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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  • pennyfan87 - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - link

    so i heard you're giving the sample away to your readers...
  • Souka - Thursday, July 23, 2009 - link

    I heard there were two samples being given away... ;)
  • Zelog - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - link

    I'm guessing the new FLASH chips aren't BGA, then they don't need the potting. Would explain why the new controller still has it.
  • tajmahal - Thursday, July 30, 2009 - link

    well hello! Nothing like a little corruption of data is there.">
  • has407 - Sunday, July 26, 2009 - link

    Take a close look at the part numbers. A bit hard to read given the resolution of the pic's, but I'd bet the old unit uses the equivalent of Micron MT29F64G08CFxxx 64Gb parts, and the new unit uses the equivalent of Micron MT29F128G08CJxxx 128Gb parts.

    Micron production MLC parts for both are available only in TSOP 48. The package dimensions also appear to be the same, and per ONFI 1.0 (on which Intel says they're based), that could be easily verified from the package dimensions. The controller is obviously BGA.

    As to why the potting or lack of... thermal, shock, anti-whatever... but I'd guess Intel has just gotten better with the qualification/manufacturing process.
  • FaaR - Thursday, July 23, 2009 - link

    BGA chips typically do not need potting. In fact, the vast, vast majority of BGAs - including some that run very hot - are not potted at all.

    If the original Intel SSD used extensive potting - I don't know myself, I've not opened up my 60GB SLC drive - I'd assume it would be as an anti-counterfiting measure to prevent far-east outfits from screwing with the innards and then selling the drives more expensively as a higher capacity unit.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - link

    Very true, although the new controller doesn't have it to the exact same extent.

    Take care,

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