Final Experts’ Verdicts On Intel 520 Series SSD & Awards

I has been now more than one year since Intel Corporation released its 510 Series solid state hard drive using a controller produced by Marvell, but had to change in the newest version of this premium drive (i.e. 520 Series SSD), as Intel decided to use SandForce controller instead—and to good effect. Based on the experts’ reviews on this drive, Intel is making a solid jump toward the top end of the performance storage market. It doesn’t quite reach its lofty goal, but it offers every reason to believe future drives will.

Intel is a prominent company that you can really trust when you just need quality computer products, and its SSDs are one of the best you can ever posses, and that’s according to the testimonies of the well-known SSD experts who reviewed this drive as you can read below. Moreover, Intel SSD Toolbox offers great utilities to maintain Intel SSDs at its best performance, which makes possessing this drive an appealing choice. For that reason we have selected Intel 520 Series SSD to be in our Best & Fastest SSD List for Year 2013. [View This List]

Below is a list of the models of this drive with the corresponding price for each of them:

Model # Capacity Price Where To Buy
SSDSC2CW060A310 60 GB $88.24 Buy On Amazon.com
SSDSC2CW120A310 120 GB $127.00 Buy On Amazon.com
SSDSC2CW180A310 180 GB $189.99 Buy On Amazon.com
SSDSC2CW240A310 240 GB $239.99 Buy On Amazon.com
SSDSC2CW480A310 480 GB $489.99 Buy On Amazon.com

Note: The products prices are as of 20-November-2012 at 06:33 GMT -

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And here is the final words of the SSD experts on this drive:

1- The SSD Review (thessdreview.com):

Bottom Line:

Just as we have seen in every SSD release before this, the Intel reputation alone will do wonders for sales of the 520, although their last minute delay in it’s release at Christmas for further validation will also play well in the minds of potential customers. Add to this the fact that the 520 is now the ‘King of Performance’, has an industry high five year warranty, is available in an array of capacities and it’s pricing will be such that the consumer will latch on to them regardless and Intel is guaranteed a winner with this SSD.


2- Hardware Canucks (hardwarecanucks.com):

Bottom Line:

While its benchmark numbers were some of the best around, what really distinguishes the 520 series is its adaptability to a wide variety of situations. Whether you use TRIM or have an OS that can’t pass on the command, Intel’s SSD Toolbox allows the 520 series to be brought back to a like-new state with the click of a button. There’s no longer a need to run background garbage collection routines or provide long (an inefficient) idle scenarios to ensure a drive is in tip-top shape. Unfortunately, Intel still hasn’t figured out how to implement the Toolbox’s cleaning routines on RAID setups but we wouldn’t be surprised to see this ability added in a future revision.

In our opinion, the Intel 520 240GB provides a breath of fresh air in a market that was threatened with stagnation. To their credit, Intel may have waited a long time to introduce these drives but even now, more than a year after the SF2281 drives first became available, the competition really has no way to keep up. The relative maturity of the 520’s firmware coupled with excellent software has demonstrated why we continually state that an SSD lives or dies by the support a company gives it. In this case, the 520 series is so far ahead that we’re used to, it is nearly impossible to recommend a different drive in this price bracket. It may be a bit expensive but the peace of mind granted by a new yet mature product and a 5 year no hassle warranty are priceless in our eyes. If anything, Intel has once again proven that when they do something, they take the time do it right.


3- TechGage (techgate.com):

Bottom Line:

The 520 Series is a full replacement of the 510 Series so it is good to see that prices will be significantly cheaper than the outgoing 510 Series, but still users will be paying a premium if they decide to go with a premium quality 520 Series SSD from Intel. Given the street price for the older 320 Series pegs the 120GB at $200, we consider the additional $30 to be more than worth upsizing to the 520 Series. The warranty will remain the same, but performance will be better in all respects.

And if you are in the market for an Intel solid state hard drive then only serious option left for us to recommend is the 520 Series. Of course, if price is not a main factor or if the 5 year warranty is enough to warrant the additional cost compared to other competing SandForce drives, then Intel’s new 520 Series SSDs are very likely made just for you.


4- Storage Review (storagereview.com):

Bottom Line:

When we reviewed the Intel SSD 510, we called it a comfortable pair of shoes due to the midrange performance but supreme reliability. If we’re keeping with shoe references this time around, the SSD 520 is a great pair of running shoes with little rocket boosters on each side. The 520 brings industry-leading SSD performance to the table, paired with the support, reliability and compatibility buyers long for. Even with a price premium at launch, the 520 is an easy to recommend SSD and sets the bar for what other SSDs should aspire to be.

Pros:
[*]. Exceptionally strong performance up against OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS
[*]. Incredibly fast compressible speeds in our mixed-workload tests
[*]. Industry-leading reliability testing
[*]. Custom firmware and engineering shows its value

Cons:
[*]. More expensive than other SandForce SF-2200-powered SSDs with synchronous NAND


5- Tweak Town (tweaktown.com):

Bottom Line:


6- Kit Guru (kitguru.com):

Bottom Line:

The Intel 520 Series 240GB is one of the fastest solid state hard drives on the market, right at the very top of our group test beside the Patriot Wildfire 240GB and Vertex 3 240GB MAX IOPS. There is no doubt that Intel’s custom validated firmware has been finely tuned to offer class leading IOPS performance with both random read and write tests.
The Intel 520 Series drive excels when dealing with both compressible and incompressible data, meaning it can be used for a wide variety of tasks, including professional level rendering and data intensive multi tasking environments.
While there is a profusion of competing products and concerns have been raised about Sandforce reliability I would have no hesitation buying one of these drives for my own system. Intel are standing firmly behind this drive with a full 5 year warranty for complete peace of mind. We know for a fact that Intel have a first class warranty system, so if you have been unsure recently about the Sandforce platform, then this could very well make a fantastic first time purchase.
My favourite performance oriented solid state hard drive has been the Patriot Wildfire 240GB, but this Intel 520 Series 240GB is just as impressive, with slightly better IOPS performance.

Pros:
[*]. Class leading performance.
[*]. 5 year warranty.
[*]. good with both compressible and incompressible data.

Cons:
[*]. not quite as fast as the latest Samsung drives when reading imcompressible data.


7- Guru3D (guru3d.com):

Bottom Line:

Choice is good though. The Intel Series 520 SSD 240GB model as tested today is an incredible sexy and high performing product, it’s late to a crowded SandForce 2281 market though. Intel certainly holds ground amongst the competition, though I dare to state that parties like OCZ and Corsair have a more refined firmware allowing a notch more performance. Hey, they had a year advantage in the development process. The performance differences however are too small to ever notice in real-world usage.


8- XBit Labs (xbitlabs.com):

Bottom Line:

Quite expectedly, we were highly pleased with the new Intel product. The old SandForce problems have vanished without a trace, and the performance of the new drive is very good, too. Intel SSD 520 uses proprietary 25 nm ONFI flash memory, and is currently among the fastest SF-2281 based products. As a result, it is superior to any other SSDs with SATA 6 Gbit/s interface available today. Its exclusive firmware contributed to making it better than similar SSDs based on the same hardware platform. And if we add 5-year warranty and traditionally high quality of Intel’s SSDs, this product can’t help becoming highly popular among users who want to speed up their disk subsystems.

Therefore, we are proud to award Intel SSD 520 drive with our Editor’s Choice as perhaps the most attractive SSD for high-performance desktop PCs

The only downside to the bunch of advantages is that Intel’s SSD 520 costs more than average SandForce-based SSDs. It’s up to you to decide whether the higher reliability, famous brand name, exclusive firmware and 5-year warranty are worth the extra money they ask for it.


9- Hot Hardware (hothardware.com):

Bottom Line:

The Intel SSD 520 series solid state hard drive performed very well throughout our entire battery of tests. Of course, we’ve already known for some time that drive’s based on SandForce’s SF-2200 series controllers, when paired to synchronous NAND, are some of the fastest available. For the most part, the Intel SSD 520 performs much like other SandForce SF-2200 based drive’s we’ve tested. In some cases it’s somewhat faster and in others, it trails slightly, but the performance deltas were never very dramatic.


10- Benchmarks Reviews (benchmarksreviews.com):

Bottom Line:

Intel’s SSD 520 Series sets a new standard for future solid state hard drive storage devices to strive for. It’s the fastest SATA-based SSD we’ve ever tested, and Intel’s specifications were either met or exceeded in our benchmarks. Intel’s 25nm NAND Flash was easily capable of producing more than 83K IOPS and nearly 560 MB/s transfers, leaving us to imagine what they have in store for us when the switch to 20nm is soon made. Additionally, an upcoming release of Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology software is expected to finally translate TRIM garbage collection commands to solid state hard drive assembled in RAID arrays. So if you’re shopping for a solid state hard drive with SATA 6.0 GB/s performance and the industry’s best MLC NAND flash components, I urge you to consider the Intel SSD 520 Series solid state hard drive. Transfer speeds and operational performance surpass competing storage products, yet pricing still closely matches those same products at the same capacity. Add Intel’s five-year warranty to the drives phenomenal performance, and there’s a good chance the Intel SSD 520 Series could easily please users for the lifetime of the computer system its installed into.

Pros:
[*]. Fastest SATA storage device ever tested
[*]. Delivers over 83K IOPS performance in IOMeter
[*]. Outstanding 559/528 MBps read/write speed with ATTO
[*]. Built-in 256-bit AES data encryption
[*]. Hardware-level data compression preserves NAND longevity
[*]. 5-Year Intel product warranty support
[*]. Enhanced power-loss data protection
[*]. Lightweight compact storage solution
[*]. Resistant to extreme shock impact
[*]. Low power consumption may extend battery life

Cons:
[*]. Expensive enthusiast-level product

Disclaimer
Products prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on amazon.com as applicable at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

I am a computer technician who like to keep track of the best and fastest solid state drives available out there. I write simple SSD reviews and guides to help people save effort and time reading the long benchmarks and reviews. My website <a href="http://www.sata3ssd.com">SATA 3 SSD</a> is where your pursuit for the best SSD ends.

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