Intel announced today the new 520 Series solid-state storage code-named “Cherryville” and a number of tech websites and blogs already have their reviews up. The Verge has a nice review round up, and MacWorld’s own review provides an extensive overview of the pros and cons of the device. Fabbed on Intel’s 25nm Multi-Level Cell process, the 520 boasts sequential read/write performance of 550/520MBps when using a system with a SATA 3.0 6Gbps interface. The spec sheet positions the 520 Series as a solution for media creators and tech enthusiasts.
Still, Samsung’s comparable 830 Series came in fastest during Tech Report’s review (see the chart below the fold), with sequential read/write speeds of 500/350MBps on a SATA 3.0 6Gbps interface. We reviewed the Samsung 830 and found it to be the fastest available. In addition, the 830 SSD is almost $150 cheaper and it is going into MacBook Airs soon, unlike the 520 Series that comes in a 2.5-inch form factor—so it only fits inside MacBook and MacBook Pros.
MacWorld’s review achieved read-writes of 303/324MBps (sequential) and 303/338MBps (random) with Xbench 1.3 and 456/241MBps in read/writes using Blackmagic benchmarking software with 4K blocks. The 520 Series also has lower-than-usual power requirements and delights with strong data protection and compression features…
Power requirements of the 520 Series are modest at just 5.25 volts while operating and 600 mill watts when idle, making the unit a convenient upgrade for MacBook Pro owners. In MacWorld’s review, the 520 Series scored 280/280MBps in sequential read/write tests on a SATA 2.0 3Gbps interface. This is Intel’s fastest enterprise-class SSD yet, and it is the first to feature the SandForce SFI-2281 NAND flash controller that is notably faster compared to the last-gen controller. Security features on the 520 Series include 256-bit AES encryption technology that keeps your data safe in the event of theft or loss of your computer.
Intel also included so-called “End to End Data Protection” that ensures integrity of stored data from the computer to the SSD and back. As for compression features, Intel is citing a rate of about 60 percent for three out of four common file types, claiming Microsoft documents can be compressed at a compression rate of up to 85 percent.
The 520 Series SSD is available in 60/120/180/240/480GB flavors. There will also be a 1TB version fabbed on a 20nm process, coming “later this year.” The 520 Series comes with a five-year limited warranty versus a three-year warranty for the older 510 Series SSD. An extended warranty is important given how today’s SSDs are still prone to wear, despite special technologies that improve flash memory chips’ reliability and the number of deletions.
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