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Intel 510 Series 120GB SSD Review

Rating: 8.0.

While Intel will always be known for their range of consumer and business oriented processor designs, their Solid State Drives proved to be extremely popular among the enthusiast audience, selling well across the range of sizes. The X25-M in particular is still a huge seller for the company, especially with the transition to 34nm.

In the efforts to remain competitive, they have just launched their new range of Solid State units, with SATA 6 Gbps connectivity and a new controller to deliver the ‘next generation’ levels of performance the enthusiast user now demands. They have released the Intel SSD 510 series in both 120GB and 250GB sizes.

The 250GB model boasts speeds of up to 500 MB/s sequential read, and 315 MB/s sequential write. While we could have reviewed this model, at £445 it will prove to be too expensive for many potential customers. The 120GB is aimed at a more wallet friendly £220.

With the price, and size reduction comes a slight performance penalty. With lower density flash and slightly less room for over provisioning this drive is rated at 450 MB/s sequential read, and 210 MB/s sequential write via a SATA 6 Gbps interface. While this seems more than enough for anyone, Intel’s biggest problem is the imminent release of the next wave of SandForce drives based on the SF-2200 controller. These claim to deliver class leading performance with read and write speeds in excess of 500 MB/s.

On paper the new Intel 510 series solid state drives also have another problem, their 4k random read performance figures are rated to 20,000 IOPS and random writes are rated at 8,000 IOPS, which is actually less than their last generation X25-M best seller.

Many people may be surprised to hear, that while this drive is branded ‘Intel’, inside it tells a very different story ….

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  • Barry

    Read about this elsewhere and was disappointed then, even more so now. Not what we expected from intel. they should be making their own controllers.

  • Tim

    Yeah, pretty much what I thought. Marvell controller was great with crucial used it a long time ago and the tuning has helped with read performance. Its just too little to late imo from intel. the timing is all against them

  • Victor

    Looks good for a boot drive, which I would think a lot of people want/need.

    Shame about the I.O performance on small files, it was always a weakness of the marvell controller. I feel a bit annoyed Intel didnt make their own drive, like they did before. it feels more like a ‘placeholder’ drive until their next one. I hope so anyway.

  • Kalish

    The 250GB drive is much better, but its 450 quid. You can get an OCZ revo drive for that. I know which I would take.

  • Dave

    Im glad you did the real world tests, I was about to give up on this. but it seems very good for a boot drive. tempted tbh, as I know Intel have the best warranty system on the planet.

  • Eggcake

    Please don’t just post the score of AS SSD as most of it comes out of one part of the bench (4k QD64). The score is really bad for comparing SSDs.

    Otherwise great review.

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