Intel 311 Larson Creek 20GB SLC SSD Review

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Inside Larson Creek

Intel 311 Series SSD

To take the Intel SSD Larson Creek 20GB drive apart you need to remove the four screens that hold the plastic spacer on. Intel uses a standard 2.5″ drive bay mounting system for this SSD and holes are pre-drilled and threaded on the sides and the bottom of the enclosure. Once those four screws are removed, all parts come apart easily
revealing the hidden secrets inside.

Intel 311 Series SSD Inside

With the cover lifted off we see a blank PCB, with no components located on this side. 

Intel 320 Series PCB

On the other side of the Intel 311-series Larson Creek SSD we find
five Intel 34nm SLC NAND Flash chips, an Intel controller and a single ISSI
DRAM cache chip.

Intel 320 Series NAND

The NAND on the Larson Creek SSD is what makes this drive so unique and special.  Intel uses 34nm Intel SLC NAND Flash, which costs more than double MLC NAND Flash. As you can see from the image above the chips are labeled with part number 29F32G08CAND2.  Intel rates the NAND endurance at 5 years assuming
workloads up to 20 GB of host writes per day. The power on/off cycles for this SSD is 50,000 cycles, so this should mean that the drive will last for years on a typical desktop system. 

Intel 311 Series Cache

Intel uses an Integrated Silicon Solution Inc (ISSI) DRAM chip with part number IS42S16160D-7TLI for the controller cache. This IC is 32MB in density and operates at 143 MHz.

Intel 311 Series Controller

The Intel controller is labeled PC29AS21AB0, which is the same controller that we saw inside the Intel 320 SSD series and other Intel X25-M SSDs. The firmware for this drive is different though as this drive uses more expensive SLC NAND Flash.

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