With Intel’s recent Z68 chipset announcement that can use an SSD as a huge hard disk or RAID array cache, Intel has now unveiled a low cost SLC based SSD specifically designed to be used as a cache drive for the Z68 platform.

The Intel 311 SSD, codenamed Larson Creek has a capacity of 20GB, featuring 34nm SLC NAND flash, an SATA-300 interface and read/write performance of up to 200MB/s and 105MB/s, respectively.  It has a suggested retail price of $110, making it very low price for an SSD using the robust SLC NAND flash.  The SSD comes either as an mSATA or standard 2.5″ form factor, with the mSATA form factor targeted at new Z68 motherboards that have an on-board mSATA bay such as some of the new Gigabyte Z68 based motherboards.

Obviously this SSD is too small to be used as a main OS drive, but this capacity makes it ideal as a cache drive, since while an OS installation with a large number of bulky applications can easily consume more than 100GB of space, it is very unlikely that more than 20GB of that data will be regularly read, let alone read even once over a typical day.

Unlike the earlier SSD based caching solutions and hybrid SSD+HDD drives, the Intel Z68 can also use the SSD to cache write operations, giving SSD-like performance for write operations also.  Further info on the Z68 caching system can be found in our earlier story.

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