Gone in a Flash - 5 Solid State Drives Compared

Intel X25-M

Intel's Mainstream SSD

We had previously tested Intel's mainstream X25-M SSD in some real-world performance benchmarks, so this is our second look. Of course, the firmware for this unit has been updated to the latest version 8820, which is reported to alleviate the issue of the drive slowing down significantly once it gets heavily loaded.

The Intel X25-M is the company's 'mainstream' variant, which explains why it uses the less expensive MLC NAND flash memory.

The specifications for the X25-M, Intel's first 'mainstream' SSD, have not changed and its read speed of 250MB/s is one of the highest among the SSD drives, more so considering that it is based on MLC flash memory. The secret sauce is chiefly in its in-house firmware and controller, especially since this controller is capable of addressing ten channels of the flash memory at once while making use of Native Command Queuing (NCQ) to let it know ahead what data to grab first (albeit NCQ isn't very critical on SSDs as compared to HDDs).

It should be interesting to see how it fares against some of the newer competitors, considering that its asking price of US$314 retains a significant premium over other brands.

There was a slight dip in the performance a third into the test but the Intel X25-M still gave a very decent read speed of 180MB/s on the average.

Some information about the Intel X25-M.