In this post I am going to give a review of the Intel 520 series 180Gb SSD, and invite everyone to give thier own oppinions.
I would like to start by saying that I understand that there are better SSD's out there, cheaper ones too. The OCZ revodrive for instance simply cannot be beaten at this momoent in time in terms of raw performance, but they do come with a hefty price tag. But on the other side of the coin, you can pick up a 120Gb SSD now from OCZ for £70 if you shop around, but the performance isn't as good as other, more expensive drives. In the end it boils down to what YOU want from your drive, storage or performance? If you're a storage person, well done, you will stil have enough money left over after buying your drive to be able to afford the rest of your PC. Personally I am a performance man. I want the absolute best from my system, and will stop at nothing to get it, providing it is within my budget. Which is why I have purchased the Intel 520 180Gb SSD (For an INCREDIBLE price of £145 from Amazon, which os over £200 off!). Anyway, into the review:
Since I am upgrading from an OCZ Agility III 60Gb, I have noticed just a small performance increase, as is expected. Before I got my OCZ, I was booting from a WD Caviar Black 1Tb 7,200Rpm HDD, and had an average boot up time of around 70 seconds. Once I installed my OCZ however, I was astonished to find that this had been almost halved to 40 seconds! This was about 6 months ago now, and I quickly found that 60Gb simply wasn't enough. After installing my intel, I was absolutely amazed to find that my boot up time is now in the region of 15 seconds!!! Upon reaching the desktop, there's no waiting for icons to appear, and no revolving disk where the curser should be. It's just there, waiting to be used. I initially tried open a few programmes and see how quick they opened, and found that I could open multiple windows at once, (Around 25-30) and the Intel would shrug it off and open them all witihn a second. I then tried to do some simple copying within the C Drive to what sort of performance I was getting with write speeds. Bearing in mind that I am running the drive through a SATA III 3Gbps port, I was hitting peaks of 280Mbps! I am sure that with a 6gbps port it would easily hit 500Mbps. I then tried copying from my HDD to my SSD, and had a smaller, but impressive none-the-less result of 160mbps. I then got a bit silly and went on to thry and duplicate my entire music collection, (about 20Gb's worth) within the SSD, and it completed this operation in less than two minutes, without breaking a sweat. I re-installed my OCZ into my system (labeled F drive) and went on to try the same thing and it took over 10 minutes. I think it is safe to say that Intel have most certainly surpassed anyones expectations here.
The SSD itself is of a high quality all-aluminium shell, the sort of 'premium' quality you would expect from an Apple product. Considering once the drive is installed you are unlikely to see it again unless you proudly show it off with some fancy lights, Intel have made this drive aesthetically pleasing indeed. It feels very solid in the hand, as most SSD's are I know, but this one even more so. And considering it is only 7mm thick, that is quite an achievement. Ah yes, the size. Intel have obviously designed this drive to be available to as wide a market as possible, including the new ultrabook market. By simply removing a small plastic frame piece via 4 screws, the drives slims down from 9.5mm to 7mm, meaning that it will fit into any ultrabook. the frame piece is there to bulk it up to 9.5mm to allow it to be fitted to conventional laptops. Very thoughtful Intel, thankyou! But Intel have taken it one step further as well, by providing a 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch tray to mount the drive in to enable you to install the drive into a desktop should you not have any 2.5 inch slots available. Even the tray is of a high quality.
As I mentioned above, Intel have supplied a 2.5inch to 3.5 inch tray, but they have also included lots of other goodies! Upon opening the box, you are greeted with the familliar look of an anti-static bag, within which resides the drive. Lift this out and remove the cardboard seperator, and you find a nestle of handy accessories. you will recieve:
- a molex to SATA power adaptor
- A SATA cable
- a 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch tray
- A drivers disk
Of course this is the standard you come to expect from intel, so it can be easy to overlook the fact tthat they need'nt supply these accessories. You would be hard pushed to find a similarly priced OCZ or Corsair that comes with these items.
I am thouroughly pleased with my purchase, and do not regret it in any way. I advise anyone who is looking to build a new system or upgrade an old one to seriously consider this drive (Or indeed the entire 520 series of drives) especially as the 180Gb version is currently so cheap! I can personally guarantee that unless you already have a decent SSD, you will see an unbelievable change in your PC. And for those like me who want sheer performance, I am sure that a RAID 0 setup would prove to be quite a worthy investment.
Now You have taken the time to read what I have to say, please dont hesitate to share your own experiences and oppinions. But please respect the oppinions of others and refrain from being abusive to others. Thank you all for your time.