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Intel 525 Series mSATA SSD Review: Five Capacities Tested - Specifications, Pricing and Availability

Intel 525 Series mSATA SSD Review: Five Capacities Tested
Chris takes five Intel mSATA SSDs from the 525 Series for a spin. The mSATA standard is all around you in new products and you might not even know your new notebook has an open mSATA slot.
| SSDs in Storage | Posted: Apr 3, 2013 11:01 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Intel

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

 

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Intel does a very good job publishing SSD specifications. The Intel 525 Series is comprised of six product SKUs separated by capacity size. The capacity sizes offered are 30GB, 60GB, 90GB, 120GB, 180GB and 240GB. We have five in the lab and will share our thoughts today.

 

With such a wide range of capacity sizes, it would be difficult for Intel to release a series wide spec sheet with all the same performance metrics for each model. We've seen other companies do that in the past, but Intel took the time to do it right and educate the public.

 

The two highest capacity models (240GB and 180GB) share the exact same specifications even though they have a different number of NAND flash chips. The 90GB and 180GB models are the only 525 Series SSD with only three NAND flash chips, the others use four 25nm chips. The claimed performance is 550MB/s sequential read, 520MB/s sequential read. Random IOPS comes to 50K read and 60K write. Further down the capacity scale we found varying levels of performance, but as with most other SSDs, the larger the drive, the better the performance.

 

Intel's 525 Series uses LSI SandForce's SF-2281 controller and pairs it with Intel 25nm synchronous flash. Intel used the standard 2281 controller and not the new B02 stepping that further reduces power consumption. This caught us off guard since we already have B02 silicon in the lab from other manufacturers. Using reliable and proven controllers is the Intel way so jumping on B02 just because it's new and a little better doesn't fit Intel's model.

 

The four largest capacity sizes ship with a five year warranty and the 30GB size has a three year warranty. Newegg has stock listed for all six sizes. The 30GB ($59.99), 60GB ($109.99), 90GB ($139.99), 120GB ($169.99), 180GB ($229.99) and 240GB ($289.99) all fail to pass the $1 per GB mark that we like to see. Only a few retail mSATA drives meet that mark and as far as I know the 525 Series is the only retail mSATA drive to use 5K P/E cycle flash.

 

Intel's SSD Toolbox works with the 525 Series like most other Intel SSDs. This adds to the overall value since the software brings many nice features to the product.

 

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