Intel Launches 730 Series Solid State Drives for Enthusiasts

Paul Lilly

Latest SSDs from Intel use a 3rd generation controller built in-house

Intel on Thursday launched a new line of solid state drives built specifically for power users and enthusiasts. The new 730 Series enters the performance storage scene wielding 20nm MLC (multi-level cell) NAND flash memory chips and a third generation Intel controller rather than SandForce silicon as found on the company's 530 Series. According to Intel, the 730 Series was built with DNA extracted from the data center and tuned for gamers and other consumers that require speed and reliability.

For now, the drives are available in 240GB and 480GB capacities. Both models boast sequential read and writes speeds of up to 550MB/s and 470MB/s, respectively, along with random 4K read performance of up to 89,000 IOPS and random 4K write performance of up to 74,000 IOPS. And while you can't adjust the controller's clock speed, Intel said it goosed the clocks from 400MHz to 600MHz and increased the NAND bus speeds from 83MHz to 100MHz.

Beyond raw performance, these drives are built for the long haul. Intel backs the drives with a 5-year warranty and states they can withstand up to 70GB of writes per day, which makes them particularly attractive for content creators working with 4K video.

The drives are also supposed to scale well in RAID 0 configurations. With two of these drives in a RAID 0 setup, 128K sequential writes jump to 960MB/s, and 128K sequential reads balloon to 1,073MB/s. Plop four drives in RAID 0, and performance can exceed 1,500MB/s, Intel says.

Retail pricing for the drives has been set at $249 (240GB) and $489 (480GB). We have a couple of the 480GB models that we're currently testing. Stay tuned for performance benchmarks!

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