A Word on Reliability

Marc Prieur has been around writing about hardware for as long as I can remember (think back to the old school Tom days). Late last year he published some particularly controversial numbers on his website: failure rates of various PC components according to a French etailer. Among the components were SSDs and the numbers are below:

SSD Failure Rates - Hardware.fr
  Intel Corsair Crucial Kingston OCZ
Failure Percentage 0.59% 2.17% 2.25% 2.39% 2.93%

I should add that the numbers Marc published were accurate (confirmed by some of the manufacturers involved), although they don’t paint the complete picture of world wide failure rates - they are an important sample to look at.

Other than Intel, none of the companies listed in that article were particularly pleased with the numbers.

I mentioned earlier that the 510 would go through Intel’s extensive validation testing, just like any other Intel product. Presumably this means that the SSD 510 should have similarly low failure rates in the field (unless there’s something horribly wrong with the Marvell controller that is). Compatibility should also be a strong point of the SSD 510 due to Intel’s stringent internal testing.

Note that I am separating reliability and compatibility from drive longevity. There’s typically a good correlation between high random write performance and low write amplification. The Intel SSD 510 doesn’t have particularly high random write performance, and in turn should suffer from fairly high write amplification in highly random workloads.

I’ve already proved in the past that at 5,000 p/e cycles there’s no cause for worry for a normal desktop user. The likelihood that you’ll wear out all of your NAND within the next 5 years is very, very low. However I will say that when faced with enterprise workloads you’re going to have to pay much closer attention to write amplification and spare area than you would on say a SandForce drive.

The Test

CPU Intel Core i7 965 running at 3.2GHz (Turbo & EIST Disabled)
Intel Core i7 2600K running at 3.4GHz (Turbo & EIST Disabled) - for AT SB 2011, AS SSD & ATTO
Motherboard: Intel DX58SO (Intel X58)
Intel H67 Motherboard
Chipset: Intel X58 + Marvell SATA 6Gbps PCIe Intel H67
Chipset Drivers: Intel + Intel IMSM 8.9
Intel + Intel RST 10.2
Memory: Qimonda DDR3-1333 4 x 1GB (7-7-7-20)
Video Card: eVGA GeForce GTX 285
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 190.38 64-bit
Desktop Resolution: 1920 x 1200
OS: Windows 7 x64
Intel’s SSD 510 Powered by Marvell Random Read/Write Speed


View All Comments

  • aarste - Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - link

    Those graphs on the TRIM test look nothing remotely close to ATTO, which I use. I checked HDTach as well and it wasn't that, but close.

    What app was it?
  • mino - Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - link

    Please, be so king and include a fast HDD (say a WD Velociraptor) in EVERY SSD benchmark.

    While most readers here understand the difference between SSD and HDD, including a single fast HDD would make the article useful also as a reference/datapoint when talking to not-so-techy people.
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, March 03, 2011 - link

    Then people would complain because the numbers are so small as to be unreadable Reply
  • nerex - Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - link

    Maybe I missed it, but i didn't see any discussion of the power usage of the new drives- according the intel press releases, the new drives use 380mW/100mW active/idle and the G2 drives only use 150mW/75mW active/idle.

    This means the new drives would actually be worse on laptop battery life, correct?
  • DigitlDrug - Saturday, March 05, 2011 - link

    Hi Anand,


    Power consumption figures would be great for us laptop users!

    I find it interesting that a number of these drives report consumption of up to 3watts and others are in the mw range when browsing the Egg.

    Some clarity on power consumption would be a great addition.

    As always, great review!
  • ClagMaster - Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - link

    The Intel SSD 510 is not a bad drive but it cost more than a Vertex 2 or 3.

    The Intel Toolbox, and extensive compatablity and reliability testing are major pluses.

    The SSD is still an extravagance for desktops though I can see its a no-brainer for laptops because of power conservation. Unless the cost per gigabyte is less than $0.80/gigabyte, the performance gain does not offset the mechanical harddrive.
  • neotiger - Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - link

    I.e., an epic FAIL product priced at a premium to competing products that are far superior.

    What misguided priorities from Intel. People shell out the big bucks for SSD's for their RANDOM IO performance, NOT sequential IO. So the geniuses at Intel decided to release a "next gen" product that actually has WORSE performance than the last gen product. Really?

    I'm speechless. The really sad part about this fiasco is that most people will still buy this piece of crap over far superior competing products just because it's Intel.

    Just like NetBurst all over again.
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, March 03, 2011 - link

    Did you actually look at the real-world results? the 510 is almost twice as fast as the G2 160GB in some tests. Reply
  • poohbear - Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - link

    nice review, but you're talking & comparing the Vertex 3 and this new drive, but where's the vertex 3 on the market? its not even released, its months away from release if im not mistaken? the C400 will be released before it, so what's the point of comparing tech today with tech months away from release (and in the SSD world months is a very long time!) Reply
  • sor - Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - link

    FWIW, we've deployed literally hundreds of X25-E drives, and our failure rate is well over 1%, closer to 2%. Usually they drop link, try to renegotiate at 1.5Gbps, and fail, so it's more likely the controller than a wear-out issue. Reply

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