SSD Redefined

5/10/2012 9:18:49 AM

Intel's Sandforce-powered SSD shows why it's still in the leader's circle

Intel are well known makers of microprocessors which act as the brain behind a lot of today's computers. What some don't realise is that they've also expanded their list of expertise to the line of solid state drives (SSD). With the new Sandforce powered Intel 520 series SSD, the processor giant pushes the envelope of speed and reliability further than before.

Description: Intel's Sandforce-powered SSD

Intel's Sandforce-powered SSD


Starting off with the physical aspects of the 520-series SSD, what we first noticed is that it's slightly thinner than the conventional 2.5-inch drives. Its thickness comes in at about 7.5mm, with another 9.5mm variation-- both offering 120, 180 and 240GB of storage space while the latter also offers a 480GB option. The difference here being that the thinner drive can be used in Intel's own Ultrabooks, one of the first commercially available drives to do so.

What makes the 520-series SSD special is the SSD controller that is used in the drive. As a SSD is a drive devoid of any mechanical parts, it is the controller's job to perform certain tasks such as caching, encryption and wear leveling.

The SandForce controller is capable of supporting 256bit encryption on the drive, leaving it secure even against the most determined of hackers.

As we ran our tests for the 520-series SSD, we're pleasantly surprised by the results that we have gotten. Sequential read and write results popped up in the range of 530MB/S to 550MB/S, which we admit is very impressive; however, with real life applications, data is not written to drives sequentially.

Description: SATA 3 6Gbps ports

SATA 3 6Gbps ports

Running real-life transfer tests, we managed to squeeze 240MB/S to 250MB/S transfer rates out of the drive with both drives connected to SATA 3 6Gbps ports. The only chink in the armor in terms of performance is when copying data from sources that are connected to sources other than SATA 3, which is limited by the bottleneck of these devices. What we did realise is that the data that is copied is also cached by the SSD controller, making copypasting the same file faster another time around.

Intel Solid State Drive 520 Series

$ 548.2

Contact Intel Malaysia



Size: 7.5mm

Capacity: 60, 120, 180, 240, 480GB

Components: Intel 25nm NAND Flash Memory

Interface: SATA Rev 3.0 (6Gb/s), SATA Rev 2.0 (3Gb/s)


Performance 5 stars

Features 4 stars

Design 4 stars

Value 3 stars

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