Intel launches 710 SSDs, hints at 510 successor

Intel has officially launched its enterprise-grade SSD offering, the 710 Series, and announced a few details for the successor to the consumer-grade 510 Series: Cherryville.

During the Intel Developer Conference this week, Intel formally announced its long-awaited enterprise-grade 710 Series solid-state storage devices. Designed for those who require more reliability than the consumer-level 510 Series can offer, and built to take over from the X-25E range, the 710 Series ranges in capacity from 100GB to 300GB.

New technologies built into the drive - including High Endurance Technology, a combination of tweaked algorithms and new management features designed to reduce data errors - mean that, despite its use of cheap Multi-Level Cell flash memory, the drive performs at a similar level to an expensive Single-Level Cell unit. In terms of reliability, the company claims, they offer around 30 times the endurance of the X-25E series.

That equates to an overall write endurance of around 1.1 petabytes, along with write performance of 2,700 IOPS and read performance of around 38,600 IOPS - both figures which will have those running disk-intensive applications looking closely at their budgets.

Sadly, as you might expect from an enterprise-level product, the new drives aren't cheap: wholesale pricing in units of 1,000 has been set at $649 for the 100GB and rises rapidly to an eye-watering $1,929 for the 300GB model. This hasn't stopped Intel's various OEM partners adding support for the drives, however, with Cisco coming forward to state that it will be including the SSDs as an option in its UCS B230 M2 twin-socket server later this month.

While that's great news for the enterprise market, consumers needn't feel left out: Intel has also released a few details regarding the successor to the 510 Series SSDs. The new product range, codenamed Cherryville, swaps the 34nm flash chips for 25nm models - as used in the 320 Series - along with an improved 6GB/s SATA controller which should boost performance. Pricing and availability - beyond a vague commitment to 'Fall 2011' - were not included in Intel's presentation.

Cherryville is to be joined by Hawley Creek, Intel's successor to Larson Creek and designed as a compact SSD for use with the RST caching technology included with the Z68 chipset. As with Cherryville, pricing and availability were not confirmed - although a move to 25nm flash was part of Intel's announcement.