Intel has plans for the solid state drive (SSD) market that look deep into 2012. It is becoming increasingly clear that the company wants to give its SSD portfolio the breakneck product cycle its processor lineup enjoys, that of generation leaps every year or so. Looking into 2012, we see new models targeting pretty much every major market segment.
Intel has plans for the solid state drive (SSD) market that look deep into 2012. It is becoming increasingly clear that the company wants to give its SSD portfolio the breakneck product cycle its processor lineup enjoys, that of generation leaps every year or so. Looking into 2012, we see new models targeting pretty much every market segment.
To begin with, Intel will enter 2012 calendar year with many of the products it introduced very recently, some it hasn't even done yet. These include the SSD 520 "Cherryville", SSD 710 "Lyndonville", SSD 720 "Ramsdale", and "Hawley Creek" mSATA SSDs. Several of these will launch within the fourth quarter of 2011. Intel will then allow these products to lead the portfolio for the remainder of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012 (i.e. till the end of March 2012).
In the second quarter of 2012, Intel will launch "Ramsdale MLC". Simply put, this is a variant of "Ramsdale" Intel SSD 720 series PCI Express SSDs, which uses 25 nm MLC-HET NAND flash memory instead of SLC NAND flash found on the standard "Ramsdale". MLC-HET allows Intel to double capacities, while offering comparable endurance to SLC, and much higher price per gigabyte. It does, however, come at the cost of slightly lower throughput. Hence, Ramsdale MLC isn't really a replacement, but more of an expansion of the 700 Series PCI Express family.
Around the same time, Intel will launch "King Crest", a successor of SSD 520 "Cherryville" family. This is most definitely a successor, since it uses 25 nm MLC-HET NAND flash instead of regular 25 nm NAND flash found on SSD 520. We don't expect any leaps in terms of capacities, but endurance, sequential data-rates, and throughput can be expected to go up. Like the SSD 520, "King Crest" comes in the 2.5-inch form-factor with SATA 6 Gbps interface.
Some really big changes are reserved for the third quarter of 2012. Here, we find a new product taking shape, codenamed "Taylorsville". This one is slated to succeed SSD 710 "Lyndonville", with significant increases in capacities. "Taylorsville" will be available in capacities of 800 GB, 400 GB, and 200 GB. Like SSD 710, it will make use of MLC-HET NAND flash, the 2.5-inch form-factor, and SATA 6 Gbps interface.
Finally, there is "Lincoln Crest", a successor of SSD 320 series. These drives will mark the transition of Intel's mainstream-thru-value SSDs to the SATA 6 Gbps interface. It will make use of MLC-HET NAND flash, and hence will be a lot more durable, and speedy compared to SSD 320 series.