We knew that Intel was going to have to release some new SSDs sooner or later and it turns out that today was the today. The company unveiled the SSD 510 series which will use a speedy 6Gbps interface in order to allow for maximum throughput to today’s newest motherboards, like those packing Intel’s own Cougar Point chipsets.In their release Intel noted that the 510 series is capable of reading data at over 500MBps and writing it at over 315MBps, making for greatly increased speeds compared to their older products. The 510 does not appear to be as fast as what we’ve heard from early reports of the second generation Sandforce-based SSDs (using chipsets like the SandForce SF-2200), but Intel is only lagging in the write speeds. Intel has focused more on reliability and brand recognition with their SSDs though, so it shouldn’t be a major problem if (once again) they aren’t offering the fastest products on the market.Intel’s new drives are built on the company’s 34nm, MLC NAND architecture. The big change with the 510 though is that they use a Marvell controller as opposed to one designed in-house by Intel.The move to the 6Gbps SATA III interface will remove a considerable bottleneck from the SSD throughput, though users will need a new motherboard to take advantage of it. Even so, people that upgrade (and they’ll need new, non-faulty Sandy Bridge motherboards for this) should see serious gains in transfer speeds compared to older products. Intel’s older consumer SSD, X25-M topped out at sequential read/write speeds of 250MBps and 100MBps.The 510 SSDs will ship in capacities of 120GB and 250GB with 1000-unit bulk pricing of $284 and $584. Each will carry a three-year warranty.Read more from Intel.comSal’s ThoughtsThis isn’t the exciting release I would have expected a year or so ago. Back then SSDs seemed wildly unpredictable, with prices dropping rapidly, low quality first gen drives still in the market, serious firmware problems, and so on. Things calmed down as time went on, but we were told to expect 1) increased capacities, 2) better reliability and 3) much lower prices. Well, reliability is up and capacities have grown to some extent, but prices haven’t dropped as much as you might have expected. 120GB at $284 is far from the $-per-gigabyte price where picking up an SSD is a no-brainer for anyone (especially without sub-100GB offerings).A lot of people, myself included, spent parts of 2010 expecting a really interesting Intel SSD launch in Q4 2010. There was talk about 25nm products, which would mean better pricing and great capacities (some people said up to 600GB), but that didn’t play out as expected. It’s not clear if some overly ambitious roadmaps were leaked or if Intel scaled back plans, but what we have now is the 510 series.The 510 is looking like a minor evolutionary step for Intel and something that’s competitive with the second-gen Sandforce products. It turns out that the biggest news is the change to the Marvell controller, but that’s not part of the price/capacity updates people want. I’m sure the 510s will sell but if you were waiting for Intel’s next release to get a hot new SSD in your computer then there isn’t much for you here aside from the 6Gbps interface. And even that will only benefit people with the newest possible computers.