After a long break, Intel launches a SSD sporting their own NAND controller instead of a third party one from SandForce

Intel dubs an upcoming consumer SSD that would use Intel’s domestic controller

World’s largest semi-conductor manufacturer and silicon kings, Intel, never really introduced a 6Gb/s SSD storage device which used a Intel’s controller rather than a third party controller, the enthusiast level SSD DC S3700 launched previously was expected to host an Intel controller but it was closely tied up with the SandForce collaboration controller, therefore we always expected the next extreme series SSD to be all Intel. And our pleads were heard by Intel and they finally launched a consumer oriented drive with an Intel controller called the SSD 730 Series and it is based on company’s DC S3700 and S3500.

More on SSD 730 Series

Intel SSD 730 series

Intel SSD 730 series

The cost per gigabyte of this lineup comes up to be an expensive $1/GB and therefore is not for mainstream users who just seek value for money speedy storage rather than enthusiast level prosumer (professional consumer) performance. Currently the two sizes disclosed by Intel are the 240GB  and the 480GB drives. And their details are as follows :-

Intel SSD 730 Series 240GB 480GB
Controller Intel PC29AS1CA0 Intel PC29AS1CA0
NAND 20 nm IMFT, 64Gb Die 20 nm IMFT, 64Gb Die
Sequential Read/Write 550/270 MB/s 550/470 Mb/s
Random 4 KB Read/Write 86,000/56,000 IOPS 89,000/74,000 IOPS
Endurance 50Gb writes/day 70Gb writes/day
Form factor 7mm, 2.5” SATA 7mm, 2.5” SATA
Warranty 5 years 5 years


Along with the 240 Gb and 480 Gb variants, Intel may also launch 960 Gb variant in the near future.


Closer details

Intel 730 series SSD : Dismantled

Intel 730 series SSD : Dismantled

The 8 channel controller from Intel combines with company’s 20 nm NAND and with 1GB of DDR3-1600 cache buffer to turbo boost the drive’s speed which is again similar to the DC S3500. Learning from the other brand’s mistakes, Intel did some subtle changes and did allow the power users to tweak the performance of their SSD by overclocking the the memory, this feature was not astonishing since this lineup was directed towards toward the prosumers who like to play a lot with their hardware. Remembering from overclocking, the controller runs 50% faster than stock and the NAND interface is tweaked from 83 to 100 MHz and the changes are out of the box therefore the representatives of Intel do call this factory overclocked. The durability of the drive is remarkable compared to other drives of its capabilities and Intel offers power-loss protection as well (done by soldering electrolytic capacitors onto the PCB), it is also a RAID ready device as stated by Intel and does feature quite different yet interesting  capacitors that help in multi drive setups. But the most remarkable noticeable feature is the presence of boss skull logo that is the mark of Intel’s Extreme series products.


Most NAND packages are 14x 32 GB (ID : 29F32B08MCMF2)  and 1x 64 GB (ID : 29F64B08NCMF2) and lastly 1x 16 GB (ID : 29F16B08LCMF2) totaling to 566 GB out of which only 528 Gb is available while rest is used as a parity-based redundancy system able to recover from a partial die failure. Up where you see the brown capacitors is the SSD 730 Series’ power-loss protection mechanism, two 105 °C-rated 47 μF capacitors. Below that the little black chip are the two 512 MB DDR3-1600 DRAM packages. The other side of the PCB holds eight NAND packages, both DRAM placements and Intel’s game changing domestic PC29AS21CA0 controller running at a factory overclock of 600 MHz



Intel stepped out from using their own controller since the dawn of SATA III 6Gb/s and collaborated with SandForce but the main USP of their SATA II 3GB/s SSDs were their awesome original controllers that squeezed out every bit of performance out of their drives and allow the users to get most out of their device. Since, Intel again stepped into the NAND controller arena again though their debut was with an enthusiast level drive, one may expect the same with their more budget oriented mainstream consumer Solid State Devices.

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