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Intel 520 Series 240GB Solid State Drive Review

Rating: 9.0.

Today we are looking at the latest Solid State Drive from Intel – the 520 series, codenamed ‘Cherryville'. The drive is built around ‘compute quality' 25 nanometer NAND flash memory and offers a claimed maximum sequential read speed of 550 MB/s.

The Solid State Drive market has been extremely competitive in the last 12 months, with a plethora of SandForce driven units claiming the performance sector. It hasn't all been smooth sailing for Sandforce however, with concerns raised by enthusiast users in regards to reliability. OCZ and Corsair have even had to recall some drives in the past, due to Sandforce controller issues.

This has opened the high end sector up for other manufacturers such as Crucial with Marvell controlled drives and Samsung with their own proprietary S4LJ204X01-Y040 controller. OCZ have even recently released the Indilinx Everest powered Octane solid state drive – just so the enthusiast audience have other options.

It may therefore come as a bit of a surprise to hear that the Intel 520 series uses a Sandforce 2281 controller.

Intel are releasing the 520 Series in a variety of sizes – 60GB, 120GB, 180GB, 240GB and 480GB capacity drives will be available. Today we are looking are the 240GB model, which offers read speeds up to 550MB/s and write speeds up to 520MB/s. All the drives offer the same read speed, but the write speeds fluctuate a little. The 60GB unit offers a maximum of 475 MB/s write and the 120GB is limited to 500 MB/s.

Intel have been involved in the creation of these drives, and they all offer a co-defined and validated firmware release for an ‘Intel-unique implementation'. The drives are rated with a life expectancy of 1.2 million hours and have an full Intel warranty for 5 years.


  • Intel SSD 520 speeds performance for the most demanding applications and intense multitasking, to dramatically improve user experience.
  • Intel SSD 520 gives users more capacity choices to drive increased SSD adoption across all corporate client/consumer computing platforms.
  • Highly reliable, the Intel SSD 520 6gbps SATA III SSD is backed by extensive Intel validation and comes with a 5-year warranty.
  • Security features include: Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256 bit encryption capabilities and stronger password protection for added security in the event of theft or power loss.
  • “End to End Data Protection” ensuring integrity of stored data from the computer to the SSD and back.

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