In the third quarter of this year Intel is expected to refresh its enterprise solid state drive portfolio with two new 700-series solutions that will provide users with faster performance as well as with improved reliability, and the specifications of these drives have been recently leaked online.The first of the two SSD models to come to market takes off from where the X25-E drives left off and will be available in the 2.5-inch form factor.
At first, Intel will introduce only two 710-series drives, a 100GB and a 200GB model, both using a SATA 3Gbps controller paired together with 64MB of DRAM cache.
The drives will be able to achieve sequential read/write speeds of 270MB/s and 210MB/s respectively, while Intel rates their 4K random read/write performance at 36K/2.4K IOPS (input/output operations per second).
While these speeds aren't a huge improvement over those achieved by the X25-E (the X25-E actually beats the upcoming drives when it comes down to 4K random writes), 710-series SSDs use MLC NAND Flash, which should make them significantly less expensive than their predecessors and also boast hardware AES 128-bit encryption.
Users who want more speed will be able to opt for the 720-series Ramsdale SSD, which is Intel's first such drive to use the PCI Express interface.
This will be available in a 200GB and a 400GB version, is built using 34nm SLC NAND Flash, includes 512MB of DRAM cache and also sports AES-256bit encryption.
Sequential read/write performance is rated at 200MB/s and 1800MB/s respectively, while Intel estimates that the SSDs will also be able to deliver 180K/56K random 4K read/write IOPS.
Ramsdale drives also received an impressive bust in endurance and Intel states that these units should be good for up to 36PB of 8K random writes, depending on the model chosen.
Both the 710 and the 720-series SSDs include Intel's Power Safe Write Cache technology, which protects the drives against power outages.
According to ComputerBase, the 710-series SSDs will start sampling this June, with mass production expected in July. The release date of the Ramsdale SSDs is not yet known, but these should also arrive in Q4 2011, if everything goes as planned.