Intel 520 240GB SSD Review (Round One) – Intel Releases Amazing SATA 3 SandForce Driven SSD

TEST BENCH AND PROTOCOL

This is The SSD Review Test Bench Number Two. A quick click on the photo will give you a better look.

In testing, our main objective is to obtain results as pure and as accurate as possible and we want to ensure that no anomalies slip through. Simply put, we want to provide you with the absolute best results the tested hardware can provide.

Repetition in testing is standard and, if necessary, we may conduct specific tests in Windows 7 safe mode to ensure the OS has little to no influence on the end result.

In order to validate and confirm our findings, testing is supported by industry accepted benchmark programs. All results are displayed through capture of the actual benchmark for better understanding of the testing process by the reader.

We would like to thank ASRock, Crucial, Corsair, OCZ, and Fractal-Design, for sponsoring components of our Test Bench.

BENCHMARK SOFTWARE

Software used for testing by The SSD Review consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal DiskMark, AS SSD, Anvil Storage Utilities, along with FutureMark PCMark Vantage.

All do a great job of showing us the numbers that we want to see, or dont want to see in some cases, while PCMark Vantage x64 is an excellent program which recreates tests that mimic the average users activity, all the while providing a medium to measure each.

Benchmark software used by The SSD Review is can be obtained by clicking on the title of each application as all may be downloaded without cost to the consumer.

SSD COMPRESSION AND TESTING FLUCTUATIONS

All SSDs are not created equal and many new SSD enthusiasts realize that when they test their new drive to confirm specifications and ensure all is in order. SandForce controlled SSDs use compression techniques in storage whereas many others do not. This creates a bit of confusion when enthusiasts test the drive with random data through benchmarking programs such as AS SSD and Crystal DiskMark (random data sample). The results seem to be lower than the listed specifications.

The results actually present a false portrayal of the drives ability when compared to other drives such as the Samsung 470 Series and Crucial M4 SSDs that we have reviewed previously. It is for this reason that all of our comparison testing is done through PCMark Vantage. PCMark Vantage HDD Suite simply provides evaluation results based on transfer speeds reached through typical user patterns. Vantage provides a better testing medium, in that, it sees through the typical synthetic benchmarks and provides us with true to life results of the drive.

INTEL UPDATES TOOLBOX

For those wanting to dive in and discovery all there is to discover about the new 520, Intel has just released their new Intel Toolbox Ver. 3.02 which is compatible with the Intel 520 and does some great things to include complete drive identification, secure erase and SSD optimization.

CRYSTAL DISK INFO VER 3.9.3

Crystal Disk Info provides some excellent information about the SSD itself to include its health, product information, power on information as well as the characteristics of the SSD. We can see that the SSD is capable of TRIM as it is not greyed out as with AAM.

As a teaser for ‘Round Two’ of our Intel Series 520 SSD review, lets take a look at all three SSDs disassembled:

8 comments

  1. Nice, was wondering when Intel will show their Sandforce SSDs. The prices on the others drop drastically and some have already reach $1/GB after rebate.

  2. If Intel is using the Sandforce 2281 then I dont understand why OCZ bought Indilinx. Obviously Intel had a choice. They are as big as you can get and if they chose Sandforce over the controllers that are in the Samsung SSDs they must be extremely reliable. JMHO.

  3. Can’t wait to see how these babies do in Raid0!

  4. This is an excellent article! Great work Les 🙂 no pressure for me on the followup lol 😉

  5. Fabulous article – I like the detail especially about the 16GBs being used by the firmware.

  6. I’ve read that the 520s do not have capacitors, so if there is a power shut down (happened to me two nights ago) that the information on the hard drive is gone. Is this true?

  7. would be interested to see a review of the sandisk extreme ssd. it’s by far the cheapest sandforce powered ssd with toggle nand – buy.com has the 120gb for about $160 and 240gb for about $320. that’s a steal. storagereview reviewed it and were very impressed.

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