updated 01:00 pm EST, Mon February 6, 2012
Intel SSD 520 carries 25nm speed and SandForce
Intel picked Monday to bring out its fastest solid-state drive so far. The SSD 520 mixes denser 25-nanometer memory with a specially created SandForce memory controller to get high-end speed. It can peak at 550MB per second for reads and 520MB per second for writes, while mustering as much as 80,000 I/O operations per second at peak and 50,000 in normal use.
The drive is pitched as being ideal both for gamers and for pros, either of which can see storage as one of the largest bottlenecks in a computer. Intel estimates between 78 to 88 percent better performance, although a stronger testimonial may have come from id Software's Quake co-creator John Carmack. The SSDs have provided an "order of magnitude" faster performance for areas where the company has had to map dozens of gigabytes of images, he said.
The 2.5-inch drive needs SATA3 to reach full speed and supports 256-bit AES encryption for those who need to lock it down.
Bulk prices start off at $149 for a 60GB version and include capacities of 120GB ($229), 180GB ($369), 240GB ($509) and 480GB ($999). Intel hasn't said if the drives are immediately shipping, but hinted that they should be ready now.