Intel 34nm X25-M Gen 2 SSD Performance Review

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Introduction and Specifications

Intel Completes Wind River Acquisition

When Intel released their first generation 50nm SSD product, the market buzzed with appreciation for the product and its overall performance profile. We in fact took you through the ins and outs of Intel's new MLC-based Solid State Drive product line-up for the consumer market and agreed it was one of the fastest on the market at the time.  However, over time, other manufacturers have closed the gap significantly. Perhaps it was the fact that Intel had "skin" in the SSD game or maybe it was just the all-around buzz of the burgeoning SSD market in general but there's no question, the technology itself has a considerable resource commitment from a number of very big name manufacturers.

Intel 34nm X25-M 160GB Solid State Drive

Based on 50nm manufacturing technology, Intel's highly acclaimed line of SSDs have historically commanded a price premium in the market as well, which regardless didn't keep them from selling like hotcakes. However, with the kind of resources that very few manufacturers like Intel can bring to bear, it was abundantly clear that Intel's SSD roadmap would continue to evolve. Today we've got a look at Intel's second generation of SSD products, the recently announced 34nm version of the Intel X25-M SSD. At 160GB and a significantly lower price point, Intel is also claiming performance has been taken up a notch or two as well. Sounds like a proverbial win-win doesn't it? Let's see for ourselves...

Intel 34nm X25-M and X18-M SATA SSD
Specifications and Features

A quick-take look at the specs tells you that the drives still share the same capacity offering of 80GB and 160GB and the drive also is still built with Intel's excellent 10 channel parallel architecture but with instead with 34nm MLC flash components. Additionally, the drive is specified for the same 250MB/s sequential read and 70MB/s sequential write performance of the first generation product. However where the drives differ is a reduced read access latency of 65 microseconds versus 85 for the previous generation product and Intel claims random write performance has increased 2x for the 80GB and 2.5x for the 160GB product to for up to 6,600 4KB write IOPS for the 80GB drive and 8,600 write IOPS for the 160GB drive with up to 35,000 read IOPS on either product. Back in September '08 we took a look at Intel's first gen drive, if you'd like to take a look back for a refresher. Additionally, we've also looked Kingston's re-branded version of the first gen X25M in this round-up showcase previously as well.  We even recently put a quartet of the SSDs together in RAID 0 and pit them against Fusion-io's ioDrive PCI Express-based SSD for some real excitement in the benchmarks.  But that's enough of the rearview, let's take a closer look at what Intel has in store for us with the second generation offering.

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