|Intel SSD 320 Series Solid State Drive|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 15 June 2011|
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Intel SSD 320 Series Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
Our performance rating considers how effective the Intel SSD 320 Series Solid State Drive performs in operations against direct competitor storage solutions. For reference, Intel specifies the SSD 320 Series with 270 MB/s read and 165 MB/s write, and capable of up to 60,000 combined maximum IOPS. In our SSD benchmark tests, the 160GB Intel SSD 320 Series Solid State Drive, model SSDSA2CW160G3, performed at or above these transfer speeds. Our test results proved the Intel SSD 320 Series was good for delivering 283/175 MBps peak read and writes speeds using ATTO Disk Benchmark SSD speed tests while Everest Disk Benchmark produced 261/168 MBps.
The 160GB retail kit SSDSA2CW160G3 that Intel sent us for testing is advertised to deliver 60,000 maximum combined IOPS, however there's no indication of what test tool or configuration was used to reach this figure. Using our own Iometer operational performance tests, configured for a queue depth of 32 outstanding I/O's per target, the Intel SSD 320 Series measured 19,280 combined IOPS performance. In the 4K 32QD tests with AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark, the Intel SSD 320 Series was roughly on-par with the SLC-based Intel SSD 311 Series. With the results we've received in our tests, hardware enthusiasts can expect very good operational performance and storage functionality for demanding applications and extreme I/O environments.
Solid State Drives are low-visibility products: you see them just long enough to install and then they're forgotten. Like their Hard Disk Drive counterparts, Solid State Drives are meant to place function before fashion. Anything above and beyond a simple metal shell is already more than what's expected in terms of the appearance. Intel uses a textured metal finish on the SSD 320 Series, with a branding label on the top for identification. As solid state storage controllers become faster and more advanced, heat dissipation through the enclosure walls may demand that chassis designs become more beneficial than they previously needed to be. This isn't the case yet, and a smooth metal chassis suits modern SSDs nicely.
Construction is probably the strongest feature credited to the entire SSD product segment, and Intel products have never offered any exception. Solid State Drives are by nature immune to most abuses, but add to this a hard metal shell and you have to wonder what it would take to make this drive fail. If any Intel 320 Series SSD product fails during the limited 5-year warranty period, end-users can contact Intel's customer support. I've personally used Intel's warranty service, and found their customer support to be among the very best.
In terms of overall value, the 160GB Intel SSD 320 Series Solid State Drive offers consumers a sizable amount of super-fast storage for a fair price. As of mid-June 2011, the SSDSA2CW160G3 model costs $305 at Amazon or Newegg. Intel offers the SSD 320 Series in several capacities, ranging from 40-600GB. Both online retailers carry brown-box OEM and retail-packaged versions of each drive, so there's definitely something to match everyone's needs.
In summary, there's a lot worth considering in the Intel SSD 320 Series. If you're shopping for a solid state drive with a modest budget, the Intel SSD 320 Series should be on your wish list. This SSD competes against first-generation SandForce and second-generation Indilinx products, and comes with the industry's best MLC NAND flash components. While the speeds may not be those we've seen from recent SATA 6Gb/s storage products, the price closely matches competing products of the same capacity. This shifts the value to customer support and warranty, two important qualities that Intel is well-know for. Based on our on the combined value and performance, the Intel SSD 320 Series earns our Silver Tachometer Award.
+ Capacities available from 40GB-600GB
- Faster current-generation SSDs exist
Final Score: 8.8 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
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