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Intel SSD 525 Review: Five mSATA Drives, From 30 To 240 GB

Results: Comparative 4 KB Random Performance

While desktop hard drives tend to be faster than 2.5" disks, you aren't inherently penalized by mSATA compared to larger SSDs. The 240 GB SSD 525 is proof of that. Compared to some of the 2.5" competition, it does really well (this despite its older controller). Fast flash and the newer LLKi firmware help keep the SSD 525 out of the slow lane. 

Random 4 KB Read Performance

Although we're helping it along with compressible data, the 240 GB SSD 525 ranks next-to-last, besting only Crucial's m4. The 4 KB random read potential of newer drives is staggering; the top contenders approach 100,000 IOPS. Intel's flagship approaches 250 MB/s at QD32, but performance at lower queue depths is definitely more important in client environments. The field is significantly closer together with fewer stacked commands.

Random 4 KB Write Performance

The newer Samsung drives and OCZ's Vector do some serious damage with 4 KB writes fresh out-of-the-box. Consumer drives tend to deliver great results when they're clean, but seldom hold up well over time under enterprise workloads. Thankfully, most desktop users are pretty gentle, so SSDs running under TRIM-enabled operating systems should stay closer to the manufacturer specifications. 

Samsung's 840 120 GB doesn't make it past 140 MB/s, but the 250 GB version is locked in a dead heat with the SSD 525 when we use incompressible data. Hitting 250 MB/s isn't too shabby for a random data workload. However, when we swap over to compressible information, the SSD 525 matches the high-end 840 Pro and Vector.