Feeds

Intel aims flash at tablets, netbooks

Shrunken X25-V gets m-SATA treatment

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Comment Intel has implemented its X18-M and X25-V flash products in a tablet and netbook form factor with the m-SATA SSD 310 line.

The 40GB 310 has exactly the same I/O performance as Intel's 40GB X25-V with 25,000 random read IOPS, 2,500 random-write IOPS, and 170MB/s sequential-read and 35MB/s sequential-write speeds.

Its 80GB brother has almost exactly the same I/O profile as the 80GB X18-M and X25-M with 35,000 random-read IOPS, 6,600 random-write IOPS, 70MB/s sequential-write bandwidth but 200MB/s sequential-read compared to the X18-M and X25-M's 250MB/s. That's the only difference: 50MB/s lower sequential-read bandwidth. The 310 uses the same 10-channel controller architecture as do the X18 and X25, so Intel must have left something out of the 80GB 310 compared to the 80GB X18-M and X25-M to account for the missing 50GB/s read bandwidth.

As with the X18 and X25, Intel provides a mean time before failure (MTBF) number; 1.2 million hours in the case of the 310 and equivalent-capacity X18-M and X25-V. It does not disclose the number of bits in the multi-level cell technology used in the 310 line, but we guess it's 2-bit, as the capacity levels are modest at 40GB and 80GB.

What about endurance? The 310's technical documentation states: "The Intel SSD 310 will have a minimum of five years of useful life under typical client workloads with up to 20 GB of host writes per day." It will also support 50,000 power on/off cycles.

A scan of the technical documentation shows no TRIM support.

Intel is saying that the 310 is useful as an accelerated I/O device alongside ordinary hard disk drives for tablets and netbooks, but we can't see that happening in tablets.

If a tablet manufacturer shoved a single-platter Hitachi GST ZK500 or Seagate Momentus Thin in a tablet to get 250GB of bulk capacity, and had a 40GB or 80GB 310 as well for faster I/O, then that would increase the cost of goods and complicate the operating system I/O. You would think it would be simpler for tablet manufacturers if Seagate came up with a hybrid Momentus Thin – a single-platter version of its XT, the disk drive with a small NAND cache. The drive manages what data to put in the NAND cache, not the tablet OS.

There is more space in netbooks, but there again we would think the increased cost-of-goods would argue against including a hard drive and a 310. Were Intel to produce a 160GB version of the 310, the need for a bulky hard drive alongside this natty little solid state drive (SSD) would go away for most netback applications. As tablets are thought to be even more read-intensive than netbooks, their need for high-capacity storage is less, anyway.

A combined SSD and HDD design is possibly useful for high-end thin notebooks where cost is less of a consideration.

Intel says that there will be more flash announcements following the 310. One we might look forward to would be a refresh of the X25-E single level cell (SLC) line. It could do with a speed boost and a leap to the 6Gbit/s SATA interface. Intel fab partner Micron's RealSSD P300 shows what can be done. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?