Spring 2010 Solid State Drive Roundup, Part 1

Intel X25-M G2 (160GB)

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.