Intel 160GB X25-M SSD

When Intel launched its first generation X25-M SSDs last year, they were a hit with performance seekers. Flash forward to present day and the company has launched its second generation SSD drives under the same model numbers

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Intel 160GB X25-M SSD
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  September 8, 2009

Ratings Breakdown

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Key Specs

Capacity: 160GB
Data transfer rate: 250MB/sec
Form factor: 2.5-inch
Interface: Serial ATA
Price: $440

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When Intel launched its first generation X25-M SSDs last year, they were a hit with performance seekers thanks to their awesome performance. Flash forward to present day and the company has launched its second generation SSD drives under the same model numbers.

As a result you'll need to look at the SSD's model number to determine whether a drive is first generation or second generation. The original 2.5-inch X25-M 160GB SSD had the model number SSDSA2M160G1GC whereas our newer test sample has the model number SSDSA2M160G2GC. The third and fourth last characters ‘G2' signify a newer drive.

Beyond the identical model names the two SSDs differ quite a bit; whereas the memory used by the older drives was produced using a 50nm fabrication process, the newer SSD uses 34nm chips. This shrink allows Intel to pack more memory allowing for larger capacities while also reducing manufacturing costs. Our second generation 160GB test sample costs US $440 compared to almost US $700 (at launch) for the first generation 160GB drive. The newer SSD memory boasts improved flash read and write latencies of 65 and 85 microseconds versus 85 and 115 and also offers faster random 4KB write speeds of 8.6K IOPS (on the 160GB drives) versus 3.3K.

On the performance front we expected these improvements would show only a slight performance improvement and when it came to actual benchmarks, our theories were proved right. Running HDTach 3 the new drive returned an average read speed of 223.5MB/sec, a 5.5MB/sec improvement over the first generation 160GB drive. In terms of load times too, this newer SSD finished our Company of Heroes load test just three seconds quicker than the older drive.

Verdict

Although performance hasn't increased exponentially, Intel's second generation SSDs offer far better value for money and better reliability.

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