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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  • Dennis Travis - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Thanks SO MUCH for your update on the who SSD situation. Things seem to be looking up! Great Job. Keep em coming! :D

    Reply
  • zonteck - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    yes i have to agree, this updating on the ssd situation has been invaluable to me too. you hear good things on the forums about the new firmwares and it's so good to see you share how things have changed even since last week. Reply
  • Mastakilla - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Hi!

    Great article once more!!

    Looking at the price / performance ratio of the Intel and Vertex does leave 1 interesting question open:

    how does a RAID 0 of Vertex drives compare to a single Intel (in price it is about the same)

    Also interesting to invest is the compability between SSDs and RAID controllers (I have read about issues between non-Intel SSDs and the Intel based RAID controllers (like most Arecas))

    Keep up the good work!
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Should destroy the Intel drive in all real-world tests. All it takes is to look at a single Vertex drive with the new firmware to see it is within ~1 second load time, and already significantly faster with copying larger files. Honestly, Intel should be scared to death of this bugger, or else they realize they milked the teat for as long as possible without competition, and can now drop the price inline with OCZ and Supertalent. Reply
  • Hauk - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Some two weeks ago I reports that Super Talent had an Indilinix based drive on the market. Was surprised at the lack of information. Nice to finally see details surfacing. A product with such potential has been poorly marketed to this point in my opinion.

    Props to OCZ for their work in getting Vertex up to speed. Many have been critical that they rushed the product to market. Yea it sucks that flashing destroys data; but look at mobo manufacturers. We should be used to bug fixes through firmware updates. Intel needed some form of competition.. good for everyone.

    I flashed my Vertex 60GB to 1275 without issue. It's a simple process. Would like to see instructions on something other than a forum post however. How about a .pdf to accompany the files..
    Reply
  • Eri Hyva - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    How about

    http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/flash_drives...">http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/f...ives/ocz...
    ?

    Two links there:

    Vertex Firmware Update and
    Firmware Install Guide (pdf-file)
    Reply
  • Hauk - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Nice! Reply
  • Nickel020 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Thanks for the update!

    One thing I missed in your articles though is alignment and its importance for performance. The drives ship with a partition on it and it's supposed to be aligned, but the partition on my drive seems to be off, as I only got about 195/75 MB/s read/write max on ATTO when it was "new" and like 105/35 MB/s now that it is "used". I have yet to re-install the drive and properly align it, but either I have a defective drive or this is caused by alignment, making proper alignment extremely important. I'm on the 0122 FW btw.

    Another thing I missed is RAID1, you do not mention it at all. You can basically get 2 Super Talent 60GB drives for the price of an Intel 80GB and use them in RAID1. This will still have lower random 4KB performance, but the increased performance in many other areas should be dramatically higher than the Intel's.
    I have never used RAID1 though, but I would love to hear your opinion on this, as I'm considering getting a second 60GB OCZ.
    Reply
  • Nickel020 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    I meant RAID0 of course, that stuff always gets me confused... Reply
  • Shinshin - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Seems that the speed is limited by the chip as stated in their website 230MB/s read and 170MB/s write.

    I'm looking forward their next-gen chip which will support sata v3 and will have 500MB/s throughput (!) by the end of 2009.

    (btw, they have a great website IMO...)
    Reply

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