Intel has formally launched its SSD 330 Series, a low-priced replacement for its SSD 320 Series of solid-state drives.

Based on 25nm multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash, the new Intel SSD 330 drives boast 6Gb/s SATA interfaces and claimed sequential read performance of 500MB/s with sequential write speed just barely lagging at 450MB/s. Random read performance is given as 22,500 input-output operations per second (IOPS,) with random write hitting 33,000 IOPS.

Designed as Intel's mainstream offering, sitting below the enthusiast-grade SSD 500 family and enterprise-oriented SSD 700 and 900 models, the company is pricing the SSD 330 Series competitively: recommended channel pricing is set at $89 for the bottom-end 60GB model, $149 for the 120GB drive, and $234 for the range-topping 180GB version. All three models come with a three-year limited warranty, as is standard for Intel drives.

Picking Scan's retail pricing as an illustrative example, that translates into a tax-inclusive retail price of £72.72 for the 60GB, £115.34 for the 120GB version and £183.82 for the 180GB.

For Intel-branded drives, that's pretty cheap - but the pricing doesn't compare so well to the competition. Scan is currently selling the SandForce SF2200-based Corsair Force GT 120GB for £120.14, which boasts manufacturer-measured read and write speeds of 555MB/s and 515MB/s respectively - a significant boost in performance for not much more cash.

At the bottom end of the capacity spectrum, the Corsair Force 3 60GB offers 525MB/s read and 490MB/s write for £67.92 - a few pounds cheaper than Intel's offering, and again with a claimed performance increase. A few pounds more, at £75.12, gets the Corsair Force GT 60GB with the same performance rating as its bigger brother.

Even at the high end of the market, Intel's SSDs aren't the cheapest: £157.42 gets you an OCZ Agility 3 180GB, which boasts sequential read performance of 525MB/s and write performance of 500MB/s. As with the other alternatives, the OCZ Agility 3 features the same SATA 6Gb/s connectivity as Intel's latest offering.

For those putting their faith in Intel's brand, however, the new SSD 330 Series could prove a tempting proposition - and the pricing isn't so different to the competition that the drives should be ignored from any purchase decision.

The Intel SSD 330 Series drives are available to order from UK retailers now, although stock has yet to arrive.

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