Intel 520 Series 120GB RAID Review
Article Publish Date:
For over a year now we have seen variations of LSI SandForce 2281 controlled drives come and go. Typically they have all pretty much have the same performance results depending on what type of NAND they are utilizing. Asynchronous NAND equipped drives typically score around 76,000 in Vantage HDD testing. Synchronous and Toggle NAND equipped drives typically scoring around 78-79,000 in Vantage HDD testing. The Main difference between the drives being the enclosure and the warranty; nearly all use the same firmware.
Intel changed that recently with the introduction of their 520 series of SandForce driven SSD’s. Intel created their own firmware for the drive to solve reliability issues with the LSI SandForce Controller. They seem to have been successful in accomplishing the goal of greater reliability and ending the BSOD problems experienced by some users with the LSI SandForce Controller. This was a big step in the right direction and gave consumers a rock solid choice for the speed of a LSI SandForce Controlled drive combined with reliability that was sorely needed.
We tested a single 120GB Intel 520 and to our surprise it turned out to be the best overall drive we have tested to date. What made this drive special was its ability to best even the Extreme 240GB when it came to Vantage Data on Disk testing. Scoring over 58,000 at 50% full is the best we have seen for any drive to date. This drive has it all amazing reliability and umber performance especially as it fills up which is the most important factor in our opinion. The other thing we liked is that unlike drives with 5 series firmware TRIM functions as it should. Unlike drives with 5 series firmware that can score 85,000 to 86,000 Vantage and then crumble as they fill up and do not recover very much when data is deleted this drive with Intel’s firmware while scoring only 79,000 vantage doesn’t crumble as it fills up and TRIM fully recovers the performance.
Enough with the gushing over the 520; we believe it to be the top performing drive to date but that’s only half the story. The only thing better than a top tier drive is more than 1 in a RAID 0 configuration. For your viewing pleasure we have 2 of these top performing drives really laid bare and maxed out.