It's been a busy spring for Intel. The Intel SSD 520 series was released in February, and a month later, Sandy Bridge EP was released. Only another month or so after that and the Intel SSD 313 Series was released. The upcoming weeks look at least as busy because Intel is preparing Ivy Bridge and 7-series chipsets, but at the same time Intel has been preparing something else in the SSD front: the Intel SSD 330 Series. It will be the successor of 320 Series, Intel's current mainstream SSD offering, and we have some preliminary specs that we would like to share:

Note: These specifications are not official and have not been confirmed by Intel. These have been taken from resellers' websites and may contain inaccurate information.

Intel SSD 330 Series Specifications
Capacity 60GB 120GB 180GB
NAND Intel 25nm MLC
Interface SATA 6Gb/s
Form Factor 2.5"
Read Speed 500MB/s 500MB/s 500MB/s
Write Speed 400MB/s 450MB/s 450MB/s
4K Random Read 12K IOPS 22.5K IOPS 42K IOPS
4K Random Write 20.5K IOPS 33K IOPS 52K IOPS
Street Price $89 $149 $234

If the specifications are correct, the 330 Series will finally bring SATA 6Gb/s support for Intel's mainstream SSDs. This is a very welcome feature because while the 320 Series isn't slow, it's still somewhat expensive when compared with the performance it provides. Other manufacturers' SATA 6Gb/s SSDs can look a lot more appealing as they are often 10% (or more) cheaper and the advertised speeds are over twice as fast.

The actual controller is unknown but the capacities hint towards SandForce. That would make sense because Intel has spent a lot time and money on their SandForce driven 520 Series. The only part of the equation that doesn't make sense is the performance. We are used to seeing 550MB/s read and 500MB/s write on SandForce SSDs but the specifications we have seen so far show something else. The interesting part here is whether this is hardware or firmware related. We will have to wait and see.

As for the pricing, the 330 Series appears to be very competitive. Right now you can get the 80GB Intel 320 Series for $135, which is only $15 cheaper than the 120GB 330 Series. Once again, I would like to emphasize that these are by no means official prices and may change when retailers get some actual stock. Official availability is unknown but Amazon.co.uk is listing April 13 as the release date, which is ten days away. I also emailed the reseller we got the specifications from and will update this article once I receive a reply.

Sources: Jimms.fi, (1) (2)

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  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    I haven't heard anything about Intel getting out of the SSD business. However, it seems that they are no longer interested in making their own controllers and rely on third parties instead. Reply
  • akbo - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    If only that were the case. Intel could come up with 22nm tri-gate controllers that would kill the competition :D Reply
  • iwod - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    The 60GB is competitively priced. Added with Intel Firmware and reputation this seems to be the SSD everyone can afford and should get. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    I've got an like my 320 and my G2 (?). I like the non-buggyness of Intel's controllers. I like the 320's built in hardware encryption.

    If this 330 doesn't also have hardware encryption, I'm not interested-I'd much sooner go for another 320.
    Reply
  • Coup27 - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    So what is this? A 520 with async NAND? A castrated 520 with fever populated channels? Both of those with capped firmware? The 320 has never been cheap, but it was bought because it built on the X25-M so it was a solid 3Gbps performer. With Crucial and Samsung offering solid 6Gbps performers for less, I don't believe the market which existed for Intel in that regard will still exist.

    On a entirely different point, I am not sure why Intel hasn't received more bad publicity for not including 4 smaller screws with their drives. If you remove the screws from any Intel drive (minus 510) to turn it into 7mm, the whole thing falls apart as its held together with the same screws which go through the spacer. You of course can't re-use those screws because then they poke out the top and dont clamp anything.

    Samsung have the correct approach by making a 7mm chassis without screws and PROVIDING a 2.5mm plastic spacer with adhesive back.
    Reply

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