Over the last few months we have seen a pretty broad range of solid state drives from many manufacturers. The truth is that many of those drives have come from only two sources, Samsung being the largest. SSD's are made up of two primary parts, the NAND flash memory and the controller which handles everything from I/O requests to managing the wear leveling algorithm. In typical Intel fashion everything for the X25-M was designed in house, sort of like the way Core i7 was designed to work with the X58 chipset. Intel was able to use their manufacturing and design strengths to make a product that gels seamlessly.
Up until now most multi-level cell SSDs came with a bit of baggage. There are reports all over the internet claiming poor real world performance and we are able to see the instances where write speeds drop off, even if for a millisecond or two. When working with applications, a couple of milliseconds is enough to cause the system to pause for a couple of seconds. Some users have reported crash-like symptoms with most other MLC SSDs, but the Intel X25-M has far fewer than the other drives we have seen. To just come right out with it, Intel has perfected the MLC SSD and all of the others have been left behind.
Still, no matter how good Intel's new X25-M is, there is the nagging price issue at hand. Many users may prefer to take the bad with the good with the low cost SSDs on the market and just live with a moment or two a day of poor performance. Those that are looking for a no compromise solution and have the wallet to back it up should get in line for the X25-M, because you will not find anything better at its price; MLC or SLC.
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