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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  • AtenRa - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Intel X25-M 80GB $4.29
    OCZ Vertex 120GB $3.49

    OCZ Vertex is 120GB not 80GB ;)
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Also not sure where those prices came from, as cheapest PriceGrabber finds the X25-M 80GB is $359, for $4.49/GB. The Vertex 120GB seems to be the best deal at the moment, at $2.91/GB before rebate, $2.66/GB after.
  • nubie - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Nice, these Vertex drives are looking even hotter :)

    That Super Talent drive is $108 on Newegg after a mail-in-rebate of $20, if you try to keep your main drive/partition under 30GB it might be the perfect way to speed up your machine.

    Keeping media off of the main drive it should be simple to stay under 30GB, even putting games on a different (platter) drive you should see a much faster computing experience.
  • deputc26 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Anand your SSD coverage has been second to none. I trust your reviews more than anyone elses on the web but it sure would be nice to see real-world power consumption figures for SSDs as this is an important factor in notebooks.

  • gwolfman - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Great followup to the amazing SSD Anthology article. You win in my book.
  • turrican2097 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    I wonder if those JMicrons were low-cost for very specific scenarios, firmware and the like. And then it was the SSD manufacturer that cheaped out.

    I wouldn't blame JMicron without investigating
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    They probably are OK for some scenarios, but you can still blame the companies for using them in a manner they are not really fit for. If some company started selling 15"+ laptops for several hundred dollars using Atom processors, you wouldn't blame Intel for making the Atom, but the company for misusing it.
  • Mumrik - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Page 3: "The Intel drive can still crunch through over 3.5x the number of IOs per second as the Vertex, but it also costs nearly 2x per GB"

    Not true at all according to page 2 where price/GB is 4.29 for Intel and 3.49 for OCZ. That means that the Intel drive costs 23% more than the OCZ - nowhere near 2x.
  • sideral - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link


    Unfortunately I had not read about the issue when I read you fantastic article on the Vertex, which made me buy a couple of X-25Ms for my machine.

    I contacted Intel through support right now after reading they might have a fix for the issue the drive has under Bootcamp on one of the new Macs with nVidia chipsets. They aren't answering (yet), do you have some color on the fix though ?
  • inolvidable - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    I'm following ssd's progression throught your articles. I think they're the next big evolution in computer performance so I have much interest on them

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