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Intel’s X25-E SSD Walks All Over The Competition

Intel’s X25-E SSD Walks All Over The Competition

The first solid state drive by Intel was the mainstream X25-M, which we reviewed last September. It is available in capacities of 80 GB and 160 GB, and its performance and power efficiency set new standards for desktop systems and notebooks. However, since it is based on MLC flash memory, its write throughput and I/O performance generally aren't considered suitable for servers and workstations. That all changes with the introduction of the X25-E SLC-based SSD.

X25-M/X25-E: Why Two SSDs?

There are two different types of flash memory on the market: multi-level cell (MLC) and single-level cell (SLC). MLC stores multiple bits of data in each flash memory cell, making it less expensive. SLC costs much more, but allows direct access to each bit of data, which enables better performance for random access and write operations.

Let me give you an example: the X25-M, which has been Intel’s desktop flash SSD product, reaches a level of 200 MB/s in read throughput, but it only writes at up to 75 MB/s. And although it provides great I/O performance, an SLC-based flash SSD can do much better.

Enterprise Requirements

Enterprise customers typically require as many I/O operations per second as possible in order to sustain the minimum number of transactions per second required by mission-critical applications. In this context, Intel paired its excellent flash controller with SLC memory. The result is amazing, as the X25-E drive simply leaves its competition in the dust.

We compared it to the X25-M, a Samsung 64 GB mainstream flash SSD, server SSDs from Mtron and Memoright, and the two fastest 15,000 RPM hard drives you can get: the Hitachi Ultrastar 15K450, and Seagate’s Cheetah 15K.6.

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  • 0 Hide
    v12v12 , 28 February 2009 04:56
    So just how long till desktop enthusiasts see "reasonable" (~$150) prices for these drives?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 28 February 2009 05:26
    2 years ago when the SSD hype started, they said "2 years" until this hits the mainstream market. People back then thought flash memory would be faster, have quicker access times, energy efficient, big and CHEAP. SSDs until the X25 series turned out to be neither. And with less than 10ct/GB HDD will no be beaten that quickly.

    I'd say, 2 year until this hits the mainstream market. ;-)
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 28 February 2009 19:51
    can somebody please explain the difference between the poor file server performance of the x-25M compared to the rather good performance on the webserver. Is it to do with the size of the files being read or doing reads and writes at the same time? Considering that most production enviroments for web and file servers consist of about 90% reads and 10% writes on average, do the benchmarks above reflect this?
  • 0 Hide
    eddieseven , 1 March 2009 03:31
    If I could justify the cost I would shoehorn two of these baby's into my laptop immediately!
  • 0 Hide
    tstebbens , 3 March 2009 19:15
    I would love to see what four of these in a striped and mirrored RAID array could do...
  • 0 Hide
    UNICOMPLEX , 6 March 2009 05:59
    Although this comparison of Intels X25 was nice to see against cheeter HD 15,000rmp drives & the Samsung,
    Can someone please tell me why Toms hardware are still avoiding putting the Intel X25 up against the OCZ Vertex & OCZ Apex series in these bench mark tests ?, or are they afraid that the new OCZs SSDs might beat the X25 !.
    Again this is just another fixed bench test to me where the Intel as been matched up against some no hope contenders.
    Maybe this test was done by the boxing promoter DON KING, < he was a dodgy fixer of matchers.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 1 April 2009 23:18
    Unicomplex, its probably because the OCZ drives are a load of toss
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 1 May 2009 21:51
    has OCZ got their bottlenecking issues sorted out yet ? or are they still relying on the people on their forum to provide workarounds such as formatting in 4kb chucks/stripes and formatting allignment to overcome piss poor component selection ? Intel has proved, good quality components can make or break a drive, sure you pay through the nose.... but you also dont end up with a lot of pissed off customers, OCZ's customer service on $500+ units is dreadful