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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  • InternetGeek - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - link

    Price/Capacity wise I'm just one or two steps away from buying my first SSD.

    Reply
  • tomoyo - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - link

    I'd make a conjecture that intel's very good random write performance may somehow relate to why the sequential write isn't as good, although this isn't evident in the SLC version of their SSD. The other possibility is that Intel is distinguishing between their SLC and MLC series through lower write. I'd have to say that random read and write are way more important for a normal desktop user than anything else though, I always notice latency and responsiveness far more than a small change in long term transfer speed. Personally I'm very interested in getting a 80GB/160GB as a main os drive for both my primary box and a ZFS RAID server/storage box. Reply
  • haze4peace - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - link

    With the recent price drops I'm considering getting this drive in its 80GB flavor as an OS drive. Sequential write speed is the least of my concerns, because once you load on your OS and other apps, you barely write in big blocks. Reply
  • pennyfan87 - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - link

    I think Anand forgot to include the G.Skill Falcon series along with the other Indilinx MLC drives.
    Just sayin'.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - link

    woops, you're right, table updated :) Reply
  • hyc - Friday, July 24, 2009 - link

    And isn't the Samsung controller in the OCZ Summit also used in the Corsair P256 and SuperTalent MasterDrive SX? Reply
  • hyc - Friday, July 24, 2009 - link

    doh. Corsair P256 is already listed.... Reply
  • deputc26 - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - link

    Given the choice which controller would you rather have in your drive? despite samsung's reputation, I'm going with indilinx. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - link

    My pick is still the Intel drive, but I'd take Indilinx over Samsung (assuming there are no compatibility issues with the system I was putting it in).

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • deputc26 - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - link

    I also pick Intel as number one but the battle for second place is a little grayer, Samsung is more expensive which leads many to believe it is faster which of course is not the case. Reply

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