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.
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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