Intel just announced its latest SSD: the enterprise focused Intel SSD 710 series. The specs don't deviate very far from what we published a couple of months ago. The 710 uses Intel's own 3Gbps controller (same as the SSD 320) and firmware stack (newer than the SSD 320), but unlike the SSD 320 it uses a special version of Intel's 25nm MLC NAND. Intel calls it High Endurance Technology (HET) but in practice it's just MLC that sacrifices long term data retention for write cycles. 
Standard MLC can retain your data for 12 months after you wear out the NAND, while HET MLC is specced to retain your data for only 3 months. In exchange you get 30x the number of write cycles as standard MLC. For enterprise workloads this tradeoff works quite well. 
The SSD 710 will officially replace the X25-E, delivering nearly the same endurance with comparable performance, higher capacities and 40 - 50% cost savings. The 710 will be available in 100GB, 200GB and 300GB capacities.
Just like the SSD 320, the 710 employs a power safe write-cache, redundant NAND arrays to protect against NAND failures and AES-128 encryption. 
A number of Intel's MLC SSDs have already been deployed in servers, the SSD 710 simply addresses some weaknesses with those drives while updating and formalizing the offering. Intel is expecting the lowest failure rate out of all of its SSDs with the 710.
Enterprise SSD Comparison
  Intel SSD 710 Intel X25-E Intel SSD 320
Capacities 100 / 200 / 300GB 32 / 64GB 80 / 120 / 160 / 300 / 600GB
NAND 25nm HET MLC 50nm SLC 25nm MLC
Max Sequential Performance (Reads/Writes) 270 / 210 MBps 250 / 170 MBps 270 / 220 MBps
Max Random Performance (Reads/Writes) 38.5K / 2.7K IOPS 35K / 3.3K IOPS 39.5K / 600 IOPS
Endurance (Max Data Written) 500TB - 1.5PB 1 - 2PB 5 - 60TB
Encryption AES-128 - AES-128
Power Safe Write Cache Y N Y
Temp Sensor Y N N

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  • alpha754293 - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    That sucks!
  • havoti97 - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    "Specced"? How about "specified"?
  • MarkLuvsCS - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    That chart seems to be seriously conservative for the amount of writes the drives can take.

    40gb intel 320 ~ 370 TB still chugging but its wearout indicator has bottomed out at 1. It hit 1 around 190 TB.

    There was someone with an 32gb Intel x25-E sitting at 90% for wear with 580 TB written.

    Not to mention an increase in size should scale linearly with total writes possible. These people have been hammering writes to their SSDs for what amounts to months of time. Will be cool to see when the newest drives die write wise! maybe 1.5 PB with 25nm MLC.
  • NandFlashGuy - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    Hi Mark,

    The chart isn't conservative -- it is based on an enterprise workload where the write amplification can be pretty nasty.

    You quoted sources doing a purely sequential workload where the write amplification is approximately 1.

    You can imagine how long it will take to kill one of these 710 Series SSDs with sequential writes.
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    After they were last refreshed? Is that what it's saying? Does the drive somehow (until it's worn out) refresh every location in the flash to keep the data there stored?

    And what does this mean for the Vita that's supposedly storing games on flash instead of ROMs?

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