From all the Sold State Drives that we’ve reviewed in the past, the Intel X25-M still remains the one to beat and today we take a quick look at the next version of this very drive. Intel is still calling their new drive X25-M and its still available in 80GB and 160GB capacities; however, these [...]
From all the Sold State Drives that we’ve reviewed in the past, the Intel X25-M still remains the one to beat and today we take a quick look at the next version of this very drive. Intel is still calling their new drive X25-M and its still available in 80GB and 160GB capacities; however, these drives are now based on 34nm flash instead of 50nm used in the previous generation. The smaller flash die also translates into cheaper production costs and thus, expect to pay less for the new version than the older version.
Intel will also add TRIM support on these new drives under Windows 7 which will cut down on the amount of data to be deleted- increasing the SSD’s lifespan and allowing it to delete garbage data in advance. It also uses ATA commands to increase the SSD write speeds. Unfortunately, TRIM will not be made available to the older version of X25-M. Our current testbed is Vista and once 7 is released, we will upgrade to it and hopefully, come back to this drive and test TRIM performance.
So lets get started with our usual array of benchmarks based on HD Tach and PCMark Vantage. We’ve compared the new X25-M to its older 50nm brother as well as OCZ and Imation SSDs. Also thrown in is the current fastest standard hard drive- the 300GB Verlociraptor from WD. Lets start with a screenshot of HD Tach performance.
As you can see, the SSD performs fairly consistently around the 220 MB/s which is pretty awesome. Below are its Burst Rates and Average Read compared to the other drives.
The Older X25-M comes ahead in these tests by about 3-4%. Not shown above is CPU utilization which hovered around the 11% mark on both the older and the newer X25-M SSDs- quite a bit higher than your traditional hard drive with 3% CPU utilization. Lets see some PCMark Vantage scores next.
Out of the five tests, the new drives scrores higher on three tests and amongst them, only Video Editing shows a decent improvement of 7%. Application Loading on the older drive shows a pretty BIG difference- 35% faster while Vista Startup is 9% faster on the older drive as well. Looking at these numbers certainly makes me want to get the older drives over the new ones.
However, the older drives will soon disappear from the market and the lower price on these new drives makes them pretty attractive. Regardless, these Intel drives still outpace the competition and if you’re in the market for an SSD, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be looking at an X25-M.