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Intel X25-M G2 (160GB)

Spring 2010 Solid State Drive Roundup, Part 1
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Intel's second-generation version of the X25-M is based on 34nm MLC flash memory, proving itself to be fast and reliable with only one drawback: it’s write performance is limited to 104 MB/s. Although this is still much faster than a 2.5” hard drive’s write speed, there are other drive architectures able to exceed 200 MB/s on writes. Still, Intel has been the best performer on I/O performance, delivering just over twice as many I/O operations per second (IOPS) as the competition.

Intel’s X25-M is available in 80GB and 160GB capacities. Even more storage space is expected in the next product generation. Intel includes a management utility for this SSD called SSD Toolbox that provides diagnostics and TRIM management. Intel also offers 1.8” models that are as fast as the 2.5” drives, but much smaller and lighter.

The drive's power consumption is a mixed bag. While the X25-M G2 ties with Toshiba's HG2 for the lowest idle power (less than 0.1W), it has the highest power requirements during sequential reads (1.8W). Workstation I/O requires 1.5W while HD video playback draws only 0.2W. Clearly, the high I/O performance comes at the expense of power consumption. Desktop-type workloads will probably realize very low power consumption, yet Toshiba dips down even lower.

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  • 36 Hide
    nathanlh , April 7, 2010 6:56 AM
    Quoting the article:
    "Finally, we found Corsair's power requirement a bit too high. Drawing 0.4W at idle is four times more than Intel and Toshiba require."
    Really????
    Oh NO! 0.4 Watts, that's crazy mad power there! I looked back at article titled "Efficiency Explored: Core i7-980X Versus Core i7-975" and found that test system had an idle system power draw of 99 watts and 101 watts. If we split the difference and call it 100 Watts, then 0.4 watts would be roughly 0.4% of total power. When you start with a number that's really small like 0.1 watts and then you quadruple it, YOU STILL HAVE A NUMBER THAT IS REALLY SMALL! More importantly, you're dealing with a number that is trivial in comparison to the overall system power. I found the charts under "Benchmark Results: Power Consumption And Efficiency" equally silly. Charts for performance to cost ratios would be far more useful.
  • 21 Hide
    tacoslave , April 7, 2010 7:39 AM
    you should put a hardrive as a baseline.
  • 21 Hide
    Tridec , April 7, 2010 6:49 AM
    I don't understand why so much emphasis is placed on power consumption when the diffrences are so little? It's not like there is a 50W difference, we're talking about 0,1 W and 3,0 W. It would have been more interesting if you would have used a laptop and checked if the power consumption hurt battery life, but I highly doubt the diffrence would be very noticeable.

    Still a good review for people who are considering a SSD.
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    shubham1401 , April 7, 2010 6:24 AM
    These drives are awesome.

    But we need them to be a bit more affordable :) 
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , April 7, 2010 6:28 AM
    Why use crappy controller which only works for sequential reads and fails behind Intel controller for everything else???
  • 21 Hide
    Tridec , April 7, 2010 6:49 AM
    I don't understand why so much emphasis is placed on power consumption when the diffrences are so little? It's not like there is a 50W difference, we're talking about 0,1 W and 3,0 W. It would have been more interesting if you would have used a laptop and checked if the power consumption hurt battery life, but I highly doubt the diffrence would be very noticeable.

    Still a good review for people who are considering a SSD.
  • 17 Hide
    RazberyBandit , April 7, 2010 6:50 AM
    With the plethora of SSD's out there, you picked 5, including 2 North Americans can't even get, and you called it your "Spring Roundup?"

    Come on...
  • 5 Hide
    thomberg , April 7, 2010 6:54 AM
    Read access time including rotational latency? :-)
  • 36 Hide
    nathanlh , April 7, 2010 6:56 AM
    Quoting the article:
    "Finally, we found Corsair's power requirement a bit too high. Drawing 0.4W at idle is four times more than Intel and Toshiba require."
    Really????
    Oh NO! 0.4 Watts, that's crazy mad power there! I looked back at article titled "Efficiency Explored: Core i7-980X Versus Core i7-975" and found that test system had an idle system power draw of 99 watts and 101 watts. If we split the difference and call it 100 Watts, then 0.4 watts would be roughly 0.4% of total power. When you start with a number that's really small like 0.1 watts and then you quadruple it, YOU STILL HAVE A NUMBER THAT IS REALLY SMALL! More importantly, you're dealing with a number that is trivial in comparison to the overall system power. I found the charts under "Benchmark Results: Power Consumption And Efficiency" equally silly. Charts for performance to cost ratios would be far more useful.
  • 14 Hide
    jsowoc , April 7, 2010 7:32 AM
    I realise that this is "Part 1"... implying that there will be a "Part 2" :-)

    Could you add a Kingston V-Series drive and/or an Intel X-25V to "Part 2"? They are one of the cheapest SSDs ($/GB) available in North America, and sound like a good deal "on paper". How do they stack up against these (more expensive) drives?
  • 21 Hide
    tacoslave , April 7, 2010 7:39 AM
    you should put a hardrive as a baseline.
  • 5 Hide
    mafj , April 7, 2010 7:42 AM
    Great you did not hold this half of the article until testing the other drives. Still there was a big gap since the previous SSD benchmarks roundups and I have managed to buy an SSD drive in the meantime with little clue whether I was making a good choice. Now, what a relief I went for Intel.

    Note: I have got X-25M 80GB as well as 160GB. The performance difference in writing is quite big. Could you add a smaller drives to the round-up as well?
  • 10 Hide
    JeanLuc , April 7, 2010 8:34 AM

    Patrick Schmid and Achim Roos
    Intel’s X25-M owns read throughput.


    Lost in translation or is your definition of 'owned' different from everyone else's? I could swear your graph shows the Intel drive only 2% faster then Indilinx drives.
  • 5 Hide
    lukeskywalker , April 7, 2010 8:45 AM
    Yeah, I would like to see a middle-of-the-road HDD in there to get some perspective, particularly on how bad bad actually is compared to my rig.

    And on the power front, I completely agree. Splitting hairs. I see Flash adverts on this site burning 30W (x 1million viewers).
  • 6 Hide
    bodyknight , April 7, 2010 8:56 AM
    You gave access time values with four significant figures, but it's clear that only the first one or two had been measured.
    And you are talking about power efficiency with numbers like 0.something watts.
    There are a few things in this article that have no sense.
  • 3 Hide
    DavC , April 7, 2010 8:56 AM
    I dont understand the big deal with power consumption. you seem to have a massive emphasis on it. Ok, it plays a small part in laptops, but is completely insignificant on a desktop PC. I mean, who cares if your whole computer system is pulling 271watts or 273watts? Yes, i can understand the point with CPUs as there is a reasonable difference there, but even if you have two SSDs and one uses 300% more power than another, it only boils down to a couple of watts.

    Still, good article. looking forward to the next part. I'm still in the market for my first SSD, and they are still a bit more than i would like to pay at the moment. Hopefully it will become a regular feature on Toms, like the regular graphics card line-up.

    Maybe you could do a seperate article about making full use of the "budget" line of SSDs. you know, the 30-60gb drives, how they handle in a gaming machine and the best way to set up with part of the system stored on a bigger HDD. after all you cant get a full windows install and a couple of games into 30gb without a squeeze.
  • -1 Hide
    milosz , April 7, 2010 9:26 AM
    I've got three Intel X25-M G2 80 GB drives in RAID 0 on an Adaptec 5408 raid card, and I get NOWHERE NEAR these numbers. My partition is aligned, etc etc. I really wonder about these numbers reported here.
  • 3 Hide
    sseyler , April 7, 2010 9:48 AM
    I would have very much liked to see the Crucial C300 128GB/256GB, the OCZ Vertex LE 100GB/200GB, and the OWC Mercury 50GB/100GB in this comparison.

    I guess this was just a budget round-up?
  • 9 Hide
    dirtmountain , April 7, 2010 11:07 AM
    You list "power consumption" as one of the 3 things that matter most? You were kidding about that weren't you? Is this an April 1st article?
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 7, 2010 11:52 AM
    milosz... I seem to remember smaller intel drives having way less throughput (half the chips to "distribute" the data onto...)
  • 1 Hide
    jonpaul37 , April 7, 2010 12:22 PM
    shubham1401These drives are awesome.But we need them to be a bit more affordable


    %100 agreed, i still don't understand why they are priced so high..., if they were actually affordable, they would actually sell more than double of what they're selling now... I want one, but not that bad where i have to shell out mad $$$, ALL of my friends & co-workers feel the same way.
  • -2 Hide
    schwizer , April 7, 2010 12:58 PM
    Quote:
    Access Time [t in ms]


    WTB proofreading unless those SSDs have a 80ms access time.
  • 3 Hide
    cknobman , April 7, 2010 1:11 PM
    Part 2 needs to have some drives with the Sandforce controller.
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