Intel is expanding its lineup of SSDs with its 3D NAND chips with more affordable consumer and enterprise drives.
The 3D NAND chips have a structure that makes SSDs durable and fast but was only available in a handful of drives. The new SSDs support the NVMe protocol, which offers faster throughput than the SATA controller originally designed for hard drives.
The new SSDs include entry-level consumer drives starting under US$100. Gamers may want to wait, however, until Intel releases its crazy-fast Optane SSDs, which the chip maker claims will be up to 10 times faster than regular SSDs.
The consumer SSD 600p series for PCs starts at $69 for a 128GB drive and ranges to $359 for a 1TB drive.
The SSD Pro 6000p for business laptops is slightly more expensive at $79 for a 128GB drive and up to $364 for the 1TB drive.
The PC SSDs plug into m.2 slots and have similar speeds but differ on features. The SSD Pro 6000p has enterprise features like remote erase, where the disk can be wiped remotely. It also has fine-grained power management features not available with the 600p. Those features work with Intel's Core vPro processors, allowing system administrators to take control of remote PCs.
The drives have sequential read speeds of 1,800 megabytes (MBps) per second and write speeds of 560MBps. They have random read speeds of 155,000 IOPS (input-output per second) and write speeds of 128,000 IOPS. On all counts, the 600p series is significantly faster than Intel's SSD 540s, which came out earlier this year.
Intel's new drives also include the enterprise SSD DC P3520 series, which has storage capacities from 450GB ($294) to 2TB ($984). The SSDs plug into 2.5-inch and standard PCI-Express 3.0 slots.
The 2TB drive is the fastest in the series, with random sequential read speeds of 1,700MBps and write speeds of 1,350MBps. The random read speeds are 375,000 IOPs and write speeds are 26,000 IOPS.
Those speeds beat Samsung's 1.92TB PM953 enterprise SSD based on NVMe, which has a sequential read speed of 1,000MBps, write speed of 870MBps, and a random read speed of 240,000 IOPS and write speed of 19,000 IOPS.
Another Intel SSD for data centers called the SSD DC S3520 Series "is ideal for those making the initial transition to SATA SSDs from hard drives," an Intel spokesperson said in an email. They come in capacities from 150GB ($89) to 1.6TB ($739). The drive comes in m.2 and 2.5-inch slot formats.
The SSD DC S3520 is a kind of cache where data is stored temporarily while being processed by computers. It is used to boot systems, serve up commonly used applications or data over the internet, or to store database or analytics data being processed. It's not meant for long-term storage, and has low power-consumption and read and write speeds, making it more appropriate for storage arrays.