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Intel SSD 335 240GB

The 330 series is being phased out starting from the 240GB model. The new SSD 335 series is currently only available in 240 GB capacity, but 80 and 180GB versions are about to arrive, too. Other capacities are likely to appear as well because the point of the new series is in replacing the older 330 series models with ones that are cheaper to make.

It is easy to explain why they are cheaper. Intel makes no secret of that, announcing in the specs that the SSD 335 series features new 20nm MLC flash memory. We’ve expected SSDs with such memory for quite a long time as IMFT began to mass-produce it in the middle of 2012. The progressive technology helped reduce the size of a typical 64-gigabit MLC NAND die from 167 to 118 sq. mm, thus lowering the manufacturing cost of one chip. That’s why the SSD 335 series is cheaper while delivering the same performance as the 330 series.

Indeed, we can’t expect any performance benefits because the new memory has the same design as the old 25nm variety. One 20nm NAND flash die is 64 gigabits in capacity and the memory pages have the standard size of 8 KB, too. The synchronous interface uses the ONFI 2.3 protocol which isn’t different from the previous versions in terms of bandwidth. ONFI 2.3 supports ECC controllers integrated into flash memory chips but Intel’s 20nm flash memory doesn’t offer such functionality right now, so the interface may be viewed as the same as before.

The reliability parameter hasn’t changed, either. Intel’s 20nm MLC NAND flash is rated for 3000 reprogram cycles, so the SSD 335 should be as long-lasting as the SSD 330. The new type of flash memory has lower power requirements, making the whole SSD much more economical. The 240GB Intel SSD 330 used to consume about 0.85 watts but the Intel SSD 335 only needs 0.35 watts.

Now let’s take a look at the actual drive. It resembles the above-discussed SSD 330 visually. The case is identical except that the sticker with product information has moved from the face to the reverse side.

 

This SSD housing is going to be replaced for the SSD 335 series with another one that is partially made of plastic to differentiate the 20nm products from others.

 

Inside the case we can see the same unified hardware as in any other consumer-class SSD from Intel. The PCB is no different from the PCBs of the SSD 330 and SSD 520 series. It carries an SF-2281 controller and 16 chips of synchronous MLC NAND flash memory, each 16 GB in capacity. The chips are labeled 29F16B08CCMF2, the second letter F denoting the 20nm tech process the two flash memory dies hidden in each chip are made on.

 

The SSD 335 differs from the SSD 330 in terms of firmware. The new series even has a firmware update that corrects SMART monitoring data. Basic firmware algorithms are the same for both series, though. The Intel SSD 335 is compatible with the SSD Toolbox utility which helps you manage the SSD and run some service features including TRIM and Secure Erase.

In other words, the Intel SSD 335 is an improvement on the SSD 330 that doesn’t differ much from the original. However, it will certainly be appreciated by end-users due to its price. While the Intel SSD 520 comes at $1.02 per a gigabyte of storage, the Intel SSD 330 costs about $0.83 per gigabyte and the SSD 335, only $0.73 per gigabyte.

 
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