Intel SSD 910 Series PCI-Express Launch Imminent
Intel is on the brink of launching its new line of enterprise PCI-Express SSDs, codenamed "Ramsdale", carrying the market name "SSD 910 Series". The new SSD 910 series is coming to existence leapfrogging SSD 710 series, which was also codenamed "Ramsdale", but never made it to the market. The original Ramsdale SSD 720 was meant to be primarily based on SLC NAND flash memory with the probability of an MLC variant, Intel decided against launching it, probably because it was hedging its bets on 25 nm HET-MLC NAND flash, which provides endurance levels closer to SLC, while offering the capacity-advantage of MLC. The SSD 910 implements this new NAND flash standard that attempts to offer the best of both SLC and MLC.
The new SSD 910 will be available in two capacity options: 400 GB and 800 GB. Built as a PCI-Express expansion card, the SSD 910 consists of three stacked PCBs that hold SSD subunits and HET-MLC NAND flash chips, lots of them. Each of these subunits interfaces with the core logic over SAS. The core logic connects to the host over PCI-Express 2.0 x8 bus interface. The 400 GB variant provides sequential read speeds up to 1 GB/s, and up to 750 MB/s writes. The 800 GB variant provides up to 2 GB/s reads, with up to 1 GB/s writes.
Sequential speeds aren't of a huge consequence in an enterprise environment, it's the random-access performance that counts. The 400 GB variant 90,000 IOPS reads, with 38,000 IOPS writes; while the 800 GB variant provides 180,000 IOPS reads, with 75,000 IOPS writes. The drives provide write endurance of 7 PB (400 GB model) and 14 PB (800 GB model), in comparison, the endurance of SSD 710 series, with overprovisioning, is 1.5 PB. It's likely that Intel Developer Forum (IDF) Beijing, kicked off today, will be used as a launch-pad for the SSD 910 series.