I have to admit, the first time I heard Intel was using a 3rd party Marvel controller my stomach turned around. The previous success of the X25 series SSDs was mostly tied to the usage of Intel's own ICs, including their proprietary controller. Placing a Marvel IC on there thus got me a little worried.
In retrospect though, your SSD is as good as its controller and firmware is, and it's clear that Intel certainly did their homework on this product but yeah, they did lose a bit of their 'niche'.
Here's the thing, if OCZ had not released their Vertex 3 series... we would have been flabbergasted by the performance we've seen today. But OCZ did release that product and it's definitely a notch faster.
Then again, the Intel 510 series does man up really well in sustained reads and writes, and sure -- peak performance is as advertised, TRIM works fast and efficient and the biggest gain of course is SATA III 6G compatibility allowing this SSD to peak to excellent READ/WRITE values.
When we zoom in a little at performance, the loss for the Intel 510 series needs to be found in random read/write performance. Compared to SandForce 2000 based products the difference in-between is like night and day.
We hope to see some good availability of Intel's 510 series SSD product line as that right now is a bit of an issue. Perhaps in April/May this SSD will reach volume availability. So if you are in the market for an SSD of this caliber and can find it in e-tail, then by all means do not hesitate. This is a fully fledged blazing fast SSD. Turn on AHCI in your BIOS, and you'll have TRIM, NCQ and hot-swappability available for you as well.
The 250GB model as tested today costs an arm and a leg at 580 USD and sure it's a huge chunk of money. But as always, an SSD is going to really speed up your PC's overall performance in terms of access times, noise and power consumption.
What motherboard SATA controller to use? Currently the only viable embedded SATA III motherboard controller is to be found in the native SATA III Intel H67/P67 chipset based products. We found that the Marvel SATA III controllers that have been inserted as an option on many motherboards really underperforms with faster SATA III SSDs. Keep that in mind please, Sandy Bridge platforms are the way to go here.
The 510 series SSD line is going to be a strong and reasonably competitive SSD in a large and wide retail arena. And though an incredibly good product, we doubt a little whether or not the 510 is going to be competitive enough measured against the Vertex 3 series from OCZ, as the difference in performance is quite big. And obviously more manufacturers will jump on the SandForce 2200 series based products then just OCZ.
It works vice versa as well, since Intel opted for a Marvell 9174 controller you'll see a lot of similar products from Corsair and Crucial, as everyone can get their hands on the same controller and NAND flash ICs. So that means even more competition amongst the manufacturers. And that's always a good thing for you as a consumer of course, as it will bring down SSD prices.
Regardless of all comments and me perhaps being overly critical, the Intel 510 SSD series offers beastly performance and comes recommended, of course. It's a kickass product.
Intel 510 SSD review Intel releases their latest SSD which was developed under the codename "Elm Crest" and it's Intel's first 6Gbs SSD, the Intel 510 Series SSD. Obviously the product is aimed at PC enthusiasts, gamers and workstation users. The 2.5" 9.5mm drive is available in two capacities: 120GB and 250GB.