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Intel announces 20nm 335-series SSDs, 50% lower power usage

Posted at 30 October 2012 17:40 CET by Jan Willem Aldershoff

Intel has expanded its range of Solid State Disk drives with the 335 series. The drives are a modern version of the 330-series and use the same controller. However, the NAND flash memory used is smaller and more power efficient. The 335-series is currently made up by a single drive with a capacity of 240 GB, sold at about $184. It’s expected that more capacities will become available over time. Like the 330 series this drive uses the SF2281 controller from SandForce and it connects to the computer using a SATA-3 interface.

The performance of the drive is pretty similar to the 330 series, sequential read speeds are listed at 500 MB/s and sequential write speeds at 450 MB/s. Random read and writes are specified at 42,000 IOPS for reading and 52.000 IOPS for writing data. According to the first reviews the drive is only a bit faster than the 330 series and due to the old controller can’t really compete with faster SSD drives from other brands.

The real difference between the 330 and 335 drives is the used memory. The 330 series has chips manufactured using the 25nm process while the 335 series drive uses memory manufactured using a 20nm process. Besides making it smaller this also makes the drive more power efficient. During normal usage the drive uses 350 mW and idle is uses 275 mW. That’s almost half of that the 330 series drives use.

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There are 4 comments

New Member
Posted on: 01 Nov 12 18:38
    Does anybody know what effect the 20nm process has on drive write endurance? I seem to recall that the move to 2xnm was criticized for dropping it to no more than 3k p/e cycles, but reviewers seem to have been especially hesitant to address the topic since then...
    MyCE Die Hard
    Posted on: 02 Nov 12 13:39
      I don't know that I'd give high credence to any 'study' being delivered on the topic at this time, since these would be funded by Intel or by their contractors or other lackeys. But "let others have the bleeding edge of technology" isn't a bad option. Intel spent two years pumping up RAMBUS memory, after all. Kajillions were spent on that boondoggle, and then the DotCom Crash had to occur when all those venture capitalists discovered Intel's "research" wasn't so great and all those kajillions were wasted.
      Senior Administrator and Reviewer
      Posted on: 02 Nov 12 18:36
        There isn't really any studies going on as far as know for endurance among reviewers.
        The reason is quite simple. Write endurance is a moving goalpost from user to user, and it's governed by the following factors.

        The NAND rated write cycles (PE/C).
        The capacity of the SSD.
        The write amplification of the controller.
        The amount of data on the drive, or to be more accurate. The amount of free space on the SSD.

        The most important factor is the amount of free space, as the wear levelling algorithms will move around the data to make sure all NAND is worn evenly. The less free space there is on the SSD, then the faster the write cycles are used.

        Since all users will have different amounts of free space, you can appreciate how difficult it is to try and test for endurance.

        The only thing I would say is. If you have around 20% free space, then you should expect to get at least 15 years of use out of the SSD. By which time it will long past its sell by date.
        MyCE Resident
        Posted on: 04 Nov 12 10:16
          Originally Posted by dakotabob
          Does anybody know what effect the 20nm process has on drive write endurance? I seem to recall that the move to 2xnm was criticized for dropping it to no more than 3k p/e cycles, but reviewers seem to have been especially hesitant to address the topic since then...
          Who was the one that criticized the move to 2x nm process? Those that make such decisions are usually top CEO's and largest shareholders of Intel, Samsung, SK-Hynix, Micron, Toshiba... It's they that lose most either by switching to newer processes and another plant and the amount of investment tends to scale to billions of dollars.

          2x nm has been tried and improved upon for years. Recall all the posts criticizing the move from HDD to NAND. There were hundreds on this forum alone and the web was full of them posted by so-called experts and power users. Most of the posters clearly had no knowledge and no wisdom to predict on anything other than that based on their own prejudices.

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