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Intel X25-M, 2.5” 34nm (160GB)

SSD Summer Slam: 12 New 2.5" And 1.8" Drives Rounded-Up

Intel’s latest X25-M drive is based on the same in-house controller with 32MB cache memory as the initial X25-M series, which is why you can keep grabbing firmware upgrades at the usual location. There have been several firmware updates that help prevent substantial performance drops after intensive use. The latest firmware, which we used for the review, does not deliver much higher performance than previous X25-M drives, but the performance impact under intensive use seems to have abated to the point of being almost unnoticeable. Even after significant use of the drive, we were still seeing 200 MB/s read throughput.

This latest Intel model carries a “G2” code in its model name, standing for 34nm MLC flash memory, while “G1” marks the older 50nm generation. Both perform equally, but the 34nm version is the basis for the upcoming 320GB model. We found that it required quite a bit of power to deliver workstation-type I/O (2.2W), which spoiled the efficiency results in the I/O performance per watt summary. Almost the same applies to power at maximum streaming (up to 1.8W). However, these results indicate maximum performance. Stay under these levels and you’ll find a 0.2W power requirement for HD video playback as well as 0.1W idle power draw. Only Corsair’s P256 and the OCZ Summit are close at 0.2W; all other SSDs require 0.4W to 1.0W at idle. One watt does make a difference in battery runtime over the long run.

However, we’re missing progress on the performance side, as the X25-M is no longer the best flash SSD for performance users. The exception is in enterprise scenarios, which Intel dominates thanks to incredible I/O results. Almost all Indilinx-powered SSDs now deliver higher throughput than Intel. Still, the difference is small once the SSDs are in the 200 MB/s range and up.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 8 September 2009 02:48
    shit review, the G1 is alot worse then the G2 over time/use and intel won't be giving the G1 the Trim command
  • 0 Hide
    BrightCandle , 8 September 2009 03:05
    Would have been helpful to have a hard drive in there for comparison just to reflect just how far SSDs improve performance.

    Where are the comparisons at empty verses used? This is a key differentiator at the moment and you seem to have missed the point completely. Its not how well a drive performs out of the box its how far it degrades once time has taken its toll.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , 8 September 2009 16:57
    There is a lot missing from this article. TBH, I wouldn't use this as a basis for making a decision on what SSD to buy.

    One of your competitors has a superb article on SSD that they published recently, that delves into new vs used performance, and a good explanation of TRIM, and why it's important.

    IMO, this article is not up to the usual THG high standard.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 11 September 2009 01:47
    Why is the Vertex doing so extremely bad in the write-test?? Just 74MB/s write?? Is that a typo and is it suposed to be 174MB/s?
  • 0 Hide
    bobwya , 11 September 2009 03:38
    Fail, Fail, Fail.

    Once again THG resorts to lots of silly benchmarks but misses the point... I wouldn't pick a drive based on this roundup!

    Where, or where are the degradation of write performance tests... Thinking where all the Flash blocks are used and write cycles become Write-Read-Write cycles. (heading off to AnandTech again...)

    Where is the Patriot Torqx M28 SSD (128Mb cache & 10 year warranty) in this "roundup"??

    If you want a fast boot drive for "desktop usage" you'll surely want more I/O performance emphasise.

  • 1 Hide
    bobwya , 11 September 2009 03:44
    bobwya... Thinking where all the Flash blocks are used and write cycles become Write-Read-Write cycles. ...

    I meant Read-Modify-Write of course!!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 20 September 2009 18:32
    It's like you guys haven't read Anand's articles on SSDs or intentionally ignoring it. SSDs with JMicron controllers are automatically crippled SSDs. At least until JMicron cleans up their shoddy work, but then they'd have to fight against a bad reputation.