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Intel 520 Series 240GB (Raid 0 update) SSD Review

Rating: 9.0.

A few days ago we looked 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. It claimed our top award earlier this week, thanks to the class leading performance and reassuring 5 year warranty.

In the launch review we mentioned some reliability concerns with the latest Sandforce drives … several companies had to recall some of the drives due to controller problems.

Intel are offering a full 5 year warranty with these drives, so if you have been a little unsure about buying a Sandforce 2281 powered drive, then we feel this is a good time to take the plunge. Intel have a class leading return policy and have stood by it in the past.

So why the follow up today? Well I was genuinely that impressed with the custom Intel firmware 240GB 520 Series drive, that Intel sent another so we could update our readers with RAID 0 results. An enthusiast user with £800 burning a hole in their pocket will assuredly be contemplating a pair of these 240GB drives for blistering system performance.

Intel have released the 520 Series in a variety of sizes – 60GB, 120GB, 180GB, 240GB and 480GB capacities are available. Today we are looking at the 240GB drives, which each offer 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. The drives are rated with a life expectancy of 1.2 million hours.


  • 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.

If you have read our previous article then you may want to skip straight to the performance testing later in the review.

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  • Booke

    Id be happy if I could afford one of these, never mind two. nice performance. im off to cry in a corner.

  • Jerome B

    Work well in RAID 0, but £800 was more than my last system cost. still we can dream, right?

  • max

    These are amazing SSD drives provided by intel.

    Check it out on amazon!

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  • tuney

    You missed a huge performance gain by not installing an intel rst version.
    rapid storage technology gives a boost to the low/mid size file transfer rates which really makes a windows based operating system fly.
    always only use the rst version from the boards download page along w/ being on the latest bios.
    one little glitch to know about; most times write back cache is disabled by default.
    open rst/click volume icon/toggle write back cache on/off/on.
    re-run the atto bench and look for the big performance gain.