Intel announces Solid-State Drive (SSD) 330 series

Intel Corporation announced today the Intel Solid-State Drive 330 Series (Intel SSD 330 Series), a SATA 6 gigabit-per-second (Gb/s) solid-state drive (SSD) that gives consumers a more affordable entry into the accelerated storage performance of SSDs.

Ideal for upgrading desktop or , the Intel SSD 330 Series offers the price-conscious PC enthusiast a brand-name SSD that blends performance, Intel quality and value. Offered in the most popular capacity points, 60 gigabytes (GB), 120GB and 180GB, the Intel SSD 330 Series boosts overall system performance and responsiveness for a broad range of applications.

"An SSD is still the single best upgrade you can make to your existing PC, and the Intel SSD 330 Series gives users the latest Intel SSD technology at a price to meet their budget," said James Slattery, product line manager for client SSDs, Intel Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group. "Backed by Intel's rigorous testing process, the Intel SSD 330 Series offers our users the speed they need at a great price, backed by world-class manufacturing, reliability and tech support."

Unlike a traditional (HDD) with spinning disks and moveable parts, SSDs offer a more rugged, low-power storage solution that dramatically improves system performance to keep up with today's I/O-intensive applications. The Intel SSD 330 Series contains Intel 25-nanometer (nm) multi-level cell (MLC) NAND memory. Its SATA 6Gb/s interface doubles the bandwidth of its current SATA 3Gb/s Intel SSD 320 Series, providing up to 500 megabytes-per-second (MB/s) sequential read speeds and up to 450MB/s sequential write speeds for faster data transfers. Random read performance can go up to 22,500 Input-Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) and 33,000 write IOPS to boost overall application and system responsiveness, significantly outperforming a typical consumer hard disk drive.

Intel offers a broad range of SSD choices within four product families. The Intel SSD 300 Family is aimed at entry-level, mainstream client users. The Intel SSD 500 Family offers more fully featured, higher-performing client SSDs for computer and gaming enthusiasts. The Intel SSD 700 and Intel SSD 900 Families are targeted for data center applications.

The Intel SSD 330 Series comes in a standard 2.5-inch/9.5mm form factor as a replacement to a slower-performing HDD. It can be used in a dual-drive desktop PC configuration to speed up boot times and applications speeds, or as a single-drive notebook upgrade.

Available beginning today at worldwide retailers and online e-tailers, the Intel 330 Series is offered at the suggested channel price of $89 for a 60GB drive, $149 for a 120GB drive and $234 for a 180GB drive. It is also backed by a 3-year limited warranty.

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Apr 19, 2012
Eh, prices are still a bit high compared to performance gains, for mainstream users. However, for enthusiasts and professionals a SSD makes sense as an additional drive. My gaming rig has a standard HDD for bulk storage like my MP3 collection, where access time is not critical. I also have a 128 gig SSD for windows 7 boot drive and games I play a lot. I don't see a big gain in every aspect of gameplay, but certain things do happen faster, like games with long load times. It's nice to be able to go from Windows desktop, to power down, and back up in well under a minute though.

I predict SSD's will go mainstream when you can get 256 gig for under $100. You'll still want a terabyte HDD for bulk data though.

Of course, most people only need one big HDD on their home network, so you could just have internal SSD's on each machine and then use one external shared drive on the router between all your machines. My older machines still have HDD's but moving forward I probably won't bother.

Apr 22, 2012
The prices are actually pretty good - about a 20% drop from the 500 series, not that much more than a regular notebook drive if you get the small one, which is big enough unless you want to store many movies. At 20GB writes per day - much more than most people will use - it is supposed to last for 3 years (=warranty length). The data should still be readable even once the write life limit is reached. It should have a low failure rate, if Intel's statistical 1.2 M hour MTBF is to be believed. (i.e. 1 failure per 100 drives over 12000 hours = 16.5months.)

The performance is vastly better than a hard disk, and the HDD is the bottleneck in booting and in starting programs. Upgrading to an SSD is by far the best price/performance upgrade one can make. Also they are light (less than 80 grams / 3oz), do not fail due to vibration or typical dropping, they are noiseless, and use less power - 0.85W active, 0.65W standby. Paired with a big HDD, one gets most of the speed of SSD space of HDD.

Apr 22, 2012
Clarification: extrapolating from the 40GB 320 series tests using the same 25nm process, the media wear-out indicator (MWI) on the 60GB 330 drive will probably go on at about 285TB of writes (570TB for the 120GB drive, 855TB for the 180GB drive). Actual testing shows the 40GB 320 series can last for 2x-3x the write volume before failure. Failed drives likely will not be readable, so get a new one as soon as the MWI goes on.

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