Alongsize Z68 Intel introduced the SSD 311, codename Larson Creek. The 20GB SSD uses 34nm SLC NAND, thus pricing the drive more like a 40GB MLC SSD at $110. Intel claims that by using SLC NAND it can deliver the write performance necessary to function as a good cache. Our benchmarks showed just that. The 20GB SSD 311 performed a lot like a 160GB Intel X25-M but with half of the NAND channels thanks to SLC NAND's faster write speed and some firmware tweaks. In fact, the only two complaints I had about the 311 were its limited capacity and price.
Despite what it may look like, Intel appears to have picked the best balance of capacity and performance with its 20GB SLC SSD 311. While I agree that $110 is a bit steep, the SSD 311 does offer surprisingly well rounded performance as a cache. Intel mentioned to me that it did some tweaks to the 311's firmware to improve its performance as a cache, which could help explain just how well it does in our tests. Where the 311 does fall short however is in its capacity and pricing. I'd like to see a 40GB drive priced below $80, however even with a move to 25nm NAND I'm not sure we'd see that from Intel. 076b4e4f54