IDF 2013 is almost upon us, and Intel's NSG (NAND Solutions Group) is kicking off the pre-show with a new SSD announcement. The drive in question? Intel's SSD Pro 1500. This is the first non-datacenter drive to use Intel's somewhat new branding, following the format Intel SSD [segment modifier] [model number]. 

Despite the new name, the internals aren't all that new. At the heart of the Pro 1500 is a 6Gbps SATA SandForce SF-2281 controller, the same controller we've seen used in Intel's SSD 330, 335, 520 and 530. The SandForce controller continues to be paired up with Intel's own validated firmware, which should deliver a better experience than on other SandForce based drives. The SF-2281 controller is paired up with Intel's own 20nm 2bpc MLC NAND. The combination of the two will be available in 80GB, 120GB, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB and 480GB capacities.

Relatively known quantities aside, the Pro 1500 does bring a few new tricks to the table starting with form factor. Other than the 480GB model which is 2.5"/7mm SATA only, all of the other drives are available in both 2.5"/7mm and M.2 form factors. Of the M.2 models, the 80GB version is available in 2242 (22mm wide x 42mm long) and 2280 (22mm x 80mm) versions. The rest of the M.2 drives are all 2280. All of the M.2 flavors are SATA based (I have to make this clarification as the M.2 standard is somewhat ridiculous and can support either PCIe or SATA using the same connector).

The controller used appears to be a newer revision of the SF-2281 which support for lower power operation as well as DevSleep. The result is lower active, idle (HIPM+DIPM and DevSleep) than any of the older SF-2281 based drives. Note that new SSD 530 appears to have similar power characteristics to the Pro 1500.

Intel SSD Spec Comparison
  SSD Pro 1500 SSD 530 SSD 520 SSD 335 SSD 330
Controller LSI SandForce SF-2281
NAND Intel 20nm MLC Intel 20nm MLC Intel 25nm MLC Intel 20nm MLC Intel 25nm MLC
Capacities (GB) 80/120/180/240/360/480 80/180/240/360 60/120/180/240/480 180/240 60/120/180/240
Form Factors 2.5" 7mm SATA
M.2 2242 (80GB only)
M.2 2280 (up to 360GB)
2.5" 7mm SATA
M.2 2280 (80/180/360)
2.5" 7mm & 9.5mm SATA 2.5" 9.5mm SATA 2.5" 9.5mm SATA
Max Sequential Read 540 MB/s 540 MB/s 550 MB/s 500 MB/s 500 MB/s
Max Sequential Write 490 MB/s 490 MB/s 520 MB/s 450 MB/s 450 MB/s
Max Random Read 41K IOPS 41K IOPS 50K IOPS 42K IOPS 42K IOPS
Max Random Write 80K IOPS 80K IOPS 80K IOPS 52K IOPS 52K IOPS
AES-256 Y Y N N N
TCG Opal Y N N N N
Intel vPro/SCS Y N N N N
Power (Active) 140 mW (M.2)
195 mW (2.5")
140 mW (M.2)
195 mW (2.5")
850 mW 350 mW 350 mW
Power (Idle) 55 mW (M.2)
125 mW (2.5")
55 mW (M.2)
125 mW (2.5")
600 mW 275 mW 275 mW
Power (DevSleep) 200 µW (M.2)
5 mW (2.5")
200 µW (M.2)
5 mW (2.5")
- - -
Warranty 5 years 5 years 5 years 3 years 3 years

The Intel SSD Pro 1500 features AES-256 encryption support as well as TCG Opal compliance. There's no mention of IEEE-1667 so I don't believe the 1500 is eDrive compatible. The Pro 1500 also adds vPro and Intel Setup & Configuration Service 9.0 support, allowing for remote management and diagnostics of the drive even if the platform is turned off. Ultimately it's the TCG Opal and Intel vPro/SCS support that separates the Pro from conventional Intel SSDs.

The Pro 1500 will be primarily sold through OEMs and SIs although there will be limited quantities available in the channel. The 1500 carries a 5 year warranty.

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  • Pessimism - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    I really, really wish manufacturers would get off this SandForce-crazy kick they are on. Intel has even sold out on all but its top enterprise drives. Kudos to Samsung for manufacturing their own controller with a different approach to help keep things competitive.
  • Johny12 - Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - link

    Quite innovative. supporting native AES-256 is a major thing to me. And also Intel SSD pro 1500 is featured in M.2 version upto 360GB which is really cool. off late, sandforce reliability has been un-questionable to me & Intel's association is the best possible thing you can ask for. I wish to have hands on this ASAP :)
  • danjw - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    So Sandforce worked out the AES 256 issue in these controllers? You list the 530 as supporting AES 256, but I thought those had the controller issue.
  • Zalcorus - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    The M.2 2242 will be available in 120 GB only, not 80 GB.

    Good news for the laptops with only 42mm slots (e.g. IdeaPad y410p/y510p)
  • Zalcorus - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    Also, on the M.2 product specification (found on the same page), the 2242 only gets 18k IOPS for 4K random read (vs. 41k IOPS for 180GB+ versions of the 2280).
  • kkwst2 - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    What is odd is that the 120GB 2242 is slower than the 80GB 2280 according to those numbers. I assume this means it uses fewer, higher density modules to fit on the smaller card?
  • iwod - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    I stopped reading when i saw SandForce SF-2281 and SATA 6Gbps......

    I want PCI-Express 3.0 based 2x SSD. or even 4x. As seen in the other test the current Seq Speed is limited by SATA. And even a 2x PCI-E 2.0 is saturated. Only a 4x PCI-E 3.0 could we see some headroom not limited by the interface.
  • orencom - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    NGFF or M.2 PCIe SSDs are in development today so you are going to see these kind of drives sometimes mid next year.
    the current generation of PCIe SSDs (e.g. the kind you have today in the MacBook Air) are AHCI based meaning that the AHCI controller is inside the SSD and connects to the host PCIe bus (where in SATA the AHCI controller outside the SSD as part of the host).
  • pmeinl - Friday, January 17, 2014 - link

    Does anybody know where one can buy a M.2 model?

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