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Intel 910 800GB and 400GB PCI Express Solid State Drive Review

By: Paul Alcorn | PCIe SSDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Jun 26, 2012 2:29 pm
TweakTown Rating: 96%Manufacturer: Intel

Intel 910 SSD Continued




The four large Aluminum Electrolytic power capacitors that are directly above the PCIe power connector are used to provide enough power (330uF) for the SSD controllers to flush any data to the NAND in the event of a power loss. Many datacenters are now beginning to operate with higher heat ceilings. This lowers overall cooling costs, but makes high heat endurance a definite must. This type of capacitor is specifically designed for high heat environments, which is crucial for today's datacenter use.


Many of the current crop of PCIe SSDs do not have power capacitors integrated into the design which can effectively limit their use in mission-critical applications. The integration of power capacitors is a definite advantage for the Intel 910.




The bottom PCB mating connectors are composed of five rows of female connecting slots that attach to the male equivalents. These provide a bridge for communication between each of the PCBs. A clever design allows both of the uppermost PCBs to connect directly to the "˜engines' of the unit that are contained on the lower PCB. These connectors must remain tight, as servers can be subjected to a high amount of vibration. There are strategically placed fasteners next to each mating connector and a clasp on the end of the card to secure the components together.




The middle PCB is packed with IMFT 25nm HET (High Endurance Technology) NAND modules on both sides. HET MLC NAND is binned at the Fab and specifically processed for the highest endurance. This also provides a much lower price point that is more palatable than SLC pricing for customers. HET MLC is certainly furthering its push into the datacenter, as SLC is still priced far too high for all but the most intense high write applications.


The Intel 910 will initially come in two capacities of 400GB and 800GB. The 400GB model will consist of only two PCBs, with the uppermost PCB likely being the one that is eliminated.




The top PCB also contains only large banks of NAND flash. These large daughterboards are essentially "˜dumb' modules that pass the NAND onto the bottom PCB. The most interesting aspect of the bottom of this PCB is what is NOT there. There are six empty slots that are ready and waiting for NAND packages and the middle board also has six empty slots. These 12 slots are a sign of the impending higher capacity versions of the Intel 910 that will be hitting the market soon.

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