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App Drive: Intel X25-M 160GB SSD

Tom's Hardware's 2009 Gift Guide: Part 1, For System Builders
By

www.intel.com
$599
By: Ed Tittel

Everybody knows that solid state disks run blazing-fast, and that among the fastest in this crowd are the X25-M drives from Intel (see Patrick Schmid’s and Achim Roos’s in-depth review for all of the gory details). Suffice it to say here that Intel’s 10-channel drive controller provides outstanding access and load balancing for the device (limiting overuse of individual memory locations, and speeding up read/write access using an intelligent controller design) with some truly awe-inspiring sequential read/write and I/O numbers.

Average access time is a mind-boggling 0.1 ms, with a staggering 3,500 I/O operations per second for typical database workloads (IOMeter 2003.05.10 at shorter queue depths of up to 16 or so). The file server I/O operations per second stay consistently above 4,000 per second for the same version of IOMeter at all queue depths (normal drives clock under 200 by comparison). The X25-M also outperforms lots of other SSDs, most notably the Samsung SLC-based models. Read/write speeds are equally impressive: just under 200 MB/sec for average read, and about 74 MB/sec for average write speeds (here, the Intel unit more than doubles the Samsung’s read performance, but falls about 15 MB/sec below its write performance, as expected from MLC technology).

You’ll still pay about $600 for the 160GB X25-M drive (half that amount for an 80 GB model). That’s a lot of money for storage, and even an SSD , but what you get in return includes lots of tangible benefits for system users. On all PCs, of course, the X25-M delivers blazing read/write speeds, and outstanding I/O performance overall. That translates into faster boot-up and shutdown (under 30 seconds for either is typical on many XP, Vista, and Windows 7 installations), and also into faster drive operation overall. For real speed freaks, swapping a conventional hard disk, even a WD Raptor or VelociRaptor, will result in noticeably quicker operations, particularly for the system drive. On notebook PCs, users obtain the same speed benefits, but also gain a boost in battery life: average power requirements are anywhere from half to two-thirds that of conventional notebook hard disks while they’re working, and do even better at idle.

It’s hard to think of any single system component that can deliver a more substantial performance boost for an existing system. If you’ve got a speed demon in your household, or want to give your own PC a real leg up, you could do a lot worse than to acquire an Intel X25-M SSD. It’s a real winner.

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    gtvr , November 25, 2009 9:52 AM
    FoShizzle gets the Freudian slip of the day award
  • 22 Hide
    Bluescreendeath , November 25, 2009 5:40 AM
    She would make a far better Christmas present than hardware components... ;) 
  • 21 Hide
    FoShizzleDizzle , November 25, 2009 8:43 AM
    Bet shes likes a good overcocking.
Other Comments
  • -4 Hide
    the_silent_one , November 25, 2009 5:30 AM
    Anytime you mention eyefinity, be sure to mention that ONE MONITOR MUST EITHER BE ON DISPLAYPORT OR ON AN ACTIVE DISPLAYPORT ADAPTER (not just any displayport adapter, but one that uses supplemental power). If people don't know this. They are in for a rude surprise. Also, if using a displayport to hdmi or dvi active adapter for eyefinity, make it the middle monitor.
  • 22 Hide
    Bluescreendeath , November 25, 2009 5:40 AM
    She would make a far better Christmas present than hardware components... ;) 
  • -2 Hide
    dhowie , November 25, 2009 5:52 AM
    I think she should be on the gift guide, I can certainly bet most of us would rather have her then anything on here :) 
  • 9 Hide
    1898 , November 25, 2009 6:09 AM
    Does she come with the retail version of the i7?
  • -7 Hide
    nanotiberium , November 25, 2009 7:08 AM
    I would like she to bring me the gift! :) 
  • 21 Hide
    FoShizzleDizzle , November 25, 2009 8:43 AM
    Bet shes likes a good overcocking.
  • 11 Hide
    FoShizzleDizzle , November 25, 2009 8:43 AM
    overclocking*
  • 23 Hide
    gtvr , November 25, 2009 9:52 AM
    FoShizzle gets the Freudian slip of the day award
  • 5 Hide
    kencolestud69 , November 25, 2009 10:09 AM
    Sarah, you make christmas better for us(tech geeks) each year.
    :p 
  • 15 Hide
    JeanLuc , November 25, 2009 11:36 AM
    1898Obviously I meant to say i5 but seriously, why isn't there an edit button?


    All your posts you make on the feedback page here can been found in the forum. If you want to edit your post here simply go the review comments (found here) forum, find this article and find you post and click on the quick edit button just and make the changes.

  • 4 Hide
    twanto , November 25, 2009 12:08 PM
    I don't understand why you recommend a 1.65v RAM kit at 1600 when you can have 1600 speeds at 1.5v with other kits, for a lower price. G.skill ripjaws, for example.
  • -7 Hide
    zelannii , November 25, 2009 12:20 PM
    The power supply, really, 850w for $179 and it;s only an 80+, not 85+?

    Sure, it's got 6 8pin connectors... but it onl;y has 850w... an 8pin + 6pig GPU, like the 5890 Toms just recently reviewed, can handle 280w. That means 3 of those alone exceeds this PS performance, not even including any other components...

    1: not modular. 2: too many connectors. 3: not 85% + rated. 4: about $40 too high of a price for what it DOES have.
  • 4 Hide
    blacksins , November 25, 2009 12:22 PM
    well, i saw all the pages only because of her!! i actually use toms hardware from long time ago and never registed, i did now only to comment hehe :p 
  • 4 Hide
    JeanLuc , November 25, 2009 12:26 PM
    Why do I get thumbs down vote when all I do is try and help the guy? Some of you are a bit trigger happy.
  • 11 Hide
    bill gates is your daddy , November 25, 2009 12:31 PM
    Is it wrong for me to want to spank her with my keyboard?
  • 3 Hide
    zak_mckraken , November 25, 2009 12:40 PM
    JeanLucAll your posts you make on the feedback page here can been found in the forum. If you want to edit your post here simply go the review comments (found here) forum, find this article and find you post and click on the quick edit button just and make the changes.

    Wow, thanks! Didn't know we could do that. Finally!
  • -3 Hide
    blacksins , November 25, 2009 1:11 PM
    DigitalkrymeWould of been better without the woman in the pics, cant get a good view of the hardware. Besides that my wife is better looking

    WOW! really?!!
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 25, 2009 1:51 PM
    JeanLucAll your posts you make on the feedback page here can been found in the forum. If you want to edit your post here simply go the review comments (found here) forum, find this article and find you post and click on the quick edit button just and make the changes.


    Well golly gosh! That's so convenient. In the next iteration, see if you can add more steps.
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