Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Before we get started with testing let's recap the new Intel 520 Series 240GB SSD, the same units we are using two of today in RAID 0.
The Intel 520 Series replaces the 510 Series and becomes Intel's second generation consumer SATA III drive. Newegg already lists the five capacity models as in stock and shipping. Those capacities are 60GB, 120GB, 180GB, 240GB and a massive 480GB size. Prices range from around $150 to just over $1000 for the big boy. The 240GB drives we are testing today are listed at Newegg for around $550 with the full retail kit and $10 less for the OEM 'drive only' product.
The 520 Series 240GB drive produces 550MB/s sequential read and 520MB/s sequential write speeds (compressible data). Random IOPS are rated at 50K read and 60K write. I think everyone has seen these numbers before and I can just chime in and say typical SandForce SF-2281 controller performance when paired with IMFT 25nm synchronous flash.
What isn't covered when I say SF-2281 / 25nm sync flash is what Intel brought to the 2281 in reliability terms. The 520 Series uses a unique Intel only firmware that was co-developed with SandForce. The 520 Series is the only SandForce based SSD to use the special sauce. I spent a little time thinking about this whole special firmware earlier today and it affects pricing. This is what I came up with.
When you go to a bar they have their house vodka and their top shelf brands. Hopefully you are spending time at a place that uses at least Sky as their house brand. For most occasions your Sky Vodka does the trick and everyone is happy. Then there are your special occasions (like celebrating Tuesday) when you want something with a little more class. This is when you start tapping into the top shelf brands like Gray Goose and Belvedere. The new Intel 520 Series is your top shelf liquor, when you want the best.
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