Intel's X25-V & Kingston's 30GB SSDNow V Series: Battle of the $125 SSDsby Anand Lal Shimpi on March 19, 2010 12:00 AM EST
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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.