Sandforce SF-2281 controller and reasonable price tag
has now officially released a long overdue update to its 320-series SSDs, the new Sandforce SF-2281 based 330-series. The new 330-series will be available in 60, 120 and 180GB capacities and features a very competitive pricing.
As you may have noticed, the new Intel SSD 330-series features the same controller found in Intel's 520-series SSDs but still features slightly lower performance in terms of sequential read and write speeds. In order to make it more competitive, Intel opted for a slightly dsifferent NAND, or to be precise, a lower binned NAND that isn't up to 520-series standards. As opposed to the 520-series NAND that is rated for 5,000 erase cycles, the one on 330-series is "only" rated for 3,000 erase cycles. This also afects warranty which has been reduced from five years on the 520-series to three years on the 330-series.
In order to achieve those 3,000 cycles and make sure that 330-series SSD just does not go up in smoke, Intel implemented various firmware optimizations that also reduce controller perfomance. As far as the shere performance numbers are concerned, the 330-series will offer up to 500MB/s of sequential read and up to 450MB/s (400MB/s on 60GB model) for sequential write performance. The random 4KB read and write is set at 42k/52k IOPS on the 180GB model which is much lower than 50k/80k IOPS on the 520-series drive, but still decently higher than 320-series 23k/39.5k. Of course 60 and 120GB models have slightly lower random 4KB performance.
The main advantage of the new 330-series SSDs will be their price as Intel is setting the MSRP at US $89 for the 60GB model, US $149 for the 120GB one and US $234 for the 180GB, which makes it quite cheap in the currently available SATA 6Gbps SSD lineup, if not one of the cheapest SSDs around.