Intel has gotten into the fast-growing and lucrative market for PCIe SSDs. The company has announced a PCIe SSD, the 910, that provides the high performance you would expect of a PCIe drive with the quality guarantees that customers expect of Intel.
Who could blame them? Fusion-io has become a Wall Street darling for creating the PCIe SSD market, and still rides it to continually growing revenues. LSI is fascinated by the growth of its Warp Drive. Micron attained a significant design win at EMC, Texas Memory Systems (TMS) has had success in its own narrow markets, and Virident, OCZ, and STEC have also participated in the PCIe SSD’s market growth.
Intel’s 910 consists of four Hitachi SAS SSD controllers coupled through an LSI RAID controller to the PCIe bus – a two-hop design. It comes in two capacities: 400 & 800GB: essentially either the lower two boards of the photo or all three boards. The product is manufactured using 25nm MLC flash, yet it is warranted to withstand 10 full drive writes per day for 5 years.
Performance is very strong, with sequential reads up to 2GB/s and sequential writes of 1GB/s. Random 4KB IOPS are 180K for reads and 75K for writes.
The 910 is currently sampling and is slated for mid-2012 production with a very reasonable list price of $1,929 for the 400GB model and $3,859 for the 800GB model.
For a forecast of PCIe SSD revenues and an outline of their market readers are directed to the report: The Enterprise SSD: Technologies and Markets which can be purchased for immediate download from the Objective Analysis website