|Intel 311 Solid State Drive SSDSA2VP020G2E|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 11 May 2011|
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Intel SSD Larson Creek
It's important to note that the Intel 311 was not designed to be a stand-alone SSD, although it could certainly be used that way if the limited capacity was not an obstacle. The Intel 311 Series SSD is intended to be partnered with a high-capacity hard disk drive, using Intel Smart Response Technology with any Intel 6-Series chipset: Z68, HM67, QM67. This design promotes improved performance on computer systems for casual/mainstream users, and does so without the risk of losing data to an SSD failure (although hard drive failure should still be a concern).
Because it uses SLC NAND flash construction, the Intel 311 SSD could prove useful in capacity-sensitive personal computers and SOHO computer systems where Intel Smart Response Technology hardware is available. Alternatively, the Intel 311 Series solid state drive also functions as a low-capacity SSD capable of holding the Operating System and installed applications.
Once installed the SSD is usually hidden away from view, which explains why Intel has remained conservative towards the appearance of their solid state drive. Standard 2.5" drive bay mounting points are pre-drilled and threaded into the SSD chassis, and the black plastic spacer is attached to the top side of the SSD to enable the Intel 311 Series to fit into SATA notebook computers if desired. Both halves of the enclosure are made of steel, with a textured finish on the top panel and flat finish on the bottom.
Intel has used a common-part printed circuit board to construct their Larson Creek 311-series SSD. An Intel PC29AS21BA0 SATA 3Gb/s SSD controller powers this drive, identical to Intel X25-M G2 SSDs, which means it's designed to accept 34nm NAND flash preferably of SLC design. The DRAM buffer is Integrated Silicon Solution Inc (ISSI) part IS42S16160D-7TLI, which offers 32MB at 143 MHz.
The key ingredient in all Intel 311-series Larson Creek SSDs is the 32nm SLC NAND flash, which is also produced in-house by Intel. Each module is marked 29F32G08CAND2, which references their IC part number requiring 2.7-3.6V for normal operation. Intel specifies the Larson Creek SSD to produce sequential reads up to 200 MB/s, with 4 KB reads reaching 37,000 IOPS.
In the next few sections we'll test the Intel 311 Series SSD as a stand-alone storage device, comparing this 20GB Larson Creek solid state drive to other retail products. As a final reminder, please remember that the Intel 311 Series SSD is intended to be partnered with a high-capacity hard disk drive using Intel Smart Response Technology with select Intel 6-Series chipsets.