Final Words

When Kingston released its 40GB version of Intel's X25-M last year, I liked it a lot. At $125, I still like the X25-V especially now that it has TRIM support. It's unfortunate for those who bought the Kingston drives last year, but it looks like there is a way to get TRIM working on your drives as well.

The X25-V is a great way to get an SSD into your system if you're not quite ready to splurge on a larger drive. With roughly 37GB of free space to install an OS and apps to, you can easily get your most frequently used programs on the drive. Pair it up with a cheap TB hard drive and you'll have ultra fast storage and a ton of capacity for under $250. Or if you're looking for something to make your travel notebook/netbook a lot snappier, the X25-V is perfect. The limited capacity does have performance implications as there's potentially fewer blocks to be used for cleaning, however TRIM helps alleviate that as an issue assuming you have a TRIM enabled OS.

Intel is quick to point out that pairing up two X25-Vs can give you more performance than a single 80GB X25-M for around the same price. While I'm still looking at RAID performance, the problem is that today there's no way to pass the TRIM command to drives in a RAID array. You gain better sequential performance and concurrent IOPS, but you have no way to actively curb performance degradation. In my opinion, that's not a worthy tradeoff. Intel did hint that its driver teams are looking at ways to pass TRIM down to RAID arrays however.

Kingston's answer to the X25-V is very interesting. You do give up another 10GB of space compared to the Intel drive for a formatted capacity of around 28GB, but in exchange you get better sequential write performance. Ultimately the tradeoff here is between sequential write speed and random read/write speed. The former is Kingston's advantage, while the latter is the X25-V's domain. PCMark Vantage favors Intel's X25-V, while our own storage bench preferred Kingston's 30GB Boot Drive. Given the X25-V's capacity and random read/write performance advantages, Intel gets the nod here over Kingston's 30GB drive if you're looking for a sub-$130 SSD. Note that if Kingston's pricing does manage to stay significantly lower than Intel's (thanks to Newegg's current pricing after MIR), Kingston might be a good alternative if you're looking to spend as little as possible and don't mind giving up some capacity for it.

While it's good to see competition at the low end of the SSD spectrum, I'm not expecting to see much more movement here until 25nm flash hits the market in Q4.

AnandTech Storage Bench
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  • Taft12 - Saturday, March 20, 2010 - link

    The pricing changes every couple of minutes, what do you want?

    UPDATE 13: Zipzoomfly now has the Kingston drive for $84.77 beating Newegg's $84.99
    Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    Anand, in future SSD reviews, can you bring back the power consumption figures? Or maybe dedicate a short article that sums up the current lineup? I remember an article on Tom's which showed a huge amount of variance among 1st gen SSDs (with some being worse than "green" 3.5" HDDs) and am wondering how the current ones are versus a 2.5" laptop drive (ie: what impact a SSD swap will have on battery life). Reply
  • 7Enigma - Saturday, March 20, 2010 - link

    Agreed. I would be interested to see these figures as well. Doesn't really matter for a desktop setting but for a laptop replacement/upgrade it can be helpful. Reply
  • qwertymac93 - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    so what your saying is...sandforce wins! Im kidding of course, but i think 30 gigs is too small, and the intel 40gig is too slow. too bad a 50 gig sandforce costs $250! o_O Reply
  • mpx - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    If I had a small SSD, then I'd definitely use it as a cache, rather than as a boot drive. There are 2 popular solutions: ReadyBoost integrated in Windows 7, which supports up to 32GB of storage, matching these drives. There's also external program called ReadyBoost that can work with Window XP or Windows Server version.
    Reply
  • Nomgle - Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - link

    ReadyBoost only caches Reads, and would be utterly useless in this scenario.
    As noted in the article, the "correct" way to use a small SSD is to install your OS directly onto it - use an additional mechanical drive as your main data store.
    Reply
  • rivethead - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    I guess I consider myself lucky that I purchased a Kingston SSDNow 40GB drive from Buy.com for $89. This was just eight weeks ago.

    A few hours of research and tweaking and a few aspirin later I was able to upgrade the firmware to the Intel firmware and enable TRIM.

    So a big middle finger to you Intel.
    Reply
  • Drakino - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    Does the Intel drive adhere to connector location for 3.5 inch drives when mounted in the bracket? IE, can I toss the 2.5 inch drive onto the bracket, then mount the bracket in the drive carriers of a Mac Pro and plug it in?

    Western Digital failed this test with their initial release of the Velociraptor, only later coming out with a "Hot swappable" 3.5 inch form factor drive that adhered to SATA standards.
    Reply
  • somedude1234 - Sunday, March 21, 2010 - link

    I've been looking for a similar solution. Two similar items:

    Addonics Snap-In 25
    Icy Dock MB882SP-1S-1B

    Unfortunately, it looks like both of them use a separate PCB, which could possibly lead to connection problems.

    I was looking for a dead-simple bracket that would offset the 2.5" drive to the proper location within a 3.5" drive space. The only candidate I've found so far is this:

    Supermicro MCP-220-00043-0N

    The pictures all show the complete Supermicro 3.5" hotswap carrier, including the metal bracket which properly places the 2.5" drive in the 3.5" drive space. It looks like the bracket is screw-mounted within the 3.5" carrier. I suspect that the MCP-220-00043-0N model number is actually for only the metal bracket and that the 3.5" hotswap carrier is simply shown for illustration. However, it's possible that they include both the bracket and the carrier. In that case, you could just remove the bracket and toss the carrier.
    Reply
  • Nomgle - Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - link

    The Icy Dock MB882SP-1S-2B and MB882SP-1S-1B work just fine to convert a 2.5" drive to a 3.5" form-factor, whilst keeping the SATA connectors in the right place -http://www.icydock.com/product/mb882sp-1s-2b.html">http://www.icydock.com/product/mb882sp-1s-2b.html and http://www.icydock.com/product/mb882sp-1s-1.html">http://www.icydock.com/product/mb882sp-1s-1.html Reply

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