Intel set a new benchmark for SSD performance when it launched its X25-M range of solid-state drives in 2008. While the chip maker promptly updated the range a year later, even those second-generation X25-M SSDs now look fairly dated when compared to more recent alternatives, of which there are plenty in an increasingly competitive market. Intel on Monday ended a two-year-long wait for the third generation of its SSDs by announcing the new Intel SSD 320 series.
Available in 40, 80, 120, 160, 300 and 600GB capacities, the 320 series boasts a number of advantages over its second-generation predecessor, including better performance and enhanced security. The new SSDs are all based on its 25-nm NAND flash memory and feature 128-bit AES encryption. According to Intel, the 25-nm memory in the 320 series gives it an up to 30 percent price advantage over the current generation.
The SSD 320 is capable of sequential read and write speeds of up to 220 MB/s and 270 MB/s, respectively. But the third-generation SSDs only support the 3Gb/s SATA II interface and not the new and faster 6Gb/s SATA interface.
According to Intel, when purchased in 1000-unit lots, the 40, 80, 120, 160, 300, and 600GB SSDs in the 320 series are available for $89, $159, $209, $289, $529, and $1,069, respectively – not the retail prices.