecessary for a large capacity mechanical drive but it can be detrimental. 80 gigs has been enough storage for a client PC for the last 5 years and I don't see it changing. As bloated as Microsofts software is, even a very large excel, word, or powerpoint file only takes a few megabytes at most. For those with larger file needs such as autocad designers, a NAS or SAN is a better answer than localized storage. For mobile users, I don't want them to think they can put hundreds of gigs of pirated music and movies on the laptop they carry, I just want it to be fast and efficient. The SSD is doing everything we need it to do in the business community, and without the need for large capacity storage. Furthermore, replacing a mechanical drive with an SSD in an older laptop gives it the performance boost to add a couple more years to its viability in the field, especially when you are talking about 3 or 4 year old Core 2 machines where the CPU is still fast enough to handle the current software.

    I agree that in an enthusiast environment where you need to store your 4 million songs and 400 movies, you need a high capacity drive, but even the most storage heavy games don't require more than 40 gigs of free space (I hear the latest version of WoW does, but who plays that anymore? lol) I recently replaced my velociraptor primary with larger storage drive on my gaming machine with an SSD for boot/games (80 gigs is plenty) and the old 300 gig velociraptor for storage, and it is more than I will ever need. On the other hand, I bought a dozen 80 and 128 gig SSDs for upgrading some laptops and even a couple workstations at the office.
  • vol7ron - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    Do you think they'll start using these in USB3 NAND sticks?

    So much waiting... I just want to build my new rig already. I was hoping it would be announced in 10Q4 so that when 11Q4 came around the prices would be delightful
  • dfield - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    Just buy it and add an ssd later....once sandy bridge comes out, there aren't going to be any big changes in the market until late 2011, except for in ssd's
  • Taft12 - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    Forgetting Bulldozer? This'll be an interesting year!
  • Kaboose - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    if this is only CPU then socket R ( aka socket 2011) is also coming out, not to mention 22nm GPU's if we are opening up the whole table of computer advancements
  • Nesters - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    28nm not 22nm. However, S2011 CPU's are indeed going to be 22nm.
  • Kaboose - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - link

    i always mix my GPU fabrication processes with my CPU fabrication processes thanks for the correction.

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