Our Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: The Intel SSD 520 series solid state drive performed very well throughout our entire battery of tests. Of course, we’ve already known for some time that drive’s based on SandForce’s SF-2200 series controllers, when paired to synchronous NAND, are some of the fastest available. For the most part, the Intel SSD 520 performs much like other SandForce SF-2200 based drive’s we’ve tested. In some cases it’s somewhat faster and in others, it trails slightly, but the performance deltas were never very dramatic.
The Intel SSD 520 Series
Intel SSD 520 Series solid state drives should be available very soon from OEMs and retailers. Although we have yet to see any actual street prices, Intel’s has set pricing (in 1K quantities) as follows:
- 60GB - $149
- 120GB - $229
- 180GB - $369
- 240GB - $509
- 480GB - $999
If street prices approach these levels, the Intel SSD 520 series drives will be significantly more expensive than competitive SandForce-based offerings like the OCZ Vertex 3 or Corsair Force GT at similar capacities. For example, a 240GB Corsair Force GT can be had for $375 currently, or roughly $1.56 per GB. If the Intel SSD 520 series arrives priced around $509, its cost per GB would be approximately $2.12. Looking back at the numbers, it’s impossible to justify such a significant price disparity based on performance alone, but we should point out a few things. Despite some hiccups with a few models, Intel’s solid state drives have proven to be some of the most reliable on the market. Intel also put significant effort into tuning and optimizing the firmware on the SSD 520 series to maximize performance, compatibility, and reliability, which is part of the reason why it’s arriving so much later than other SansForce SF-2200 based drives. And Intel is also offering a 5 year warranty, whereas most competitors in the space offer 3 years.
We’ll have to wait and see where street prices settle on the Intel SSD 520 series drives, but based on what we’ve seen in our testing and what we’ve heard from Intel about this drive, we expect them to be very popular. Performance is very good and if Intel’s design choices and firmware customizations results in more reliable drives (time will tell), ultimately its consumers that win.