As solid-state drives (SSDs) continue to drop in price they also continue to improve in performance. A perfect example is Intel's latest SSD 510 Series, which improves upon the company's previous X25-M SSD by adding SATA 6 Gbps performance to take advantage of the higher SATA bus interfaces found on recently introduced 2nd Generation Core processor-based platforms. This allows the 510 Series to boast sequential read speeds of up to 500 MB/s – double that of Intel's current 3 Gbps SSDs – and sequential write speeds of up to 315 MB/s – more than triple that of its current SSDs.

To achieve what Intel says is the fastest sequential read and write speeds of any consumer SATA SSD currently on the market, the 510 Series uses Intel's 34-nanometer NAND flash memory. The up to 500 MB/s sequential read speeds and 315 MB/s writes apply to the 250 GB capacity drive, while the 120 GB drive clocks in speeds of up to 450 MB/s and 210 MB/s. This is due to the fact that the lower capacity drive has fewer NAND die available so data requests aren't able to be spread data over as many NAND die as the larger capacity drive.

With conventional HDDs failing to maximize even the current 3 Gbps SATA interface, the 510 Series overs considerable speed advantages over traditional platter-based drives. But faster boot times and the ability to launch applications and access files faster aren't the only pluses. With no moving parts SSDs are also more rugged, consume less power and run quieter and cooler than HDDs.

"The Intel SSD 510 Series helps round out our SSD product line and was specifically designed for applications that require high sequential media transfers," said Pete Hazen, director of marketing for Intel's NAND Solutions Group. "Whether it's a gamer wanting impeccable visual performance and faster game loading, or a performance-intensive workstation user, the new 6Gbps SATA SSD from Intel is not only significantly faster than the top 10,000 RPM gaming HDD, it's also faster than two RAIDed gaming HDDs."

The Intel SSD 510 Series is priced at US$584 for the 250 GB capacity drive and $284 for the 120 GB drive for quantities of 1,000. Single drives are available from retailers for around $615 and $315 for the 250 GB and 120 GB drives respectively.

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