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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  • davepermen - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    technically, still more expensive than the intel 40gb at 125$ (per gb), but yeah, others than just kingston and intel should be listed.

    still i'm glad for the 33% more storage :)
    Reply
  • buzznut - Monday, March 22, 2010 - link

    Yeah, this is the decision I made when buying my 40gig. With a win7 install those 10gb make a huge difference. For an entry level SSD, I would recommend the Intel over the OCZ despite some performance differences. Especially when it comes to gaming.

    Choosing between the Kingston drive and Intel at the time was a no-brainer.

    However I would/will look at OCZ vertex series when going to 60GB or higher capacity.
    Reply
  • mmntech - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    It's progress in the right direction though. Wasn't long ago when these small drives were $200-$300. Still, I'm going to wait until 80gb SSDs drop to around that price. More breathing room. Still way too small for laptop use too. Reply
  • vol7ron - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    I'd like to see the 80GB/160GBs fall in price too. Once they do, I'll consume =] Reply
  • MadMan007 - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    When you talk about capacities in the chart on page 4 I take it the formatted capacity is in gigabytes (GB) and not gibibytes (GiB). So on top of reserved flash there is also the GB-GiB conversion to account for? Reply
  • gaspard - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    Harddrives are measured in Gigabytes (1 billion bytes), Operating systems (Windows for example) usually measure in Gibibytes... aka 1024 times 1024 times 1024 = 1,073,741,824 bytes
    Reply
  • MadMan007 - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    Thanks bro but that didn't add or clarify anything about my question. The fact that HDs use GB and OSes use GiB was implicit background knowledge for my post. I see Jarrod made a guess but I'd still be interested to know whether the chart on page 4 for formatted capacities especially and others just for funsies is in GB or GiB. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    And flash chips are generally measured in GiB as well (or at least, the chips come in powers of 2). I think part of this is SSD makers figure they'll use the GiB vs. GB difference to make up for their spare area. So you can have 7.3% spare area and your 40GiB SSD ends up formatting to the same size as a 40GB HDD. Just a thought. Reply
  • GullLars - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    This was a good test, and one i've been waiting for a while. I'm a bit disappointed a 32GB Indilinx Barefoot drive wasn't included. I have a 30GB Vertex in my laptop that performs better sequentailly than these numbers, and has better random performance than the Kingston V 30GB. The price is slightly higher though.
    Ref screenshot: http://www.diskusjon.no/index.php?app=core&mod...">http://www.diskusjon.no/index.php?app=c...h_rel_mo... CDM 3.0 + WEI for my laptop.

    Now the next thing I hope Anandtech will do regarding SSDs is a comparison of RAID of low-capasity cheap SSDs VS single high capasity SSDs. This is something no other reckognized tech site has done yet, but enthusiasts have done for years now. Example: http://www.nextlevelhardware.com/storage/battleshi...">http://www.nextlevelhardware.com/storage/battleshi...

    I'll also mention Nizzen, an enthusiast on a forum i frequent, who set a WR i PCmark vantage last spring with his 24/7 setup, and is still on top5 with the same setup (updated in august with 4GB RAM on the Areca). The key was an Areca 1680ix-12 with a RAID-0 of several (7 i think) OCZ Vertex.
    ORB result page: http://service.futuremark.com/resultComparison.act...">http://service.futuremark.com/resultCom...sultId=2...
    24740 PCmarks, WAY ahead of the highest score in your benchmark lists. The same level of disk performance is possible to get with an LSI 9211-8i with 8 30-40GB SSDs in RAID-0 for about $1000 (less than 2 256GB SSDs).

    Suggested lineup for such an article: RAID-0 of 4 Kingston V 30GB, Intel x25-V, and Indilinx Barefoot 32GB (Vertex?). 2 RAID-0 SF-1200/1500 50GB, Kingston SSDNow V+ 64GB, Indilinx Barefoot 64GB, Intel x25-M 80GB. And single 100/128/160 GB SSDs of various controllers.

    Regarding performance degrading in RAID whitout TRIM, increased reserved area can help negate the performance degrading (Ref IDF whitepaper on spare area). Increasing the spare area to ~20-25% from the default 7% (on most SSDs) will make sure degrading will not be noticable by users in normale usage models.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, March 19, 2010 - link

    So how much faster were program loads and other useful things with that super RAID array? Reply

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