Intel 520 Series 120GB SandForce SSD

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Though our timed benchmark tests do a fair job of simulating performance in real world situations, they don't tell the whole story. Synthetic tests like HD Tune and CrystalDiskMark help fill the gap. Note: On SSDs, a full format was conducted before running these tests.

HD Tune's main benchmark shows the 520 taking a substantial hit in write sequential write speed compared to most of our recently tested SSDs, even the other SF-2281 models. Access times were okay at about 0.20 ms.

In CrystalDiskMark, using a block size of 512K and a random data set, the 520 displayed very strong sequential and random read speeds but its write performance was underwhelming. Random read/write figures using the smaller 4K block size were far less impressive.

Switching to an easily compressible data set (0x00 fill) resulted in huge performance gains which is typical for SandForce drives as they use compression to limit the number of writes and increase speed. The 520 is much more competitive under these conditions, trailing only slightly behind in 512K performance. With 4K blocks, the 520 was formidable in read/writes with a queue depth of 32, the type of access pattern associated with servers where multiple simultaneous data requests pile up.

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