Watch out, Toshiba, your tiny SSD modules aren't the only game in town for ludicrously small flash storage anymore. Intel's just announced a new SSD 310 line that offers spectacularly minimal 51mm by 30mm by 5mm dimensions, while retaining X25-class performance (up to 200MBps read and 80MBps write speeds). To give you an idea of what those measurements mean, the industry-standard 2.5-inch form factor, an already diminutive footprint, is eight times larger than these newfangled storage chips. 40GB and 80GB variants of the SSD 310 are shipping out to OEMs already and Lenovo has confirmed it plans to roll these into its next refresh of the venerable ThinkPad laptop line. Prices are set at $99 and $179 (depending on size) when bought in batches of 1,000, though direct sales to end users are predictably off the table for now. Better start saving up for that next ultrathin laptop if you want one.
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New Intel® Solid-State Drive 310 Series Offers Full SSD Performance in 1/8th the Size

Ultra-Small Intel SSD 310 Enables Dual-Drive Notebooks, Innovative Tablets or Rugged Embedded Applications

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

* New Intel SSD 310 Series delivers Intel X25-class performance, but in 1/8th the size.
* Ultra-compact SSD enables the accelerated performance of an SSD with higher-capacity HDDs for dual-drive notebooks.
* Intel SSD 310 is ideal for tablets, rugged, low-power military or industrial embedded apps, and was selected by DRS Technologies for its upcoming ARMOR™ tablet PC.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 29, 2010 – Intel Corporation announced today the Intel® Solid-State Drive (Intel® SSD) 310 Series, an ultra-small solid-state drive (SSD) that delivers Intel® X25-class award-winning SSD performance, but in one-eighth the size. Measuring 51mm-by-30mm and only 5mm thick, the Intel SSD 310 is a fast, ultra-compact SSD that brings flexibility, ruggedness and scalability to innovative form factors and devices. It can enable highly responsive dual-drive notebooks, innovative single-drive tablets and low-power, rugged embedded industrial or military applications. When paired with a high-capacity hard disk drive (HDD) in a dual-drive system, the Intel SSD 310 can improve overall PC system performance by up to 60 percent.1

A solid-state drive uses no moving parts, and thus is more durable and reliable than a mechanical HDD, while using less power and providing better system responsiveness. The Intel SSD 310 Series contains 34 nanometer (nm) Intel NAND flash memory and is available in an m-SATA form factor in 40 gigabyte (GB) and 80GB capacities.

The Intel SSD 310 supports SATA signals over a PCI Express (PCIe) mini-connector for on-board, compact storage in single-drive netbooks, tablets or handheld devices. Weighing just 10 grams, the compact size also enables dual drive all-in-ones, notebooks or small-form-factor (SFF) desktops to help accelerate boot time and access to frequently used applications or files.

"The Intel SSD 310 series will allow us to provide the advantages of a full-performance Intel SSD paired with the storage of a hard disk drive in a small, dual-drive system," said Tom Butler, director of ThinkPad product marketing, Lenovo. "We've offered Intel SSD solutions for our highly innovative Lenovo ThinkPad laptops for some time, and now we're looking forward to incorporating this new solution across our ThinkPad line."

With its rugged design, the Intel SSD 310 Series has been chosen by DRS Technologies for a new ARMOR communications tablet PC to be unveiled at Storage Visions in Las Vegas. The ARMOR mobile and field unit tablet PC is certified by DRS to work in extreme temperatures and hold up to shock, vibration and drops, delivering up to nine hours of operating time.

"In order to meet the rigorous demands of our mobile users, we design for mission-critical tasks that require connectivity and handheld mobility in all-weather operations," said Mike Sarrica, vice president and general manager for DRS Tactical Systems Inc. "The Intel SSD 310 Series fits the bill by offering a reliable and high performing memory solution."

"The Intel SSD 310 Series is the first in a wave of SSD products we will introduce throughout the next year," said Tom Rampone, Intel vice president and general manager of Intel's NAND Solutions Group. "With this introduction, Intel is offering full SSD performance in a compact, ultra-small form factor."

Already shipping to customers, the Intel SSD 310 is priced at $99 for the 40GB capacity and $179 for the 80GB version, both in 1,000-unit quantities. More information on Intel SSDs can be found at www.intel.com/go/ssd or by accessing the multimedia press kit at www.intel.com/pressroom/kits/ssd. Follow Intel SSDs on Twitter: @intelssd, Facebook: Intel Solid State Drive (Official) or communities.intel.com.