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 Post subject: Which One? Intel 320 vs Intel 520 vs Intel X25-M
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:19 am 
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Looks like Newegg has stopped selling the Intel X25-M. You can probabaly still buy it but it will probably quickly disappear.

I am going to get a new SSD, and I just trust Intel (for reliability) more than the other brands. And I know they have wear leveling.

So I have a decision to make: Intel 320 vs Intel 520 vs Intel X25-M

Other than price (Newegg 120G prices: Intel 520 $315, Intel 320 $240, Intel X25-M $230) , what are the pros and cons between these three choices?

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Last edited by ces on Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Which One? Intel 320 vs Intel 520 vs Intel X25-M
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:32 pm 
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Intel 520

Pros:
6Gb/s interface
34nm NAND flash. This should be more durable than 25nm flash, though flash endurance shouldn't be an issue in all but the most demanding applications.
Very high sequential read/write performance
Very high 'real world' performance (as PC Mark, Anand Heavy Storage Bench, File Copies, etc.)

Cons:
Non-Intel controller. It is actually the Marvell controller from the C300/C400, but with custom firmware from Intel. It shouldn't be a con, but the Intel controller has such a good reputation, a non-Intel controller raises my eyebrow. Intel has thrown its full support behind the controller, and says that they're not expecting a higher failure rate with this controller.
Not great random read/write performance. Actually a little lower than the Intel 320/X25-M in admittedly synetic IOMeter tests.


Intel 320

Pros:
Cheaper per GB than the other drives. The 160GB 320 is around $299, while a 160GB X25-M is around $399.
Built-in capacitors. This allows the SSD to write whatever is in its cache to NAND in the event of a power failure. This is usually only an enterprise-level feature, so it's nice to have.
Full disk encryption. I believe it's AES128.
RAID-4-like NAND duplication. Allows for a whole NAND die worth of failure without losing any data.
Intel controller. It's actually the same controller used in the G2, but with a newer firmware that unlocks some features.
Faster sequential write performance than the X25-M. Not as fast as the 510 or other 6Gb/s controllers.

Intel X25-M

Pros:
Track record of reliability
34nm NAND flash

Cons:
More expensive than the Intel 320
Sequential write speed is quite low (appx. 100MB/s)

I guess there's not much to say about the X25-M. The i320 is cheaper and faster, but you lose some write/erase cycles. I'd say it's a good tradeoff. The i510 is faster than either, but I'm not sure how to feel about its performance, which isn't class leading. Obviously it beats the SSDs listed here, but the Vertex3 and the newer Marvell-based drives (that don't use Intel firmware) put up a good running.

Without question, I'd buy an Intel 320 if I had only 3Gb/s. If I had 6Gb/s, though, I may be tempted by the Intel 510...


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 Post subject: Re: Which One? Intel 320 vs Intel 520 vs Intel X25-M
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:35 pm 
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m1st wrote:
Intel 520 Cons:
Non-Intel controller. It is actually the Marvell controller from the C300/C400, but with custom firmware from Intel. It shouldn't be a con, but the Intel controller has such a good reputation, a non-Intel controller raises my eyebrow.
That sort of gives me pause. It is the Intel reliability that I want. It apparently costs a lot more. Maybe this isn't the right one for me?

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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein


Last edited by ces on Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Which One? Intel 320 vs Intel 520 vs Intel X25-M
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:40 pm 
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m1st wrote:
Intel 320 Pros:
Built-in capacitors. This allows the SSD to write whatever is in its cache to NAND in the event of a power failure.
This sounds realy appealing. But how often is this a problem. What happens to SSDs when you get a crash or an unexpected loss of power? Do they ever get corrupted?

Seems like a lot of people are using SSDs and I have yet to hear anyone complain of the problem that this fixes. What are your thoughts on this.... does it have value or is it techie bling?

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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein


Last edited by ces on Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Which One? Intel 320 vs Intel 520 vs Intel X25-M
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:46 pm 
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m1st wrote:
Intel 320 Pros:
Full disk encryption. I believe it's AES128.
What does that mean in real life. It sounds like I need to memorize one more password that I will have to enter every time that I boot my computer. That isn't necessarily an advantage, especially on a boot drive (I have better not store the password for the encrypted drive on the encrypted drive :) ).

Or am I missing something.

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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein


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 Post subject: Re: Which One? Intel 320 vs Intel 520 vs Intel X25-M
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:47 pm 
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About the Marvell controller. That would give me pause too. I guess to be fair, the C300/C400 drives have been chugging along without incident after their initial growing pains. Also, with Intel firmware, it may have a better chance to not fail. Or a worse chance? Haha who knows. If you trust Intel's word, we should be okay on this front. Synthetic random IO performance leaves a little to be desired, but in more real-world scenarios, the controller does quite well. I won't spread FUD about any controller specifically, but I've had 4 SSD drives based on a non-Intel controller, and 3 failed within 4 months. Granted, this was earlier when the firmware revisions were pretty raw, but it was a pain to have to reimage my computer so many times :-/

About the built-in capacitors, it's not much of a gain. If you think that ECC memory is necessary in computers, then I guess you'd think full cache flushes to NAND are similarly important. It's not a very useful feature, but it's nice to have.

Regarding the full disk encryption, everything written to the NAND chips is encrypted with a key that is generated by the controller every secure erase. Once that key is lost, the data is lost, even if it still is physically on the NAND chips. This means if somebody desolders a NAND chip from your SSD, they will get just gibberish. If they boot your computer and you don't have a BIOS (or similar) password, however, they'll have full access to it. Now if you do have a BIOS password on your computer, then even if they steal your SSD, the data on the drive will be fully encrypted until they can guess your password. So short answer: it's very secure if you want it to be, or completely transparent if you don't care for the security.


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 Post subject: Re: Which One? Intel 320 vs Intel 520 vs Intel X25-M
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:02 pm 
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m1st wrote:
If you think that ECC memory is necessary in computers, then I guess you'd think full cache flushes to NAND are similarly important. It's not a very useful feature, but it's nice to have.
What bad thing can happen without it? Will having it prevent a corruption to the boot drive that will prevent the boot drive from rebooting?

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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein


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 Post subject: Re: Which One? Intel 320 vs Intel 520 vs Intel X25-M
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:30 pm 
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I've not lost data nor have I heard of it happening, but in theory if the power is cut to the drive before a write is complete - especially in a power failure or unsafe shutdown scenario - there can be data loss on any drive. Intel has chosen to build further upon its reputation for trouble-free operation which is no bad thing.

Personally in answer to the original question, I would (and at some stage plan to) go for the 320 purely because I believe the real-world speed differences are usually minimal for regular users, yet the advantage of having extra GB/$ is far more beneficial even if the capacity is not used.


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 Post subject: Re: Which One? Intel 320 vs Intel 520 vs Intel X25-M
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:53 pm 
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Eunos wrote:
the advantage of having extra GB/$ is far more beneficial even if the capacity is not used.


Newegg 120G prices:
Intel 320 $240,
Intel X25-M $230)

The prices between the x25 and the 320 are about the same. But i would think that I would get more writes per G out of the x25 with its 32nm nand. Correct?

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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein


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 Post subject: Re: Which One? Intel 320 vs Intel 520 vs Intel X25-M
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:35 am 
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I should clarify that point, yes the X25-M will have more write cycles per cell. I make the assumption that as soon as the 320's 'new release premium' wears off it will be substantially better value than its predecessor. Remember when a G1 cost $600?

Still, perhaps I should reserve my comments until that day actually comes.


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 Post subject: Re: Which One? Intel 320 vs Intel 520 vs Intel X25-M
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:11 am 
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ces wrote:
Eunos wrote:
the advantage of having extra GB/$ is far more beneficial even if the capacity is not used.


Newegg 120G prices:
Intel 320 $240,
Intel X25-M $230)

The prices between the x25 and the 320 are about the same. But i would think that I would get more writes per G out of the x25 with its 32nm nand. Correct?


I think the price on Newegg for the X25-M 120G is misleading. Currently, it's out of stock, and I'd be surprised if it comes back in stock soon. I was going off the 160GB pricing, where the 320 has a $100 price advantage over the X25-M.

If the X25-M does come back in stock and is cheaper than the 320, I might jump on it due to its higher durability. Then again, you'd be giving up some speed on sequential reads and writes, plus all the reliability features.


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 Post subject: Re: Which One? Intel 320 vs Intel 520 vs Intel X25-M
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:12 am 
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Hi
I'm using HP 8740w laptop on QM57 chip.
I need more speed for my work. I want to buy one of two SDD - 320 or 510
As i got from QM57 spec, it supports upto 3Gb/s.
Will 510 still work faster on my machine than 320?

Thanks


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