Intel 510 SSD review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 03/17/2011 02:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
The SSD NAND FLASH partitions
So the storage unit we'll be testing today is a 250GB version. Here's how that works. Intel places a NAND flash partition of 16 ICs onto one PCB. The 250GB partition will get tied to the all new Marvell 9174 controller based IC assigned for multi-channel IO. The Marvell 9174 controllers fully support TRIM by the way. Marvell, opposed to SandForce, uses cache memory; Intel certainly increased in that area going from 32MB to a whopping 128MB of it, obviously to be able to deal with storing small files real fast.
After a format of the SSD, out of the 250GB advertised merely 232GB remains available for usage, that's a 7% loss of space to what is advertised.
Now we mentioned it already, but the Marvell 9174 controller will support up to roughly 470MB/s sequential read and write speeds, that's 60MB/s per one of the available eight channels. Combined, the bandwidth is impressive for a single non RAID drive.
The SSD - PCB with 16 Intel NAND flash memory ICs (8 on each side).
So what is SATA III (6G) all about?
SATA 6G (SATA III), this latest revision of your SATA storage unit connector, will increase the bandwidth on the SATA controller from 3 GBit/sec to 6 GBit/sec. For a regular HDD that is not really very important. But with the tremendous rise of fast SSD drives this really is a large plus. Typically we get 3000 Mbit/s : 8 = 375 MB/sec bandwidth minus overhead, tolerances error-correction and random occurrences.
SATA III is doubling it up, as such we get 6000 Mbit/sec : 8 = 750 MB/sec (again deduct overhead, tolerances error-correction and random occurrences) of available bandwidth for your storage devices. As you can understand, with SSDs getting faster and faster that's just a much warmed and welcomed increase of bandwidth.
Put SATA III in RAID and you'll have even more wicked performance at hand. Most motherboards offer only two ports per controller though, so you are (for now) limited to RAID 0 and RAID 1 (mirror or stripe).
Also there are two controllers currently being used for mainstream, currently the Sandy Bridge P67 platform offers the highest performing solution. Though still fast, any platform using the Marvell 9128 or 9130 will see lower performance scores as the Marvell controllers use a PCI-Express Gen2 x1 lane interface to the system which restricts performance a little. The internal processor in this chipset also limits IOPS by the way.
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.