Intel SSD 520 Review: Taking Back The High-End With SandForce

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Hmmm, maybe I missed a good excuse, but I'd like to see the Octane in these tests.
 

phamhlam

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I love Intel SSD. 128GB for about $210 isn't bad. It is just hard to not chose something like a Corsair GT 120GB that cost $150 with rebate over this. I would always put a Intel SSD in a computer for novice since it is reliable.
 
Nice article :)

Just need more SSD's to compare, I'd like to see similar tests done with 120GB...180GB...256GB and several more brands. Further, as I mentioned before in the other article please list the exact model numbers and OEM specs including their 4KB IOPS; otherwise folks don't understand the results and if relying on this a purchasing will have in many cases a 4 in 5 chance of selecting the wrong SSD.

Prior article - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sata-6gbps-performance-sata-3gbps,3110.html
 

theuniquegamer

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costly but i think reliability comes at a price. These ssds are best for enterprises . If the price will be little lower then the common user can afford these and get a good reliable ssd.
 

bildo123

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"Measuring boot time is one of the best illustrations of how an SSD benefits your computing experience." Be that as it may I find it almost irrelevant seeing as I hardly ever boot my computer, perhaps 2-3 times a month if that. Getting out of standby on my HDD is a matter of seconds.
 

acku

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[citation][nom]carn1x[/nom]Hmmm, maybe I missed a good excuse, but I'd like to see the Octane in these tests.[/citation]

We didn't have the Octane on hand in the 256 GB capacity, but we'll be sure to make that side by side comparison down the road.

[citation][nom]phamhlam[/nom]I love Intel SSD. 128GB for about $210 isn't bad. It is just hard to not chose something like a Corsair GT 120GB that cost $150 with rebate over this. I would always put a Intel SSD in a computer for novice since it is reliable.[/citation]

Excellent point. Price is always a fickle thing.

[citation][nom]thessdreview[/nom]Nice Review![/citation]
Thanks Les. :)

[citation][nom]jaquith[/nom]Nice article Just need more SSD's to compare, I'd like to see similar tests done with 120GB...180GB...256GB and several more brands. Further, as I mentioned before in the other article please list the exact model numbers and OEM specs including their 4KB IOPS; otherwise folks don't understand the results and if relying on this a purchasing will have in many cases a 4 in 5 chance of selecting the wrong SSD. Prior article - http://www.tomshardware.com/review [...] ,3110.html[/citation]

We'll keep that mind for future reviews. However, we already list model and firmware on the test page.

Cheers,
Andrew Ku
TomsHardware.com
 

willard

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[citation][nom]bildo123[/nom]Getting out of standby on my HDD is a matter of seconds.[/citation]
And with an SSD, your computer comes out of standby faster than your monitors do. Not kidding.
 

mrkdilkington

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Anyone else disappointed Intel isn't producing their own high end chipset? Been waiting to upgrade my X25-M for a while now (Intel 320 isn't a big upgrade) but might just go with Samsung.
 

boletus

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Good to see Intel throw its hat into the ring for the prosumer market. We should be able to expect performance and out-of-the-box functionality (as opposed to theoretical endurance) for the amount of money these devices cost. As the article repeatedly infers, this has not always been the case to date (although the last year has seen some major kinks worked out). Competition at the mid to upper end of the market will lead to higher expectations.
 

universalremonster

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Anyone else disappointed Intel isn't producing their own high end chipset? Been waiting to upgrade my X25-M for a while now (Intel 320 isn't a big upgrade) but might just go with Samsung.
Yes, I'm with you on that one. I've had an Intel 320 128Gb SSD for quite some time now and have nothing but the greatest things to say about my particular experience with it. I purposely held off from buying the Marvell controller 510 in hopes that the next refresh would have a new Intel made 6Gb controller. One thing I am curious about, does the new 520 still have the Intel Toolbox software with it? I have gotten alot of use out of it with my current drive and would really hate to not have it on a new one.
 

acku

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[citation][nom]universalremonster[/nom]Yes, I'm with you on that one. I've had an Intel 320 128Gb SSD for quite some time now and have nothing but the greatest things to say about my particular experience with it. I purposely held off from buying the Marvell controller 510 in hopes that the next refresh would have a new Intel made 6Gb controller. One thing I am curious about, does the new 520 still have the Intel Toolbox software with it? I have gotten alot of use out of it with my current drive and would really hate to not have it on a new one.[/citation]

You can use the Toolbox software with the SSD 520. It will however not work with other SF drives.

Cheers,
Andrew Ku
TomsHardware.com
 
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Andrew, could you please comment on the encryption capabilities of the new drive. Does it support AES encryption like the Intel 320? Is there an option for pre-boot? Thanks in advance!
 

compton

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Andrew,

Your SSD investigations/reviews/history lessons are Tier 1.


But I always get curious when Intel starts on and on about how it has the best NAND around. It's not that I even doubt them when they say this, but AFAIK Intel/Micron/IMFT are made and binned in the same place.

IMFT is supposed to be 49% Intel and 51% Micron-owned. Now both companies' own drives are stocked with what I presume is the best available NAND at that price point, but how did Intel get the reputation of having better NAND? (and if I'm honest, there is at least some evidence that it does). Micron doesn't run around talking up their NAND as much as they should, and this makes me think that the details of the IMFT arrangement are probably pretty strange. In a blind taste test, they taste pretty similar.

But not all Micron NAND is created equal, nor is Intel's (for example, does Kingston really get Intel's top shelf shtuff?). The IMFT NAND used in so many drives today runs the gamut from fantastic down to mediocre, only one step above Hynix's too-dirty-for-television flash. I'm probably the one person on this planet that wants to know more about Intel, Micron, and their bastard love child, IMFT.
 

TEAMSWITCHER

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Thank you for the OS X benchmarks! There are real differences between Windows 7 and OS X and having these benchmarks helps Mac users make better upgrade decisions.
 

hate_signup

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The entire SSD 520 series employs 7% over-provisioning
I wonder how you calc that over-provisioning percentage.

My calc example:
Raw NAND capacity: 128 GiB = 128*1024*1024*1024 = 137,438,953,472 bytes.
User capacity: 120 GB = 120*1000*1000*1000 = 120,000,000,000 bytes
--> 120 GB = 120000000000/1024/1024/1024 ~ 111,76 GiB
Over-provisioning: 1-(120000000000/137438953472) ~ 12,69%

Have I missed something?
 

dragonsqrrl

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This is fantastic, we finally have a stable SF2281 based SSD lineup on the market. After reading through many user and pro reviews of this controller, many of which still encounter BSOD problems even after countless firmware updates, I think it's safe to say that these are the only SF 2 based SSD's I would even consider purchasing, despite the elevated prices.
 
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Since the smaller capacity has lower projected performance please review the 120GB model, especially in comparison to the Samsung 830 128GB. And as a bonus, which is faster, 2x120GB in RAID0 or 1x240GB singularly?
 
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