New Intel 520 Series Ready for Q4 Launch
Intel stayed with 34nm NAND in the 510 series SSDs, which made the drives slightly more expensive than the competition but retained the durability of the “old” production process. In spite of the rather hefty price tag, the 510 drives have been relatively well received by consumers. Now the sequel is in the pipeline, appropriately named the 520 series (codenamed Cherryville). These SSDs will make the move to 25nm NAND and get a decent performance boost.
Today, Intel’s 510 series–the company’s high-end SSDs for the consumer market–comes only in the sizes 120 GB and 250GB, which is also something that is about to change for the 520 series. The new capacities will range from 60GB to 480GB, something that will presumably attract a wider range of consumers. Considering the move to 25nm, the prices should also be shifted downward.
Otherwise, Intel’s 520 SSD lineup looks like a minor update from the previous 510 series, at least if you just look at the sequential read/write speeds. While the 250GB version of the 510 offers reads of up to 500MB/s and writes 315MB/s (SATA III 6Gbps), the 520 series takes those numbers to 530MB/s and 490MB/s. However, there’s also the matter of IOPS throughput, which will double from 20,000 IOPS to 40,000 IOPS.
The new SSDs will be launched sometime in the fourth quarter this year. At about the same time, Intel also launches a follow-up for the current Larson Creek drives, codenamed Hawley Creek,that fully embraces the mSATA standard that is intended for use as a motherboard cache in combination with a regular hard drive. It is also likely to be implemented in laptops based on Intel’s new “Ultrabook” concept. With prices going down on the 520 series and the mSATA-based Hawley Creek drives acting as a complement, it is not entirely impossible that the 320 series might be phased out instead of replaced by a “330” series.