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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  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    No, unfortunately it looks like the bracket keeps the drive centered, which positions the SATA connectors too far to the middle to work properly in 3.5" carriers like what Apple uses for the Mac Pro.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Drakino - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the response. If you can pass some feedback to the manufacturers, can you let them know this is one of the big reasons I haven't jumped on a SSD yet? A SATA compliant 3.5 inch solution would be appreciated by those of us using cableless drive setups. I know HP shipped a few VoodooPC gaming rigs with similar drive bays.

    I'm still really tempted to pick one of these up, but not sure how I can get it in my system without just dangling the drive on the connector.
    Reply
  • Nomgle - Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - link

    See below - Icy Dock make two adaptors that'll fit your Mac Pro just fine :) Reply
  • vol7ron - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    Anand,

    Though I'm still operating almost all my machines on XP, I thought you said you were going to start doing all your benchmarks in Win7.

    I appreciate doing both in this example, but that's got to be a lot of time spent doing it on multiple machines.

    vol7ron

    PS
    This article really interests me when thinking about building an HTPC. I know I'll need a lot of storage space - I hope to have 4TB worth - but having a quick, speedy, small drive would be a loading dream. Thanks for the review.
    Reply
  • Itomerou - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    I really enjoyed the article and am always impressed with the level of detail that is done when testing and comparing components. However, the only problem with this article is that when comparing queue depth and light/heavy workload averaging the results provides no value in so far as the distribution of IOPS is not normally distributed. Additionally, the fact that these drives are completely different in their drivers and priority addressing of queue requests to say that one drive is able to server requests faster depends on the fact that measurement of requests served fits the drives exact distribution of requests served. This is apparent with the charts of how each drive performs for sequential and random access. Finally, in order to make substantial claims confidence intervals must also be constructed otherwise how accurate are the results?

    On the otherhand I am still intrigued with the findings.
    Reply
  • Zelog - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    Look at the size of the kingston, it's tiny! Now you don't even need dedicated 2.5" space for the drive, making the htpc/laptop/net book even smaller. It is definitely worth its price in the right settings. Reply
  • GeorgeH - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    That was my first thought, but with a slightly different angle. If Kingston made a custom form factor you could extend laptops with dual storage below ~15". In something like the M11x you could have one of these as a fast boot drive while using a big and slow HDD with aggressive power management to get more storage, faster storage, and longer battery life.

    (Yes, I'm aware of mini-PCIe (and other custom connection) SSDs for netbooks and other SFF devices, but the performance there is terrible.)
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    Entry level is not $125. $125 is not "cheap" or "inexpensive". Reply
  • davepermen - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    it's a cheap and inexpensive SSD, and definitely the most entry level ssd existing.

    and yeah, if you buy an entry level desktop (not an atom), you easily pay several 100$. investing 100 more to make it perform 'really fast', is the most cheap and inexpensive way to make it perform much better.

    how would YOU invest that amount of money to boost up your pc? (laptops are a different story because there storage matters actually, in a pc, just let the old hdd be plugged in too)
    Reply
  • casteve - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    The OCZ 30GB Agility @ $119 wins the entry level contest over these two. $99 after MIR at newegg. Reply

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