updated 11:40 am EST, Mon February 28, 2011
Intel SSD 510 promises ultra-fast drive on cheap
After brief teases last Thursday, Intel on Monday confirmed the SSD 510. The flash drive series is now billed as the fastest mainstream SSD on the market and can peak at 500MB sequential read speeds, twice as fast as earlier most drives. Sequential writes are even more improved and, at 315MB per second, are the fastest overall and about three times better than Intel's past drives.
The practical performance is fast enough that it not only outperforms a 10,000RPM hard drive but can outrun two of them in a RAID stripe. All of them are fast enough that a 6Gbps SATA III connection is actually necessary to reach the maximum speeds. A 250GB flagship can reach the maximum performance, but a 120GB drive is still fast at 400MB per second reading and 265MB per second when writing.
SSD 510 models are shipping today in a 2.5-inch size suitable to notebooks but with an adapter for desktops. Intel is so far listing only bulk prices and expects the 120GB drive to cost $284 in batches of 1,000 and the 250GB drive to cost $584. Either should be available in retail and should carry a higher price.
LaCie is one of the earliest adopters and is making a Thunderbolt-equipped external drive that puts the drives together in a RAID stripe for the MacBook Pro and future computers.