When we go shopping for computer parts, we rarely point to a specific product and say that's the model I want and I'm going to save up until I can buy it. The process generally starts out a bit different and based on what's free in our bank account. I have $100, $200 or $300 and I'm going to buy a new SSD or a new SSD and RAM or whatever we are trying to group together on the same receipt. 256GB class SSDs are on many wish lists, but the financials don't always pan out.
At $174.99, the Intel 335 Series 180GB brings 240GB performance down to more affordable levels. There are a few 240GB SandForce based drives at around the same price, but many of those use asynchronous NAND and are much slower than the Intel 335 Series. Compared to 128GB class drives, the Intel 335 180GB costs a bit more, but offers more capacity and compared to other LSI SandForce 120GB drives, delivers better performance.
The 335's most impressive feature is the low power consumption. Intel managed to reduce both idle and active power by more than half over both the 520 and 330 Series. When we first reviewed the 335 Series 240GB, we thought the lower power consumption was a direct result of the 20nm flash, but now that we've seen other SandForce drives with 20nm, we know it was more than just the flash.
For the last six months we spent a lot of time studying the power consumption results and talking with engineers about what effects power consumption. Not all SSDs are created equally and you can't lump all Marvell, all SandForce, or all LAMD drives together. On the chart today we saw the OCZ Vertex 3.20, another drive using Intel 20nm flash and it uses more power than the 335 Series. We've learned that the other components, such as the unnamed surface mount components, also play a large role in power consumption. Intel obviously uses higher quality, or at least more efficient components, than many of the other companies.
This doesn't surprise us and it shouldn't surprise our readers either. In many cases Intel products cost more than competitors and the blanket statement has always been more compatibility, more reliability, more validation and higher quality components. It isn't often we can show component quality or efficiency, but with SSDs we can. SSDs also allow us to see how more efficient components affect real-world use.