Intel X25-M 80GB SSD, Intel Ups The Ante

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PCMark Vantage HDD Testing Continued

Our next series of Vantage tests will stress the current major weakness of all SSDs, that being write performance. Applications like video editing, streaming and recording are not what we would call a strong suit for the average SSD, due ot their high mix of random write transactions.  We should also note that it's not so much a weakness of the memory itself, but rather the interface and control algorithms that deal with inherent erase block latency of MLC NAND flash.  SSD manufacturers are getting better at this, but still today, especially with consumer grade SSDs, spinning drives have the edge with respect to write intensive applications over MLC-based Flash drives, but not as much over SLC-type SSDs.

Or so it would seem if you look at the current offerings from other manufacturers.  However, it appears Intel has found a way around this bottleneck.

Futuremark's PCMark Vantage

If you look at the PCMark Vantage white paper, as we mentioned earlier, pages 35 and 36 provide you insight into each of these tests and their specific workloads.  We would offer that the most demanding tests for an SSD would be the Windows Movie Maker test, which measures concurrent drive performance of video editing using Windows Movie Maker with a 53%/47%  read/write ratio, as well as the Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player tests which have 50/50 read/write  and 78%/22% read/write workloads, respectively.  The Windows Media Center test specifically is the most demanding of all the benchmarks for the other drives in our test group, but obviously it was actually a huge strength for the Intel drive.

There is no question, the Intel X25-M MLC-based SSD completely out-classes all other MLC-based product in this test sample and it even ran circles around the expensive SLC-based OCZ drive.  We'll get more into pricing shortly, but the OCZ standard SLC drive currently retails for about $100 more than the Intel MLC-based SSD that also offers an additional 16GB of available storage.

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