Intel Introduces New 520 Series Line of SSDs

Intel officially announced its new 520 Series of solid-state drives on Monday, promising its fastest, most robust client/consumer SSD to date. The drive is produced using Intel compute-quality 25-nm NAND memory process technology and connects via an SATA III 6 Gbps interface, delivering world-class performance "even for the most demanding PC enthusiasts."

"Any consumer application requiring high throughput and bandwidth, low latencies and accelerated speed will benefit from the Intel SSD 520," Intel said in a press release. "Software developers, architects, accountants, engineers, musicians, media creators and artists are just some of the professionals that will find that the Intel SSD 520’s full package of features can make a dramatic impact on their productivity. With faster performance for graphic renderings, compiling, data transfers and system boot-ups, users can speed through multi-tasking or once-cumbersome application wait times with an Intel SSD 520 Series."

Intel reports that the series includes capacities from 60 GB to 480 GB, and packs features such as Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256 bit encryption capabilities and stronger password protection for added security in the event of theft or power loss. It also contains an LSI SandForce Flash Storage Processor with an Intel co-defined and validated firmware release.

On a performance level, the 520 Series delivers up to 80,000 maximum 4K random write IOPS and up to 50,000 4K random read IOPS. It also provides sequential read speeds up to 550 MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 520 MB/s. This is backed by thousands of hours of Intel testing and validation, including more than 5,000 individual tests, as well as a 5-year limited warranty, Intel said.

"Our game development workflow involves a combination of large batch process and aggressive interactive pre-visualization, all highly parallelized to the point that the storage performance becomes a major bottleneck,” said id Software's John Carmack. "For many of our workloads, Intel SSDs have doubled throughput, and in some cases involving mapping tens of gigabytes of image data, we have seen an honest order of magnitude performance improvement, which is a rare and wonderful thing."

Based on 1,000 unit quantities, the 60 GB model costs $149 per unit, $229 for the 120 GB version, $369 for the 180 GB version, $509 for the 240 GB version and a meaty $999 for the 480 GB version.

In case you haven't read it yet, check out our review of Intel's latest SSD.

  • iceman1992
    lower the price please :(
  • a4mula
    Sorry if I'm misunderstanding, but after reading this it sounds like Intel is just doing a rebranding of the same SF2281 synchronous nands that are currently powering the Vertex 3, Mushkin Chronos Deluxe and the Patriot version. While I'm sure Intel will offer better support and longer warranties, does it still merit a jump in prices this significant?
  • zaho0006
    a4mula While I'm sure Intel will offer better support and longer warranties, does it still merit a jump in prices this significant?
    Coming from someone who's been dealing with a Sandforce not being found on boot and a few BSODs, I can see where business users would gladly pay for a more tested drive.

    Heck I'm cheap and I'm even considering it next time around.
  • kaisellgren
    The price seems pretty much the same I paid for Vertex 3 Pro one year ago, maybe a few bucks less. Yet there is no real improvement, at least not easily seen after a quick look.
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Been waiting for this series for a long time! Wanted a fast Intel SSD, and now it's here! However, I'll wait for the price to fall a little bit - $149 for 60GB is a rip-off!
  • alidan
    you are paying more because intel made themselves known for reliable drives. if that holds true now... its an extra 40$ for piece of mind... and a 5 year warrenty.
  • I would argue that OWC has pretty good prices for cheaper and has better sustained reads and writes but this Intel SSD looks pretty good.
  • house70
    Still more than $2/GB... WTF? SSDs are not exactly new technology anymore.
  • velocityg4
    I can get the Corsair Force 3 with nearly the same speed specs with great customer reviews.
    - 60GB at $100
    - 120GB at $170
    - 180GB at $250
    - 240GB at $315
    - 480GB at $680

    Sorry Intel I'll stick with other manufacturers that can make high quality and fast products for much lower prices. Though for CPU's I'll stick with Intel unless AMD pulls a rabbit out of their hat like the Athlon 64.
  • shin0bi272
    Great article but it sort of reminds me of the previous article "Does Your Fast SSD Really Need SATA 6Gb/s? " In the end the answer was no but if you have it that's fine. This new SSD reminds me of that scenario. If you already have a sandforce ssd (say a vertex3) there's no reason to get this intel one. However if youve held off on the upgrade to SSD and are dying to get one right now... this new drive adds another brand and model to the ones you should be looking at.