Legit Storage Reviews
Intel X25-M 160GB 34nm MLC G2 SSD Benchmark Review
|Date:||Thu, Jul 23, 2009 - 12:00 AM|
|Written By:||Nathan Kirsch -|
34nm Flash Meets Intel X25-M 2nd Gen SSDsLast fall we had the pleasure of looking at Intel's first Solid State Drive series that was built using 50nm Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND Flash components. It is hard to believe that was nearly a year ago, but time has flown by and Intel has already announced their second generation SSDs. This new generation of Intel SSDs is now being built with 34nm MLC NAND Flash memory components, which is the main difference as other than that the drive remains untouched. Compared to its previous 50nm version, the new Intel X25-M on 34nm offers decreased latency and faster random write Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) than its 50nm predecessor. Other than some performance benefits the new 34nm process lithography also helps reduce costs since Intel can get more usable MLC NAND Flash chips per wafer thanks to the process shrink. Rather than pocketing all that extra revenue Intel is passing along some of the cost reductions to consumers. As of July 21, 2009, the channel price quoted for the X-25M 80GB is $225 (down from $595 at introduction one year ago) and the 160GB version is $440 (down from $945) for quantities up to 1,000 units. Pricing will likely continue to go lower as the 50nm inventory is cleared out and SSD sales pick up with the launch of Windows 7. Legit Reviews has already reviewed the Intel X25-M, so be sure to check out that review if you'd like some background reading on the original drive.
Inside this little package is Intel part number SSDSA2MH160G2, which is the second generation Intel X25-M 160GB SSD built using the 34nm process. Intel did change the nomenclature on their SSDs so you can easily tell the difference between the 34nm and 50nm models.
| Capacity & Size
||X25-M Gen 1 (50nm)
||X25-M Gen 2 (34nm)
The change is in the last two digits of the part number, so a G1 means that it is the 'old' 50nm SSD and a G2 represents a 34nm SSD. Another quick way to tell which you are looking at is by just looking at the bare drive as the new 34nm drives are silver and the old 50nm drives are black. Let's take a look inside the box, so you can see the color change.
Inside the box of the SSDSA2MH160G2 we found the 2.5" SSD, installation guide and a sticker that says 'MY SSD ROCKS!' for those that want to advertise what they have in their PC. Here you can see through the clear static bag that the 7mm thick drive is silver now, but the 2.5mm adapter to make it a 9.5mm thick drive is still black.
All Intel X25-M Series drives use the 2.5" form factor (9.5mm thick) used in the majority of notebooks, so this drive will work in any notebook. If you wanted to be able to mount it in an older desktop chassis that has just 3.5" bays you'll be forced to use a 3.5" Adapter Bracket in order to get it bolted up in the system properly. A little double sided tape will also work to mount one of the SSDs any place you want as these drives have no moving parts and don't make any noise. When it comes to performance we'll let you see what Intel PR has to say about that.
Compared to its previous 50nm version, the new Intel X25-M on 34nm offers decreased latency and faster random write Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) than its 50nm predecessor. Specifically, Intel’s new SSD provides a 25 percent further reduction in latency, for quicker access to data, operating at 65-microsecond read latency compared to approximately 4,000 microseconds for an HDD. Random write performance has increased 2x for the 80GB and 2.5x for the 160GB to further separate the X25-M from other SSDs. By delivering up to 6,600 4KB write IOPS (8,600 IOPS for the 160GB) and up to 35,000 read IOPS, the X25-M continues to set the bar for SSDs, while leapfrogging HDDs which only operate at several hundred IOPS for traditional HDDs. This provides for markedly faster system and application responsiveness. Overall, gamers, media creators and technology enthusiasts should experience faster PC responsiveness. The Intel X25-M on 34nm therefore widens the performance gap even further over HDDs on all fronts, including latency, sustained reads and writes and random read and writes. - INTEL PR
Intel informed us that while many specifications have been improved, that they do not expect many noticeable gains on application-based benchmarks. Targeted drive benchmarks and tests will show the differences however. It should be noted that the X25-M will also support Microsoft Windows 7 when it becomes available. At that time, Intel plans to deliver a firmware update to allow support of the Windows 7 Trim command, along with an end user tool, to allow users to optimize the performance of their SSD on Windows XP and Vista operating systems.
Intel X25-M on 34nm Series Features and Specifications:
- Fast: 250MB/sec. read, 70MB/sec. write
- Durable: no moving mechanical parts, enabling the SSD to handle rougher conditions
- Guaranteed: backed by a three-year warranty
- Form factor: 2.5"
- Interface: SATA 1.5Gb/sec. and 3.0Gb/sec.
- Capacity: 80GB and 160GB
- Operating temperatures: 0° C to 70° C
- Dimensions: 69.85mm x 100mm x 9.5mm
- Weight: 80 grams (+/- 2 grams)
- Vibration operating: 2.17 G (7–800Hz)
- Vibration non-operating: 3.13 G (10–500Hz)
- Power specs: Active: 0.15 W; Sleep 0.06 W TYP
- Life expectancy: 1.2 million hours mean time before failure
- Operating shock: 1,000 G/0.5 msec operating and non-operating
Let's take the SSDSA2MH160G2 apart and see what is inside!
Next Page - Inside The 2nd Generation Intel SSDs
Page 1 - 34nm Flash Meets Intel X25-M 2nd Gen SSDs
Page 2 - Inside The 2nd Generation Intel SSDs
Page 3 - The Test System
Page 4 - HD Tach v22.214.171.124
Page 5 - HD Tune v3.50
Page 6 - HD Tune v3.50 - Random Accesss
Page 7 - SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP3
Page 8 - CrystalDiskMark v2.2
Page 9 - ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.34
Page 10 - PCMark Vantage
Page 11 - AS SSD Benchmark
Page 12 - Performance Degradation Testing
Page 13 - Final Thoughts and Conclusions