Intel 34nm X25-M Gen 2 SSD Performance Review

Article Index

Our Summary and Conclusion

Intel Completes Wind River Acquisition

Performance Summary: The second generation Intel 34nm X25-M SSD showed it was marginally faster in traditional application performance tests like PCMark Vantage but was significantly faster in our synthetic tests like IOmeter and ATTO, where it offered performance gains of up to 23%-31% for write-intensive workloads and on the order of about 5% for read-heavy operations.  In general, the new 160GB SSD was faster overall and did so with ever so slightly lower power consumption characteristics.

The introduction of Intel's 34nm second generation X25-M and X18-M series of SSDs is more about efficiency in manufacturing process, which though translates to slightly better performance in this case, more-so contributes to the drastic cost reduction the market has been yearning for from Intel's SSD product offerings.  When we consider the fact that Intel introduced the 80GB drive for $595 and the 160GB drive for $945 a year ago (currently $345 and $665 street prices), at their new price points of $225 and $440 respectively, we have to give Intel a big pat on the back for pulling the ol' Spike Lee move of "doing the right thing".  It's the right thing for the consumer and the market in general, where Intel's new price aggressiveness will set the pace for the competitive landscape as well in the months ahead. In fact, we've already heard rumblings that OEM manufacturers like Indilinx, the manufacturer of the SSD controllers found on OCZ's Vertex line of SSDs, might be levying cost reductions in reaction to Intel's new pricing matrix.  Things are heading in the right direction to be sure and we're hearing most drive manufacturers will be following suit as well.

Looking at the direct competitors like the OCZ Vertex and Corsair SSDs we tested today, the new Intel X25-M stacks up very well in terms of performance and price, making it one of the lower cost SSDs on the market currently at at cost per gigabyte of $2.81 for the 80GB drive and $2.75 for the 160GB drive.  We'll be taking a look at new offerings from OCZ in the weeks ahead and yet another from the red-hot Fusion-io, so stay tuned.  It's going to get really interesting in SSDs straight through the end of '09 -- the year of the SSD.



  • Excellent Performance
  • 34nm NAND Flash
  • Lower Cost Per GB
  • Random Write Performance


  • Price Per GB High In Comparison to Hard Drives
  • Sustained Writes Lower Than Competing Offerings

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