The Competitors

For the most part, Intel doesn't let anyone else manufacture drives using its controller (the lone exception being Kingston). Indilinx and Samsung however both sell their controllers and designs to many other vendors, who then repackage them and sell them as their own SSDs. The table below is a decoder ring of the drives I tested and their equivalents in the marketplace:

Drive Controller The Same As
Patriot Torqx Indilinx Barefoot (MLC)

Corsair Extreme Series X128
G.Skill Falcon
OCZ Vertex
SuperTalent UltraDrive ME

OCZ Agility Indilinx Barefoot (non Samsung MLC) N/A
OCZ Vertex EX Indilinx Barefoot (SLC) SuperTalent UltraDrive LE
OCZ Summit Samsung RBB (MLC) Corsair Performance Series P256

 

While I used the Torqx from Patriot as my Indilinx MLC drive, it's the same drive and uses the same firmware as OCZ's famed Vertex drive or the new Cosair Extreme Series SSD. The only exception on this list is the OCZ Agility. The Agility uses the same Barefoot controller as the Torqx, Vertex, UltraDrive ME and Corsair X series, but it uses non-Samsung flash memory to lower cost. The Agility currently ships with either Toshiba or Intel flash, but should be roughly the same performance as the other Indilinx MLC drives.

I included the SLC drives as a reference point, but for desktop use they are overkill. Not only is their firmware not optimized for desktop usage patterns, but they are far more expensive on a cost-per-GB basis.

All of the drives used the latest firmwares at the time of publication.

The Pricing

The table below is the pricing comparison I went through yesterday:

Drive NAND Capacity Cost per GB Price
Intel X25-M (34nm) 80GB $2.81 $225
Intel X25-M (34nm) 160GB $2.75 $440
OCZ Vertex (Indilinx) 64GB $3.41 $218
OCZ Vertex (Indilinx) 128GB $3.00 $385
Patriot Torqx (Indilinx) 64GB $3.48 $223
Patriot Torqx (Indilinx) 128GB $2.85 $365
OCZ Agility (Indilinx, non-Samsung Flash) 64GB $2.77 $177
OCZ Agility (Indilinx, non-Samsung Flash) 128GB $2.57 $329
OCZ Summit (Samsung) 128GB $3.04 $389

 

The new 34nm drives were supposed to start shipping yesterday, but I've yet to see them available online. It's also worth mentioning that Intel doesn't give out street pricing, only 1,000 unit pricing. The street price of the X25-M G2 drives could be higher at first, similar to what we saw with the 1st gen drives, eventually leveling off below the 1Ku pricing.

Inside the Drive: 2x Density Flash and more DRAM The Performance
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  • Bolas - Friday, August 21, 2009 - link

    So... does it work yet?

    What's the current status of the G2 firmware bug? Any idea when we'll be able to buy G2 drives on Newegg?
    Reply
  • krazyderek - Sunday, August 16, 2009 - link

    I know this is a bit pre-emptive, but i really hope that if the introduction of TRIM goes well that we see a double bar graph showing new AND used performance bars for each drive (ie: TRIM on, TRIM off). Once TRIM is implemented it may level the playing field for some drives and that should be easily and fairly shown in the charts. I know you had shown used vs new benchmarks during the anthology but in different charts sometimes on different pages made it tricky to see exactly the difference. Again, if TRIM is all it's touted to be, "new" state may be, the longterm state of an SSD.

    Here's hoping Intel get's it act together with those seq writes.

    PS, i own an 50nm 80gb intel, i'm semi ticked intel won't release a firware with TRIM in it, at the same time, it still has the second fastest random read and write (second only to it's newer version) and it feels rediculously fast to me launching every application on my computer at once when i start windows, and a sub 20 second boot time in OSX.
    Reply
  • Alberto122 - Tuesday, August 04, 2009 - link

    I think computer market will slowdown in the next two years. Industry results in July shows profit warnings and losses in many companies. Intel lost 398 US$ mill and AMD 335 US$ mill.

    New Google Chrome operating system (which has lesser hardware requirements than Windows), virtualization runing on multicore computers (one computer, many users) and financial crisis can hit very hard the sales for PC market.

    Well see how can they sale new processors.

    http://managersmagazine.com/index.php/2009/08/info...">http://managersmagazine.com/index.php/2...ctorial-...
    Reply
  • krazyderek - Sunday, August 16, 2009 - link

    Intel with it's high IOPS, and SSD's in general with their non-existent response time seem poised to dominate multi-user, and virtualization setup's. It does seem like hard times ahead, but that's where bang for buck is really going to count and not to many people actually "need" a 2TB drive, where as HD's have been the bottleneck in computer's ever since the GHZ race spread out into the multi-core arena. SSD's seems ready to stand up in a multi user server, or virtualization setup to take it from "hold on a second i'm on a shared server login" to.. "really, this is a shared computer?" Reply
  • jimhsu - Sunday, August 02, 2009 - link

    Hey Anand, I think I finally found the Achilles Heel of the X25-M: Poor random read performances under a heavy seq write workload.

    http://www.hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1034430137...">http://www.hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1034430137...

    Reproduce with:
    PerformanceTest 7.0 (x64)
    Advanced Disk Test
    2 synchronous threads
    500MB test files
    Uncached Win32 API
    Thread 1: 100% Read, 100% Random, 4096 byte block size
    Thread 2a: 100% Write, 0% Random, 1 MB block size
    Thread 2b: 100% Write, 100% Random, 4096 byte block size

    In general, the X25-M lags HEAVILY when doing a seq write (e.g. file copy) while doing random reads (e.g. opening microsoft word). Heavy RANDOM writes are not a problem, suggesting possibly poor interleaving of large seq writes and small reads.

    Worth discussing with Intel?
    Reply
  • jimhsu - Saturday, August 15, 2009 - link

    What makes this even harder to understand is that performance on the drive is dynamic - the algorithms gradually accommodate changing workloads under a fragmented condition. This only happens under LOW free space conditions in the used state.

    I copied a lot of files sequentially to the SSD these few days. Seq write speeds increased from 30-40MB/s to over 80MB/s these few days, but random writes dropped to 15MB/s. These are Crystaldiskmark benches so I don't trust them much at all, but seq writes definitely became faster (can't feel the effect of slower random writes).

    The performance profile of these Intel drives is VERY confusing. TRIM will probably help a lot to make performance less confusing.

    Reply
  • iwodo - Monday, August 10, 2009 - link

    Interesting, does this problem exsist in other SSD drive from Samsung or Indilix? Reply
  • HexiumVII - Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - link

    Do these new drives support it? Reply
  • Alkapwn - Sunday, July 26, 2009 - link

    Came across this information, and wonder if there is any way to verify it. Anyone heard of drive problems on these new g2's?

    http://www.pugetsystems.com/blog/2009/07/24/minor-...">http://www.pugetsystems.com/blog/2009/07/24/minor-...

    Reply
  • somedude1234 - Tuesday, July 28, 2009 - link

    I ordered one from Puget last week. I can confirm that they are doing exactly as they said in the linked post and contacting people with pending orders directly.

    I fell into the category of "not likely to use a BIOS password on the drive, but willing to wait if Intel thought a hardware change was necessary".

    Once they confirmed that a simple firmware update would resolve the issue, I gave them the go-ahead to ship mine. I should be receiving it soon.

    So far I've been very impressed with the customer service at Puget Systems. They are definitely responsive to their customers.
    Reply

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