Not to sound like a broken record, but with the exception of OCZ's Vertex LE, not much has changed in the SSD market over the past couple of years. Intel still seems like the safest bet, and these days they're even offering a pretty compelling value.

The 80GB X25-M G2 is finally selling for reasonable prices and earlier this month Intel launched its first value SSD: the X25-V. Priced at $125, the X25-V gives you much of the performance of the X25-M but at a lower cost and capacity point. It's a great way to safely transition to an SSD.

Intel's X25-V uses the same controller as the X25-M G2, but with half the NAND and thus half the channels

For months now you all have been asking me to tackle the topic of RAIDing SSDs. I've been cautious about doing so for a number of reasons:

1) There is currently no way to pass the TRIM instruction to a drive that is a member of a RAID array. Intel's latest RAID drivers allow you to TRIM non-member RAID disks, but not an SSD in a RAID array.

2) Giving up TRIM support means that you need a fairly resilient SSD, one whose performance will not degrade tremendously over time. On the bright side, with the exception of the newer SandForce controllers, I'm not sure we've seen a controller as resilient as Intel's.

A couple of weeks ago I published some early results of Intel's X25-V SSD. But I was holding out on you, I actually had two:

Using the same Intel X58 testbed I've been using for all of my SSD tests, I created a 74.5GB RAID-0 array out of the two drives and quickly ran them through almost all of our benchmarks. At a total cost of $250, a pair of X25-Vs will set you back more than a single 80GB X25-M and you do give up TRIM, but is the performance worth it?

The Test

AnandTech SSD Testbed
Intel Core i7 965 running at 3.2GHz (Turbo & EIST Disabled)
Intel DX58SO
Intel X58 + Marvell SATA 6Gbps PCIe
Chipset Drivers
Intel + Intel IMSM 8.9
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
Windows 7 x64
Sequential Read/Write Speed
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  • IvanAndreevich - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    I am sure they would blow these away, and at $80 AR they are cheaper per GB. They also support GC and TRIM with 1.5 firmware.
  • machzero - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    Ya missed an important point on the first page.

    "1) There is currently no way to pass the TRIM instruction to a drive that is a member of a RAID array."

    The drives may support TRIM but no RAID controller on the market will pass the instruction to the drive.
  • Minion4Hire - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    And OCZ's garbage collection is entirely independent from the drive controller, and doesn't need instructions passed to it like TRIM. It will work regardless of your configuration.

    And on that note, I have two 60GB OCZ Agility SSDs in RAID 0 and am very happy with them. My sequential read performance sits at over 400MB/s and sequential writes are over 200MB/s. Although my random read and write performance isn't quite as nice as the Intels RAIDed here, I didn't pay any more for my drives ($140 ea. Canadian on sale after rebate) and have an extra 40GBs of storage over this Intel RAID. The extra capacity is what sold me on the OCZ drives over Intel, but I'd be willing to bet that the Intel X25-V drives would offer a better overall RAID experience than a set of Agilities, even with their lack of garbage collection as Anand noted.
  • funkyd99 - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Is the lack of TRIM a limitation of RAID controllers or a limitation in the drivers? I.e. could an update to the Intel storage drivers remedy the problem on Intel chipsets?
  • plamengv - Friday, April 2, 2010 - link

    There is no lack of TRIM for RAIDs anymore thanks to Intel.
  • nwrigley - Friday, April 2, 2010 - link

    Nope, it only supports single drives running next to a RAID. RAID still lacks TRIM support.
  • Makaveli - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    Performance is great, since I already have one 160GB G2 drive I would love to see a second in Raid 0..hint hint :)

    should be able to hit 200 mb/sec writes!!
  • TheHolyLancer - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    I'm wondering, is there a way (be it a special raid card or something else) to allow me to to put put a raid 0 +1 array in there with standard hdds?

    Something like 2 SSDs + 2 hdds or hell 2 SSDs + 1 large hdd with 2 partitions. This way, you can get data protection on the cheap.

    Or for something like this to work, the drive performance has to be big, or else you need a huge data cache on the controller in order for the hdds to catch up to SSDs.

    Or is this just completely outside the scope of what current controllers can do?
  • Calin - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    You don't have that option (and anyway, it will slow your RAID to the speed of the slowest writing disk, even if reads will always take place from the SSD drives).
  • therealnickdanger - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    You're better off creating a SSD RAID-0 as your boot/app/game drive and then back up that partition every night (or twice per day?) to a HDD RAID-1/5/6. It's not as protected as a real-time RAID-1/5/6, but it's the best and cheapest of both worlds. Also, if you've ever tried to restore a RAID-1/5/6, it takes much, MUCH longer than restoring a partition from a backup. I use Windows Home Server to do this for my ~60GB SSD partition and it is bloody quick (the one time I had to do it).

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