Intel entered the SSD market in late 2008 with the X25 and has continued to release quality SSDs such as the most recent Intel 530 series. Intel is set to release their newest SSDs at Computex on June 4th. As I mentioned in my Z97 motherboard roundup, SATA III has become a bottleneck for SSDs; due to this bottleneck, interfaces like M.2, SATA express (otherwise called SATAe), and PCI-e are being implemented specifically for high-performance SSDs. Intel’s newest SSDs will be using NVM express (NVMe), a specification for SSDs attached through the PCIe bus. NVMe will allow for much higher queue depth, lower latency, and a host of other improvements that could considerably increase performance.
Next Wednesday--June 4th at 2AM--Intel has an announcement from its Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group. This is the same time as Intel's Computex keynote, so in my opinion, it’s very likely that this will be Intel’s next big SSD announcement. It has already been spoiled that Intel will bring NVMe-based drives to that field this year, and Computex would be just the event to launch them.
This slide shows some of what Intel’s newest SSDs are supposed to include (although as shown with the Kingston V300 NAND change, things can change even post-release, let alone before release). The native PCIe support, power loss protection, and MLC NAND points to this likely being a high-end SSD. Partly due to the new LSI SF3700 controller, PCIe SSDs should start to drop in price faster than they have previously, hopefully bringing Intel’s new SSDs into market affordably.
It’s exciting to see more SSD manufacturers incorporating interfaces like M.2, SATAe, and PCIe instead of SATA III, despite those interfaces currently being fairly uncommon. I think the next two years will be quite exciting for SSDs now that SATA limitations have been bypassed and SSDs can truly stretch their legs.
-Michael “The Bear” Kerns.