Intel 34nm X25-M Gen 2 SSD Performance Review

Article Index

Test System, IOMeter, and SANDRA

Intel Completes Wind River Acquisition

Our Test Methodologies:  Under each test condition, the Solid State Drives tested here were installed as secondary volumes in our testbed, with a standard spinning hard disk for the OS and benchmark installations.  The SSDs were left blank without partitions wherever possible, unless a test required them to be partitioned and formatted, as was the case with our ATTO benchmark tests. Windows firewall, automatic updates and screen savers were all disabled before testing. In all test runs, we rebooted the system and waited several minutes for drive activity to settle before invoking a test.

The IOMeter Question:

As we noted in a previous SSD round-up article, though IOMeter is clearly thought of as a well respected industry standard drive benchmark, we're becoming increasingly uncomfortable with it for testing SSDs, as well as comparing their performance to standard hard drives.  The fact of the matter is, though our actual results with IOMeter appear to be accurate, it is debatable whether or not certain access patterns, as they are presented to and measured on an SSD, actually provide a valid example of real world performance, at least for the average end user.  Regardless, here's a sampling of our test runs with IOMeter version 2006.07.27 on our SSD sample lot.

In the table above, we're showing two sets of access patterns; one with an 8K transfer size, 80% reads (20% writes) and 80% random (20% sequential) access and one with IOMeter's default access pattern of 2K transfers, 67% reads and 100% random access.  

Here we see this new generation of 34nm Intel SSD offers a noticeable gain in available bandwidth, about 5% or so in our read-intensive Workstation access pattern and it's up to 23% faster in our more write-intensive default access pattern which closely aligns to a database processing workload actually.

HotHardware Test System
Intel Core i7 Powered

Processor -

Motherboard -


Video Card -

Memory -


Audio -

Hard Drives -

 

Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7 920


Gigabyte GA-EX58-Extreme
(X58 Express Chipset)


GeForce GTX 280

6144MB Corsair DDR3-1333
CAS 7

Integrated on board

Western Digital Raptor - OS
OCZ Vertex Series 120GB
Corsair P256
Intel X25-M Gen 1 Series 80GB
Intel 34nm X25-M 160GB

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers
-


Relevant Software:
Windows Vista Ultimate SP2
Intel 9.1.0.1012
DirectX 10

NVIDIA ForceWare v182.50

Benchmarks Used:
HD Tach 3.0.1.0
ATTO ver 2.34
PCMark Vantage
SiSoftware Sandra XII SP2
IOMeter


In our SiSoft SANDRA testing, we used the Physical Disk test suite. We ran the tests without formatting the drives and read performance metrics are detailed below.  Please forgive the use of these screen captures and thumbnails, which will require a few more clicks on your part.  However, we felt it was important to show you the graph lines in each of the SANDRA test runs, so you are able to see how the drives perform over time and memory location and not just an average rated result.


Intel 34nm X25-M Gen 2 160GB
 


Intel X25-M Gen 1 80GB


OCZ Vertex Series 120GB


Corsair P256


Here we've only ripped through SANDRA's disk read performance benchmark due to time constraints more than anything but we'll offer up look at writer performance in our ATTO tests next.  In terms of read performance in SANDRA, the new Intel gen 2 SSD proved itself to be the fastest of our lot, edging out the OCZ and Corsair drives by a hair, with also a much less saw-toothed performance line, versus the previous generation Intel X25-M SSD.


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