When we last left off Intel’s X25-M continued to prove its worth as the best desktop SSD on the market today. But there was new hope in a small controller company based in Korea called Indilinx. Thanks to some quick acting, Indilinx and OCZ were able to put forth the first true value alternative to the X25-M: the Vertex SSD.


In Indilinx we Hope

Now other manufacturers are beginning to ship Indilinx Barefoot based SSDs and the latest updates to the controller’s firmware make the SSD even faster than what I tested just a week ago.

Although I thought I’d be done with SSDs last week, the saga continues with a few minor updates important to anyone looking to buy an SSD today.

The Intel Update

I met with Intel this week to talk about its SSD roadmap as well as where the X25-M is today. Unfortunately I can’t talk about most of the details yet, but more information is coming.

The performance issue PC Perspective uncovered is indeed a real issue, although not something that I’ve been able to run into outside of running specific benchmark patterns. I mentioned it was a non-issue in my last article and now, armed with even more information, I’m even more confident in that. I can’t say much now, but it won’t be too much longer before I can.

A few readers wrote me and asked why the X25-M doesn’t work under Bootcamp on NVIDIA based Apple systems (e.g. the new MacBook/MacBook Pro). I didn’t have an answer at the time but I looked into it. It turns out that there is a compatibility issue with some of the 80GB X25-Ms and those platforms, but Intel does have a fix.

For starters, if you have a 160GB X25-M or X18-M, you aren’t affected by this issue; bootcamp will just work. The latest production of the 80GB X25-Ms are also not affected by this issue, but not the original drives. If you have an earlier X25-M and one of these Apple machines and are experiencing Bootcamp compatibility problems Intel wants you to contact its support staff for a fix: http://www.intel.com/support/

Remember what I wrote in my last SSD piece: “I’d venture a guess that Intel would not leave its most loyal customers out in the cold after spending $400 - $800 on a SSD. I can’t speak for Intel but like I said, stay tuned.”

I’ll have more updates on the Intel drive in the coming weeks.

The Vertex Update
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  • The0ne - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    imo, flash memory is going to be pretty big this year and the coming years. I'm already anticipating very high capacity flash memory since the technology is already there to push it up to 2TB. It's just a matter of time, cost and market to be able to get to those levels. As for SSD I think it's picking up but not as quickly as most had hoped for, myself included. And again, IMO, I think SSD technology is still in the infant stages where there are still lots of improvements to be made. Speed (write/read) and capacities are the two major ones of course. Reply
  • iwod - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    It seems Samsung's Controller wont be that good at all. At least from the look of it, it will be worst then Vertex's one.

    Which is strange since they are the largest Flash manufacture in the world. Does it make sense to develop the best SSD conrtoller to improve Flash sales?
    Reply
  • siuba - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    it seems slow peroformance on intel x25-m, i can get 38xxx PCMark Vantage HDD Score after HDD Erase, but the overall i can say vertex can outperformance x25-m Reply
  • duploxxx - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    2 very nice articles regarding ssd, although i am not so convinced what to buy, ocz or intel one, since both have similar performance in real world apps i believe it is more a price discussion.

    the one thing i miss in both reviews, is the failure rates, the burn in rate and the way they prevent the burn in by more capacity then rated, write, mixture, etc.....

    Afterall that is one of the main reason why many large storage vendors are still offering this solution as a second line-up (except for the prcie/gb offcourse and the issue that few of those disks kill there global controller performance)

    any news on that part and new enhancements in the future.
    Reply
  • Denithor - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Page 3 - midway down the page - you refer to 'firmware 0112' - should be 0122 (several instances in one paragraph). Reply
  • andreschmidt - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Just as I were on the fence to try out the Intel X25-M I hear rumblings of their Solid State Drive roadmap.

    Would be a real shame to buy the relatively pricey X25-M 80GB ($481 in Denmark) only to see it replaced in the next month or two by an even better product by Intel.

    Good follow-up article though.

    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    With this latest firmware update I would not be pulling the trigger on the Intel drive. Unless there are some serious defects with the latest Vertex firmware, 2 drives in RAID0 have to be superior in performance, not to mention the extra capacity.

    I would definitely wait, but not for the Intel drive, but rather for the confirmation the latest firmware for the Vertex is solid.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    Dunno, that difference in random writes (1st graph page 3) seems more than RAID would help. Combine that with the face that I have never had a good experience with onboard RAID and never seen it make a large difference in real-life timing, if Intel dropped their price to something closer to the OCZ I'd rather stich to a single drive (though the fact that Intel doesn't really have a drive capacity that suits my needs well doesn't help either). Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    It wouldn't be 1-2 months for the next generation Intel SSD drives. The previous SSD roadmaps indicate the 34nm SSDs at Q4 of this year. We might see the rumored 120MB/s firmware for X25-M though. Whether it can be updated to support the older firmware drives is another question. Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Ehem, 120MB/s writes. Reply

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