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windwithme 16th March 2009 06:45

Open SSD High Performance Territory Ė Intel X25-M 80GB PC&NB Platform Test
Since about 2008, I started to see some SSD, SATA Solid-State Drive, articles and test report in the internet.
1st half 2008, SSD higher price and smaller capacity made it be hard to accept by end users.
Till the 2nd half, more and more manufacturers launched their products. The supply became more and the competition started.
SSD price started to drop and the mainstream capacity increased from 4~8GB to 32~64GB.

At the moment, the most popular size of SSD is 2.5. There are some 1.8 version, but not very popular.
I think it because the most NB supports 2.5 HDD.

In addition, SSD and SD or CF has 2 kinds of NAND Flash technologies, one is SLC and the other is MLC.
Generally, SLC read/write speed is more average, and life is longer. However, the price is much higher.
MLC read speed is same as SLC, but the write speed is slower. But the advantage of MLC is the price is much lower than SLC.

This test report is fastest MLC SSD, Intel X25-M SSD to compare with the other 2.5 products.

Over the years, Intel has decisive position in CPU and Chipset territory.
Since 2nd half 2008, Intel launched SSD product line to enter this latest storage industry.
There are many Intel SSD products available, they are X25-E 32GB, X25-E 64GB, X18-M 80GB and 160GB, X25-M 80GB and 160GB.
Intel X25-M or X18-M. 25 and 18 means SSD dimension, 2.5 or 1.8 .

Currently, Intel SSD types are MLC, X25-M/X18-M 80GB and 160GB.
For the SLC, Intel also has X25-E 32GB and 64GB.

Intel X25-M 80GB outlook
Official spec is READ 250MB/s, WRITE 70MB/s. Itís the fastest performance in the market now.

The interface is SATA II, voltage is 5V.
It supports both NB and PC platform.

Intel SSD has 7mm or 9.5mm two different models to fit all mechanical system. My test is 7mm model, itís a little bit thinner than 2.5 HDD 9mm.

X25-M compaonents

Controller chip is the key factor of SSD performance

Other IC

The PC test platform uses GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P.
The chipset is Intel latest X58 and ICH10R. I believe it can bring out the best performance of Intel X25-M.

windwithme 16th March 2009 06:53

CPU: Intel Core i7 Extreme 965
DRAM: CORSAIR Dominator 2GBX3 DDR3 1866C9D
VGA: MSI N9600GT Diamond
HD: Intel X25-M 80GB
POWER: Corsair HX1000W Modular Power Supply
Cooler: Thermaltake BigTyp VP

Core i7 platform system setup

HD Tune Pro 3.50
Average Read is 210.8MB/s, average write is 71.7MB/s
Random read is 244MB/s, Random write is 80MB/s

EVEREST Linear Read average is 239.5MB/s, the highest is 250.5MB/s.
HD Tune Pro files base test, the highest read is over 250MB/s, and write also reach 75MB/s
ATTO DISK Benchmark over 64k test can reach highest read at 267MB/s, and write at 80MB/s
CrystalDiskMark is read 249.8Mb/s, and write 75.43MB/s

EVEREST Random Read average is 237.3MB/s, and peak is 315.2MB/s.
HD Tach average read is 214.7MB/s.
FDBNECH Read 251906 KB/s,Write 73722 KB/s

Intel X25-M reading performance is really amazing. Itís almost the best in the SSD market right now.
The write is limited by MLC structure. However, the office spec, 70MB/s, is also the top of MLC or 2.5 HDD.
Small files performance is also very high score. The next NB platform test, I will compare it with 2.5 HDD.

NoteBook test I use DELL Latitude E4300.
The chipset is Intel GS45.

The NB test will be more detail.
After all, most 2.5」 storage is installed in NB.
So the NB performance will separate into 3 parts.
1.Intel X25-M 80GB SSD MLC(Intel X25-M)
3.WD2500BEVS 250GB 5400rpm(WD2500BEVS)

Test One


Intel X25-M

NB chipset performance is not as high as PC version.
But the read performance is almost same as PC.
Intel X25-M has much higher performance than Samaung MLC SSD

windwithme 16th March 2009 07:24

Test Two


Intel X25-M

Intel X25-M has very good scores in CrystalDiskMark. The Read/Write is 230/72MB/s.
The random read is also reach 179MB/s. Itís not as high performance as PC, but itís still very good performance.

Test Three


Intel X25-M

ATTO Disk Benchmark, Intel X25-M read performance is 277MB/s, and itís higher than PC.
FDEBENCH X25-M also reach 222 and 70MB/s.

Test Four


Intel X25-M

windwithme 16th March 2009 14:25

Test Five


Intel X25-M

CrystalDiskMark, X25-M Read/Write are 227 and 72MB/s.
In HDD Mark, X25-M is higher than SAMSUNG SSD 50%, and 3 times faster than 5400rpm HDD.
As X25-M applies with NoteBook, some benchmark drop a lot as comparing to PC, but over 80% test still keep read 220~230Mb/s and write 70~75Mb/s.

Intel SSD is really unique. Its read/write performance is much higher than current MLC SSD.
No matter SLC or MLC SSD, Intel X25-M 250MB/s read speed is very top performance.

Comparing to HDD, SSD is faster, lighter, lower power consumption, higher anti-vibration and lower defect rate.
But itís more expensive and less capacity. I think itís normal for any product before mass production.
In late 2008, SSD mainstream capacity was up from 16~32GB to 64GB. It makes SSD and 2.5 HDD capacity gap smaller.

Although Intel X25-M uses MLC which the read/write life is worse than SLC.
However, Intel implements exclusive algorithms to lower the product life depletion.
Also, the good SSD anti-vibration ability, NANA Flash defect rate is very low, makes SSD actual using life is longer than HDD.
X25-M power consumption is much lower than HHD, office spec is standby 0.06W and full speed 0.15W. It also enhance the NB standby time.

Intel X25-M has been launched for several months, but the read/write performance is still in the leading position.
For the current competitive SSD market, X25-M is a really good product.
The previous X25-M 80GB price was 595USD, but after price dropped in March 2009, the latest distributor price is 385USD/Kpcs. Taiwan suggested street price is around NTD 18,800.
X25-M is still more expensive than normal MLC SSD, but the leading performance and price adjustment make Intel X25-M C/P value be higher.
More and more SSD new technology, faster and faster performance, some SSD products catch the performance gap with X25-M.
I hope Intel can keep adjusting their SSD price, raise the capacity and launch more SLC version. Let customers can have more options as purchasing SSD. :)

windwithme 15th May 2009 08:14

After using for month, Intel X25-M also encounter the common issue of MLC SSD.
The writing performance is dropping, even you reinstall the OS, the performance drops to 30-40Mb/s

Intel X25-M latest firmware 045C8820

After flash Intel latest 045C8820 firmware, the writing performance back to normal.
Intel has solved the lower SSD writing performance as long term using MLC IC.

jmke 15th May 2009 09:01

Thank you for this test, it confirms what PCPer found ( always good to have a second confirmation! :super:

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