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The 3-way foot race: Vertex3 / Intel 510 / Crucial M4

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February 24, 2011 4:13:51 PM


It seems like many of us (myself included) are waiting to see which one to buy.
This is going to get really interesting..

I really like the results of the Vertex3 as reported in HotHardware but it worries
me that Tomshardware gave less impressive results with the furturemark benchmarks.

I hope someone on this forum buys all 3 and posts furturemark benchmarks..

More about : foot race vertex3 intel 510 crucial

a b å Intel
a c 311 G Storage
February 24, 2011 9:52:02 PM

The Intel 510 series is next. I know that two technical reviews will be published as soon as the drives are released on Tuesday, March 1st. In addition, Anand of Anandtech.com mentioned in his OCZ Vertex 3 review that Intel would be his next ssd review so that makes three technical reviews next week.

The OCZ Vertex 3 is definitely a Generation 3 (G3) ssd. It uses a new SandForce SF2281 controller, 25nm NAND, and is SATA III (6 Gb/s) capable.

The Intel 510 is still a Generation 2 (G2) ssd. Although it has SATA III (6 Gb/s) capability it still uses 34nm NAND. Still no word about the controller. Initial reports seemed to indicate Intel would use a Marvel controller. This morning I found 510 ssd's listed at vendor web sites in the UK. The overviews indicated the 510's have an Intel controller. We'll find out next Tuesday.

Consider the 510 as the updated X25 M. Eventually Intel will come out with a Generation 3 (G3) series of ssd's. It won't happen until they work out some technical issues and can mass produce quality 25nm NAND.

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February 24, 2011 11:02:40 PM

The fact that Intel still uses 34nm NAND isn't a criteria IMO, I think it's mostly about controller, then interface (if it make a performance difference). Given the 25nm Vertex 2 "issue", if die shrink isn't accompanied by any additional benefit for the consumer (performance gain, price drop, ...) then who would even give a crap?
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Related resources
February 24, 2011 11:27:37 PM

It looks like there are 2 directions:

1) if you stay with 3Gbs SATA, the Intel X25-M beats the Vertex3 on 3Gbs SATA in the benches I've seen.

2) if you get a HighPoint 620 cards to get 6Gbs, the Vertex3 crushes everything currently available.
(510 and M4 not out yet) But as a downside, you add 10sec to your boot times while the Highpoint
configures itself. (Or so I am told)


JohnnyLucky: Be sure to let us know what you buy..



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February 25, 2011 1:30:50 AM

Checkout the Hot Hardware review where CrystalDiskMark had to be stopped on
the Vertex3 when on 3Gbs SATA as its performance went to near zero. Hmm...
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February 25, 2011 4:00:59 PM

Zenthar said:
The fact that Intel still uses 34nm NAND isn't a criteria IMO
IMHO it is, although in the opposite way you might expect. The larger cell size means a more reliable, longer-lasting cell. Intel won't have to go through quite as many hoops with it's controller as the 25nm manufacturers in order to make its drive perform well and have good write endurance. The only downside to the larger cells is a higher cost per byte.
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February 25, 2011 4:06:11 PM

Larger 34nm NAND is better/faster for consumers, less profit for manufactures.
I'll take the 34nm NAND..
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February 25, 2011 10:05:35 PM

Vendor have placed orders for the new Crucial C400 ssd's. They expect to receive them in 3 to 4 weeks. They'll have to wait for Crucial to release them. That means they probably will not be available until the latter part of March.

The new C400 have 25nm NAND which normally means a performance hit but the new controllers and improvements in other components are expected to result in a 20% increase in performance over the equivalent C300 drives. I'm not sure what that means for real life programs and applications.

This morning Patriot announced new ssd's with new SandForce 2100 series controllers but they won't be available for another 3 maybe 4 months.
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February 25, 2011 10:22:08 PM

If 34nm is always faster than 25nm, imagine what the Vertex3 could do if they hadn't
used 25nm. The new 34nm Intel 510 just might blow everything away.. (Plus last longer)
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February 26, 2011 9:51:58 PM

I am also following this closely, I have all the parts for my build selected, I still need to make some final choices but essentially I am waiting for 2 things:
1. P67 Mobos ( preferably asus, i think)
2. New wave of SSD.

I've been waiting for so long for this build, ( over 6 months , was waiting for sandy bridge ) and i cant wait to get it done. I probably wont wait for all 3 drives to come out, i believe intel 510 and vertex3 are the ones that will be available for purchase the soonest, therefore ill pick the best of the 2, or the one thats available first if this drags on for too long.

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February 27, 2011 12:43:24 AM

Intel will be out Tuesday.. OCZ and Crucial are rumored to be 1st week of April.
Intel beats by 1 month. I am 75% sure I will buy the 510. I have to see the
review against the Vertex3 first..
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February 27, 2011 12:51:48 AM

Tom92602 said:
If 34nm is always faster than 25nm, imagine what the Vertex3 could do if they hadn't
used 25nm. The new 34nm Intel 510 just might blow everything away.. (Plus last longer)
The problem is that the consumer market is extremely price-sensitive, and you can cram almost twice as many memory cells onto a chip of the same cost using the smaller lithography. So manufacturers are going to keep driving cell sizes down until it's impractical to add enough spare area, buffer RAM and wear-leveling algorithms to circumvent the issues. The big question in my mind is what the marketplace is willing to accept in terms of reduced write endurance before they cry "enough!"
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February 27, 2011 11:00:41 AM

Best Answer sminlsl
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February 27, 2011 6:23:11 PM

Here's some early Intel 510 benchmarks from China.

Looks like 432MB Read / 210 MB Write but the 4k Random reads are 20% less than the X25-M.. :pfff: 
(4K random reads is the most important spec) And the read access time is 4x longer than X25-M's .05ms






I was anxious to buy an Intel, but if there figures are right, the Vertex3 smokes it. (Even in access time and 4k random reads)
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February 28, 2011 12:12:43 AM

what the heck, soooo the 510 are less good ?

Also, why is the 4k random read the most important spec ?
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February 28, 2011 12:23:05 AM

The fastest 4k random read scores yield the fastest OS function.
Also the vast majority of operations performed while you use your
computer involve small random file reads. The faster the 4k reads,
the snappier your SDD will feel.
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March 1, 2011 1:49:34 AM

Full review:
http://www.storagereview.com/intel_ssd_510_review_250gb

As I suspected, Random 4k reads are a disappointment.

It looks like I am 90% leaning towards the Vertex3.
The Crucial M4 Needs to be released soon or I will "make do" with
the $250 120GB Vertex3 as soon as it becomes available.
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March 1, 2011 2:55:15 AM

Just read the review. I kind of figured the Intel 510 would not perform like the OCZ Vertex 3. I've mentioned in other threads that the 510 is still a Generation 2 (G2) ssd. It appears to be the equivalent of the updated X-25 previously mentioned by Intel. I think Intel called it the "Pottsville Refresh" or something like that.
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March 1, 2011 12:25:57 PM

The Intel 510 is really nothing like the Intel Gen2 drives because it uses a Marvell controller instead of Intel's own controller.
The controller is everything. The 510 is now more like a Crucial SSD than the older Intel X25-M Gen2 drives.
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March 1, 2011 1:48:46 PM

so when exactly will the vertex 3 be available for purchase ? It sucks that intel is not making their own controller anymore...

Also, is the vertex 3 capped ? Some SF2000 controllers have some sort of cap on them, I wonder if the "preview" models sent for review have been purposedly tweaked to remove the cap, just to give impressive reviews... but if there is a cap, is the vertex 3 still better than the intel 510 ?
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March 1, 2011 4:15:42 PM

Intel 510 lands on newegg for $315 + $6 shipping. That's $321 for a drive that
loses out to the Vertex3 on performance. Intel over-priced this drive. I'll wait for the $250 Vertex3.

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March 1, 2011 6:29:10 PM

Just read a second 510 review. It confirms findings of the first review.
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March 1, 2011 8:40:45 PM

I have always maintained that the Intel 510 solid state drives were Generation 2 (G2) and not Generation 3 (G3) drives. The specifications and the technical reviews bear me out.

Intel will release their new 320 Series, 25nm NAND, Generation 3 (G3) solid state drives about the middle of next month. Here's a link to the information:

http://vr-zone.com/articles/intel-solid-state-drive-320...


•250MB/sec read, 170MB/sec write
•Up to 50K and 40K IOPS for random 4KB read and write respectively
•30TB to 60TB worth of 4KB random writes

No indication which model the specs are for.
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March 2, 2011 12:31:50 AM

My decision has come down to the Intel 120gb X25-M or the 120GB Vertex3.

My faith in OCZ's reliability is low after reading all the NewEgg reviews.
You just don't read about Intel SSD failures like you do with OCZ on NewEgg.

I guess my current 1st choice is the 120gb X25-M when the price is $160
and no rebate hassles.
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March 2, 2011 1:06:40 AM

One of the Shell Shocker deals today at Newegg today had the Intel 120GB X25-M ssd for $176 after mail in rebate. I came very very close to purchasing one.

As for OCZ, I don't know if you've seen some of the other posts or read the report about ssd failure/return rate. According to a survey last year OCZ had the worst failure/return rate and Intel had the best. I've been around for a few years and I still remember what happened about 5 years ago when OCZ acquired PC Power & Cooling. PCP&C had some of the best power supplies available until OCZ took over. There's been more stuff since then.
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March 2, 2011 1:18:16 AM

Yes I saw the newegg deal earlier but I hate those rebates. So often you don't
get paid and its a hassle to boot. I've pretty much made up my mind to get the
Intel 120GB X25-M, I just need to wait for a good sale price that doesn't have
the rebate hassle.

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March 2, 2011 4:10:36 AM

jhonny,which ssd would u recommend out of everything on the market right now? i need to buy soon... all im waiting for is the new p67 revised b3 steppings to become available, i expect this to be sometime within march... i still am not sure which ssd to choose, obviously the vertex 3 seems VERY tempting, if it wasnt for reliability concern that were raised... i wonder what "worst failure/return" means in terms of percentage and what is the difference with the "best" (intel) ... the hard drive should be one of those computer component that require the most reliability, everything else can be replaced, but not necessarely loss data.

on the other hand it sucks to get an old generation, when you know how much faster the next one is...
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March 2, 2011 6:52:09 AM

I'm following this closely too. I'm getting a P67 board as soon as I can, and need a nice SATA III disk for it :) 
I would have loved for Intel's disk to have been a little better. But I still think I'll go with it. It should still be faster than most of the current SATA II / SATA III drives out there, and stability is key (at least to me).
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March 2, 2011 7:12:27 AM

The P67 motherboards are equipped with SATA III (6 Gb/s) ports.

Here is a link to all of the SATA III (6 Gb/s) ssd's at newegg:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

As you can see the choices are Crucial C300, Intel 510, and Corsair Performance 3.

The Intel 510 ssd's did not meet consumer expections and they are expensive.

The Corsair Performance 3 ssd's are even more expensive than the Intel 510 .

The OCZ Vertex 3 ssd's are not yet available. Neither are the Crucial C400 ssd's.

That leaves Crucial C300 ssd's. Right now Crucial would seem to be the logical choice, especially if price is an issue. Sometimes Newegg has very good sale prices.

Here is a link to the original article about drive failure/return rates that was published in France:

http://www.hardware.fr/articles/810-6/taux-pannes-compo...

Here is a link to an English Language Translation:

http://forums.storagereview.com/index.php/topic/29329-s...
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March 2, 2011 12:35:13 PM

I always look at PCMark Vantage tests only. They are the only tests which prove
how the drive will perform in real life. In these tests; Startup, Gaming, App loading,
and Windows Defender are the most important. I make all my decisions based upon
these 4 "real life" tests.

In these 4 tests exclusively, The Intel X-25M 120GB (this model only) seems to beat
the C300 64GB. Especially once the drive is in "used state". (Look at Tomshardware
charts and elsewhere) I am guessing from the test reports that I have read that the
Intel X-25M 120GB will beat the Intel 510 in these 4 tests also.

The new Crucial M4 (was to be called C400 but the model name has changed) is not
out yet and probably won't beat either the Vertex3 nor Intel X-25M 120GB because
it uses the same Mavell chip as the Intel 510.

Both the The Intel X-25M 120GB and the 2nd gen Vertex2 Sandforce beat the new
Corsair P3 (Gen3) SSDs in these 4 PCMark tests so this shows you that some Gen3
SSDs are outperformed by the best Gen2 drives. Its not all about Gen3.

The OCZ Vertex3 *IS* the runway champ and only $250 when released but I will
not buy one due to the companies reputation for high failure rates.

I do not know how the new Crucial M4 will do but based on the above logic I like
the price and performance of the X-25M 120GB.

Real life performance is all about access time not high sequential reads/writes.
Let PC Mark be your guide and don't be drawn in by newer drives that boast high
sequential reads/writes. (High sequential reads/writes is what SATA 6Gps gives you)

End result:
1. The OCZ Vertex3 *IS* king of performance if you want to roll the dice on reliability. (Great price too)
2. Intel X-25M 120GB is the 2nd best performing SSD right now. (and the most reliable)
3. Wait to see if the new Crucial M4 beats the Intel X25-M 120GB in PCMark scores. (And I doubt it since it uses the same Mavell chip as the Intel 510)
4. I would not consider the Crucial C300 nor the Corsair P3 drives at all.

It's simple.. Pick #1 or #2.. I keep waffling between Vertex3 and Intel X-25M 120GB myself.

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March 2, 2011 2:30:52 PM

This review uses a different PCMark set but even the review agrees that PCMark is the most realistic test assessment.

His Quote:
Next up is PCMark Vantage, another system-wide performance suite. For those of you who aren’t familiar with
PCMark Vantage, it ends up being the most real-world-like hard drive test I can come up with.


In this set of PCMark tests; Productivity, Gaming, and HDD Suite matter the most. The X-25M 160 beats the 510
in Productivity, Gaming, and ties in the HDD Suite. Productivity seems to be the most important test and notice the
pecking order:

1. Vertex3
2. Sandforce Gen2 drives
3. Intel X25-M 160GB Gen2 drive

In my eyes, for the tests that matter, the Intel 510 is a huge disappointment.
Intel's Gen2 120Gb seems to perform a hair better than the Intel 510 for how I want to use it and for about 1/2 the price.

I think Anand was overly kind in his conclusions regarding the 510.
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a b å Intel
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March 2, 2011 5:44:23 PM

JohnnyLucky said:
Anand published his detail review of the 510.
Very interesting to see the table of SSD failure rates by manufacturer. It warms my heart to see that Intel was so far ahead of the pack on that, because my decision to buy an Intel X-25M G2 drive was in no small way influenced by the belief that Intel (who had been in the SSD game for a while already) probably had the best quality product. It pains me to see them going to a 3rd-party controller because of that. I'm not as interested in buying the very fastest product as I am in buying one that I feel is rock-solid, and justified or not the Marvell controller casts some doubts on Intel's drive for me.
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March 2, 2011 7:28:26 PM

I've got a question for you SSD gurus out there.

In the reviews of last generation SSD's, Random Access Time was mentioned a lot. As I understood it, this was largely accountable for the way a drive instantly responds and feels. I don't see that anymore... is this similar or directly related to Random Read speeds?

Basically, I'd prefer the "snappiest" drive. Larger file transfer speeds interest me, but definitely come second.
Intel's G2 had the lowest Random Access Time of it's competitors when it was released... and I was hoping Intel's newest drive would mimic that. Just making sure I'm not overlooking something when I assume the V3 takes the crown in this area (along with all the other areas, except reliability).
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March 2, 2011 8:06:59 PM

Hmmm not a guru but I can say we used to hold up the intel g2 drives for IOPS which is random 4k reads. Necessarily access time plays the largest factor as the drive has to randomly access information from many spots.

As is mentioned in Anands review intel seems to have completely flip flopped their order of importance and their iops actually dropped from the G2 model to this 510. Now they have Sata III sequential read and write but terrible.. Random Access Time.

SSDs access information in less than 0.1 ms whereas the fastest HDDs access in 4ish ms. That's 40 times slower. So in the beginning this was the big feature. Most SSDs access more than 100 times faster than most HDDs. But SSD to SSD comparisons gravitated to read/write speeds and IOPS.


I think.
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March 2, 2011 9:12:11 PM

adampower said:
Hmmm not a guru but I can say we used to hold up the intel g2 drives for IOPS which is random 4k reads. Necessarily access time plays the largest factor as the drive has to randomly access information from many spots.

As is mentioned in Anands review intel seems to have completely flip flopped their order of importance and their iops actually dropped from the G2 model to this 510. Now they have Sata III sequential read and write but terrible.. Random Access Time.

SSDs access information in less than 0.1 ms whereas the fastest HDDs access in 4ish ms. That's 40 times slower. So in the beginning this was the big feature. Most SSDs access more than 100 times faster than most HDDs. But SSD to SSD comparisons gravitated to read/write speeds and IOPS.


I think.


Thanks.

So pretty much... Random Access times are so small, the differences are almost negligible when comparing SSD's. From an HDD's access time to an SSD's access time would be noticeable, but from .1 to .09 I won't be able to tell the difference. Throughput is where the focus is.

V3 is looking real nice =].
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March 2, 2011 10:14:21 PM

I think its safe to say that for "real life" usage, the Intel X25-M 120GB outperforms the Intel 510.

The Sandforce Gen2 are on par or slightly faster than the X25-M 120GB but:
1. Their performance degrades fast when the drive is in "used state".
2. They are not as reliable as Intel. No Way-No How..

The Vertex3 smokes everything for "real life" usage.

I am back to pondering: buy the Vertex3 next month OR get the Intel X25-M 120GB now.
I really think these are the 2 best options. I keep coming back to the Intel X25-M 120GB
having better reliability than OCZ and being the safer bet. But until I see a great price
on the Intel that does not require a rebate, I continue to ponder these 2 choices and these
2 choices alone..
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March 2, 2011 11:15:09 PM

If you wait until next month, then you will probably go around in circles over the new Crucial C400.
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March 2, 2011 11:22:22 PM

I think either the Vertex3 OR Intel X25-M 120GB will be great choices.
I am sure I will have purchased one of these before the Crucial M4 comes out.

I will probably get the Intel X25-M 120GB. Just need to wait for a sale..
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March 3, 2011 12:00:16 AM

According to this review http://www.storagereview.com/intel_ssd_510_review_250gb
the RealSSD C300 has the BEST random 4k iops, BEST 4k random MB/s and BEST (Lowest) Maximum 4k write latency ...

Therefore, shouldnt the realssd c300 be the best drive in terms of real world performance ? For computer responsiveness, booting windows etc...

In the other benchmark the c300 is consistently in the average or top 3 performer. It is almost always better than the Intel X25-M ...

The only problem is that like most reviews, they use the 256gb drive, which is too expensive, can we assume that the 128gb would perform similarly compared to other drives of the same capacity ( vertez 3 120gb, intel 510 120 gb etc )

To me the c300 looks pretty good, it doesnt have the legendary intel reliability, but it is not as bad as OCZ, it uses sata 3 and has decent speed in general and the bests in the benchmark that matter the most....

The c300 therefore is very tempting to me right now, what do you guys think ?

Also, this leads me to another very important point... the c300 uses the Marvell 88SS9174 BJP2 ... There is a newer marvell controller out it is used in the Corsair Performance 3 series, the Marvell 88SS9174-BKK2, however there is very little benchmark of the Corsair P3, I wonder if the P3 is just simply better than the c300 ...
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a b G Storage
March 3, 2011 2:24:45 AM

Go v3.

I am extremely disappointed in ocz over their ongoing problems but most especially sneaking 25nm nand into the v2 is just unacceptable. The drive had a great reputation built on 34nm nand and I think it is criminal to sell that reputed drive with different hardware inside without mentioning it. Even if they knew for sure that it would work.

There should be more sandforce 2000 drives coming somewhere, sometime, and maybe a person could wait but for the time being there really is no good competition for the v3.
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March 3, 2011 12:03:03 PM

c300?

Random reads (iops) faster than v3? See anand's update here.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4204/correction-ocz-verte...

Maybe the old 34nm c300 shouldn't be discounted. Do you plan on pushing 500MB/s to your v3 so that it needs to do a sequential write at that speed? No. 100MB/s if good for today. 150MB/s will keep it good for my seeable future. I don't really believe in future proofing unless the future need is clear.
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March 3, 2011 4:01:06 PM

I have read one professional review of the p3 corsair SSD.

It did not look good IMO. The c300 trounces it in 4k read and write speeds.

Therefore, if I were you I would either wait for the c400, or get a c300.

If it were me, I wouldn't wait. I would just get the c300.



louno said:
According to this review http://www.storagereview.com/intel_ssd_510_review_250gb
the RealSSD C300 has the BEST random 4k iops, BEST 4k random MB/s and BEST (Lowest) Maximum 4k write latency ...

Therefore, shouldnt the realssd c300 be the best drive in terms of real world performance ? For computer responsiveness, booting windows etc...

In the other benchmark the c300 is consistently in the average or top 3 performer. It is almost always better than the Intel X25-M ...

The only problem is that like most reviews, they use the 256gb drive, which is too expensive, can we assume that the 128gb would perform similarly compared to other drives of the same capacity ( vertez 3 120gb, intel 510 120 gb etc )

To me the c300 looks pretty good, it doesnt have the legendary intel reliability, but it is not as bad as OCZ, it uses sata 3 and has decent speed in general and the bests in the benchmark that matter the most....

The c300 therefore is very tempting to me right now, what do you guys think ?

Also, this leads me to another very important point... the c300 uses the Marvell 88SS9174 BJP2 ... There is a newer marvell controller out it is used in the Corsair Performance 3 series, the Marvell 88SS9174-BKK2, however there is very little benchmark of the Corsair P3, I wonder if the P3 is just simply better than the c300 ...

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March 3, 2011 5:32:56 PM

doesnt the crucial c400 / m4 have the same controller has the intel 510 ( which also has the same controller as the corsair p3 ) ... ???

therefore no point in waiting ?

Also, isnt it weird that the latest marvell controller ( C400, Intel 510, Corsair P3 ) is weaker than the older one ( C300 ) ????

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a b G Storage
March 3, 2011 5:59:06 PM

I don't know if weaker is the word for it.

Oriented towards sequential speeds rather than small random reads and writes is the way I would put it.
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March 4, 2011 3:16:39 AM

Firmware is far more important. C400 could easily be better than C300. Even current C300 owners will attest to significant performance swings between firmware updates. The marvells are a generic solution, manufacturers get a chip and have to write their own garbage collection and controller algorithms. My impression is that sandforce drives are pretty standard, and the manufacturers actually buy a particular firmware/feature set (e.g. 2281) to slap on them. See Anand's Vertex 3 reviews for details on this. So basically one sandforce based will be like the next unless a particular vendor shells out for better firmware from sandforce (and likely charges for it as well). The Marvell's are all up to the manufacturer.
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March 8, 2011 11:05:42 PM

It's been kinda quiet..
Anyone have any news on when the Vertex3 or Crucial M4 will be available?

Vertex3 is the one to beat, but if the Intel X25-M 120GB gets down to $160-$170
(without a stupid rebate) I'm buyin it instead..
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March 8, 2011 11:38:06 PM

Well, I havent seen em... I am waiting for the asus p8p67 mobos (with the sata revision ) to become available, once they are in stock, ill order my whole rig and i'll probably get the RealSSD C300 which is KING in 4k random read, and is not too far from intel 510 in all other bench. Plus it has 32nm, thus longer life span, and it has been out for a while so its firmware should be well developped by now ( the newer drive will undoubtly come out with firmware updates and those can be risky ) ...

Correct me if im wrong but the Crucial RealSSD is the drive that should result in the most real world performance / responsiveness increase.

I find that sequential read/write is sort of irrelevant for SSD of 120gb... these arent drive you will be transfering large files too, you install apps on it and just run them, no space for storage...
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March 9, 2011 12:52:45 AM

It's not official but it appears as if Crucial and OCZ will probably release their new ssd's later this month - sometime around the 21st.
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