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 ….