Intel’s new Ivy Bridge processors are only a few months away and it appears that they may have some company when they launch with Intels anticipated release of the 313 series SLC caching SSDs.
The 313 series will be available in 20GB and a 24GB capacities and, although the reasoning behind the 24GB capacity seems a bit unclear, they were available for pre-order from a few establishments this morning. Pricing for the 24GB model should be around the current 311 model, with the 20GB 313 slightly cheaper.
The 311 and future 313 series are optimized for use in a caching scenario, where cache data is constantly being read and written to the drive. SLC has much lower write latency than MLC, and should be able to handle around 20x the program/erase cycles.
The 313 should be available with the 2mm spacer, for a 7mm z-height. In addition, it should also utilize Intel’s 25nm SLC, whereas the the 311 was built with 34nm. SLC is traditionally moved to newer processes later than MLC, once yields have improved on the new process. The 311 also shipped in an mSATA format which would lead to the logical assumption that we may see the same from the 313.
The initial launch of the 1155 motherboards was met with mixed feeling by enthusiasts. The H67 provided enhanced media encoding and integrated video while the P67 allowed overclocking at the expense of these H67 features.
The Z68 rectified this by combing H67 and P67 into a full-featured chipset. There was a bit of an unexpected bonus, by way of the the Z68 SSD caching scheme, where by a HDD could be accelerated by a SSD. To commemorate the occasion, Intel released a 20GB SLC SSD, the 311 “Larsen Creek”, which was built on Intel’s venerable 10 channel controller and mixed 34nm SLC with TRIM in the hopes of bringing SSD caching to the masses.
While Z68 Smart Response Technology caching could be used on any SSD, Intel felt that a 20GB SLC drive would better handle the constant strain. No one knows how many Z68 users decided to use Intel’s solution, but in practice, 20GB is probably not quite enough to keep useful cache data from being evicted as new data was added.