Intel 520 SSD Review (Round Two) – RAID Testing at 1.5GB/s With Highpoint 2720SGL RAID Controller

IOMETER 2010

We also utilized IOMETER 2010 in our testing to confirm the sequential speeds that we were seeing with compressible data. Here we are using an 8GB test file with 64K transfers at a Queue Depth of 64 to see the maximum transfer speed with sequential read access.

Again we see a top speed just north of 1.5 GB/s. This would be very useful in file transfers and server-type file access scenarios. For use with large video or audio files this would be an extremely fast array.

REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS

There is a large difference between what I would deem ‘Consumer RAID’ vs ‘Enterprise RAID’.  Many wrongly think that they are both one in the same. Enthusiasts, and more involved users, who are utilizing these types of RAID arrays in their computers are looking for different things entirely.  Ease of use, affordability, and an emphasis on desktop access file loadings is key to the typical home RAID user. There are major differences in the types of RAID loading and tweaking for the respective products.

We have tested some of the most powerful single SSDs on the planet that are designed for Enterprise servers and, with speeds above and beyond what many normal users can even imagine, one would think that these would be extremely fast in a desktop usage. That just simply couldn’t be further from the truth.

If one were to boot their computer using some of these enterprise-centric SSDs they would be extremely disappointed in their performance. The majority of these devices just are not designed to be used in a desktop application. They are designed for 100 percent operation, 100 percent of the time. These types of SSDs do not lend themselves well to being used by the causal user, and that is without factoring the extreme prices involved.

The SSD realm seems to be coming to a crossroads, however, where there are some devices that can, and will, perform at extreme levels in either scenario, simply by some easy configurations that even a normal user can handle. That seems to be the balance that Intel and LSI SandForce are striving for here by bringing reliability, price, and performance of the true Enterprise-class devices down to a level where us ‘normal’ users can utilize them as well.

The Intel 520 is certainly a huge step in this direction. These SSDs perform extremely well as a single device or in RAID configurations.  Having now tested them in both scenarios, we can safely say that they perform admirably on both sides of the aisle.

The HighPoint RAID controller that we used in this review is also a sign of these blurred lines in the RAID world. With a low price and excellent performance, it is also straddling the line with enterprise-class performance at home user pricing.

Look for more in-depth testing with both the Intel 520s and the HighPoint 2720SGL in very short order from us here at The SSD Review. We are already in the midst of an impressive article for the HighPoint controller with 8x256GB SSDs and this is definitely going to have some of our highest single card results that we have ever seen!

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Intel 520s really scored a knockout in our ‘consumer’ RAID testing exercise and, with the speed and latency displayed, it would be hard to go wrong with them. These results are some of the best I have ever experienced with so few SSDs and it wasn’t so long ago that it took a whole stack of SSDs, and a $1000 dollar RAID controller, to achieve what we did here today!  Look for our ‘Round Three’ of this Intel testing within the next few days, as we roll out our new Enterprise Test Regimen!

See Intel 520 Prices At Amazon!

See LSI 9265 Prices at Amazon!

User Rating: Be the first one !

21
Leave a Reply

avatar
10 Comment threads
11 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
17 Comment authors
Focus JohnyJoshua KennedyFernando MartinezMrfsysapocalypzez Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
WOW!
Guest
WOW!

Wow thats alot of benchmarks to be running on the SSDs. I would never do that many within a months time on my SSD.

Paul Alcorn
Guest
Paul Alcorn

That is true, many would not. A funny aspect of this is that by the time I had tested this on the HighPoint, I had ran it through two other controllers, putting it through its paces. We used the HighPoint in the end because it gives the clearest view of the drives performance itself, with no caching involved. These drives have taken quite the beating before we even reached review time, and they have much more in front of them in Enterprise testing!

Ghostrecon69
Guest
Ghostrecon69

It looks very impresive #s at a highly price cost, when I compare a bit less performance of my Revodrive3 X2 for the half of the cost of all this hardware setup the only thing that I envy out this setup is the 4k #s compare of the Revo3X2. Im still happy with my revo.

paul alcorn
Guest
paul alcorn

They both certainly have their place. the nice thing about this controller is future expandability. you can upgrade drives as new tech comes out 🙂

Christopher Ryan
Guest
Christopher Ryan

That’s some sexy stuff, Paul.

paul alcorn
Guest
paul alcorn

Thanks Chris! the full review of the new drivers for the highpoint is now up 🙂

Fortune
Guest
Fortune

Paul, will you do a step by step how-to install of the Highpoint 2720sgl on a X79 motherboard? Or is it just plug-n-play w/ update firmware? Meaning just let it boot after updating the firmware then do a soft raid. I have an Asus RIVE, but read some review on an e-tailer it’s not compatible with it, but it seem to work with your ASRock.

paul alcorn
Guest
paul alcorn

i have no issues with it. If you are having issues though here is some pointers: boot the computer with NO DEVICES connected instal the management software for the card (its called RAID Management) then once installed, flash the BIOS to the “QuickBIOS”. This bios allows the user to not see the control panel that comes up pre-boot. therin usually lies the problem, with incorrect option rom assignments from the motherboards. So, once installed, reboot. you will see no pre-boot GUI, just some test. that should be curative 🙂 it is a ‘low profile’ boot method to get past any… Read more »

apocalypzez
Guest
apocalypzez

Hey Paul,

I just bought this raid card and am trying to use 2x intel 520 240GB ssds via this card as a main boot drive. How do I go about doing this?? I have posted this question in the forum as well. And how do you boot to the raid management?? And BIOS version for the card you suggesting. I have installed the latest bios that was available in highpoint website!!

Thx

Mrfsys
Guest
Mrfsys

The factory enables INT13 by default, so the following sequence is what I would recommend, having previously installed 2 of these 2720SGL cards: (1) boot into the card’s BIOS with CTRL-H; (2) initialize all member SSDs; (3) create a RAID-0 array with 2 x SSDs as members; (4) re-boot into your motherboard BIOS and choose this RAID array in your Boot Priority; (a) Highpoint recommends that all other storage devices be disconnected from the motherboard’s ports, temporary: see README.TXT for further details; (5) proceed to do fresh install of Windows, from your Windows Setup disc. (The above sequence is obviously… Read more »

MRFS
Guest
MRFS

First, read the README.TXT file (what a concept, eh?) INT13 is enabled by default at the factory and, if you are not hosting your OS on that controller, you should DISABLE INT13. There is a Windows program that makes this easy, BUT you must download both the latest device driver and the Windows program to update the card’s BIOS. Obviously, you need Windows installed on some other storage device(s), in order to be able to run this BIOS update program. If you plan to install an OS on this card, you don’t need to change the INT13 setting. Installing Windows… Read more »

Jimmy
Guest

What is the water cooling system you have installed here on the test images? Great review on these hard drives by the way. =)

MySchizoBuddy
Guest
MySchizoBuddy

newbie question. How did you connect the 3 drives to two ports on the raid card?

Henk
Guest
Henk

each port on the controller has 4 sata channels. Usually you would connect the two ports to the backplane of your computer case, which in turn has connectors for your disk. Alternatively you can probably pickup a splitter cable on Ebay

Ibmford
Guest
Ibmford

Does trim function with RAID in this line? When can we expect TRIM to work in RAID configurations?

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

NO, TRIM does not function as the appropriate RST release has not been made public as of yet.