Intel 240GB Series 520 SSD Review

By on March 7, 2012
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Return of the king?

Good: As fast as any SandForce SATA III SSD, Intel SSD Toolbox allows for easy management and firmware update, Intel fixed SF-2281 bugs
Bad: Slight price premium over other SandForce SSDs due to superior firmware and better reliability
Price: AED 1,700
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.


Access Speeds & Load Times

I have used ATTO Disk Benchmark to get the sequential read and write speeds, while the burst speed was measured using HD Tach. The Random 4K speeds were tested using Crystal DiskMark.

For the Windows 7 boot time, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit on these hard drives, with just the basic drivers installed for the motherboard and graphics card. No antivirus or any other applications were installed since any programs installed by users are arbitrary and will change startup time. The time measured in seconds below is after POST (when the ‘Starting Windows’ logo appears) till the time I see the desktop and mouse.


So what we have from the Intel 520 series SSD is performance which is pretty much on par with the industry standard for SF-2281 controlled drives. Of course the OCZ RevoDrive gets an unfair advantage for sequential read and write speeds due to its PCIe interface, but in real world performance, the Cherryville is just as competent as any other SSD out there.

So why the Intel 520 series SSD over the competition? Well, for one, you have a promise by Intel that the firmware for their  520 series drive has all the bugs of the SandForce controller fixed. No more random crashes and drive failures, all your data will be safe. So if you have used Intel drives in the past and are willing to accept their word for it, the Intel 520 series, despite it’s small price premium, is well worth it. Otherwise Kingston, OCZ, Kingmax, etc. offer the same performance a a lower price point. Needless to say that all of these drives also have the firmware upgrade from SandForce directly that fixes most of the SF-2281 issues out there. It’s all a matter of brand loyalty in the end.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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