Solid State Drives Guide
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The Price is (Not) Right
The SSD market is a very crowded one these days with numerous players, so the new Intel SSD 335 Series has to work hard to distinguish itself and stand out from the crowd. While it uses the now ubiquitous SandForce SF-2281 controller, which isn’t very special these days, the Intel SSD 335 Series benefits from Intel’s reputation for producing very reliable SSDs, thanks to its stringent and extensive validation process. However, that alone may not be enough to cut it in today’s very competitive marketplace.
With that in mind, we turn to the SSD 335 Series’ performance. On a whole, it is pretty impressive for a drive that’s positioned as a mainstream one. As our tests show, apart from its disappointing performance on PCMark Vantage, it is capable of mixing it up with the big boys and is not much slower than the highly-revered SSD 520 Series. It may not be the fastest drive but it is no slowcoach either.
However, where it let us down is its pricing. Since local pricing is not available at the moment, our value conclusions will be based on U.S. pricing.
In the original press kit sent to us by Intel, Intel mentioned that the recommended retail price of the SSD 335 Series would be US$184. However, a quick check around indicates that the SSD 335 Series is retailing closer to US$210 (both Amazon and Newegg lists the drive at US$209.99). This is considerably more expensive than Intel’s RRP and puts it squarely in the sights of high-end enthusiast-grade drives such as the Transcend SATA III SSD720 and SanDisk Extreme. In fact, the OCZ Vertex 4, a fine drive that boasts very fast write performance, retails for lesser at US$199.99 and boasts a 5-year warranty.
Furthermore, Intel’s SSD 520 Series 240GB drive retails for US$239.99, which means that for US$30 more, you get higher quality memory chips with higher P/E cycles and a longer 5-year warranty (the SSD 335 Series only has a 3-year warranty). If you ask us, we would gladly cough up the additional US$30 for the better memory chips and longer warranty.
Because of its high price, the SSD 335 Series finds itself in very tricky waters. Of course, its present high price might be because of scarce supply, so if prices do eventually come down to levels that are closer to Intel’s RRP, then the SSD 335 Series could then be considered a good buy considering its performance and pedigree. However, if prices remain as they are, there are plenty of other fine options around. Given the track record of prices of the Intel SSD 300 series to-date, they haven't really impressed us nor differentiated itself enough from the higher class Intel SSD 500 series.
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