As memory chip manufacturers develop better and cheaper manufacturing processes, the computer storage market is quickly becoming saturated by Solid-State Drives. On the bandwagon, Intel is quickly developing gamer and enthusiast class 34nm NAND Flash memory for their Solid-State Drives.
Intel markets their X25-M Mainstream SATA Solid-State Drives towards gamers, claiming they will provide greater gaming performance over mechanical drives. Will the X25-M really get us into the game faster? Let’s have a look.
OEM drives, as reviewed, come in a small, plain cardboard box with a foam protector, and with a “My SSD rocks!” sticker. Retail drives, however, come in the same Intel boxes we have come to know and love over the years, along with a 3.5” drive bay adapter and mounting hardware.
The X25-M drives were tested and compared against two Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB drives, in both single drive and RAID 0 (128k Stripe) configurations. The test bed was completed with the following:
The system was left at stock clocks, and BIOS was left at default settings except for SATA RAID mode for all configurations. A single X25-M was tested first with a fresh install of Windows 7 Pro x64, latest motherboard and video drivers, benchmarking applications and game installs. The configurations also received fresh installs of Windows, but the Windows Easy Transfer tool was used to transfer settings and applications. Thus, all configurations used the same settings, drivers and applications. Page filing and disabled system restore and hibernation were the only notable modifications to Windows 7.
Applications used for benchmarking include: