Intel SSD 510 120GB Features & Design

The SSD 510 comes in 120GB ($270) and 250GB ($590) capacities, both of which drop Intel's traditional 7mm design that uses a shim to reach the 9.5mm thickness of a standard 2.5" drive. The drives casing now measures 3.92 x 2.74 x 0.37" (99.8 x 69.63 x 9.5mm) and weighs 0.18lbs (81.6 grams).

The 120GB version boasts read and write speeds of 450MB/s and 210MB/s, while the larger 250GB version is considerably faster at 500MB/s reads and 315MB/s writes. Naturally, the SATA 6Gb/s interface is essential to achieving these staggering read speeds, but this presents a minor issue: Intel's new Sandy Bridge platform is the only one to provide native SATA 6Gb/s support -- and it does so with only two ports.

Third party embedded solutions such as the Marvell 88SE9128 can provide motherboards with SATA 6Gb/s support, but have very poor performance compared to Intel's implementation. That said, there is a new Marvell 88SE9182 controller that can match the performance of Intel's 6 series chipsets, so it's fair to say that support for the 6Gb/s SATA interface is improving.

The 510 Series consumes a mere 380 milliwatts of power when in use and 100 milliwatts in standby, which is considerably lower than drives such as the OCZ Vertex 3.

As mentioned earlier, the SSD 510 comes loaded with 34nm MLC NAND flash memory. Our review sample has sixteen 8GB Intel/Micron 29F16B08JAMDD ICs for a total capacity of 128GB.

Once formatted in Windows, the original 128GB drops to 111GiB, meaning you lose roughly 13% from the GB to GiB conversion along with the spare area. With an MSRP of $270, the SSD 510 120GB costs $2.25 per gigabyte, which is average by SSD standards.

Intel has given the SSD 510 a MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) rating of 1.2 million hours. Although this is lower than the 1.5 million hours that most manufacturers rate their SSDs at, Intel has an impeccable track record for reliability and the SSD 510 series goes through the same validation and testing as previous SSDs.

Furthermore, Intel's three-year warranty should let customers sleep comfortably at night knowing they're covered for a reasonable timeframe.