The term "affordable SSD" would describe the Intel X25-V 40GB solid state drive well. Making high performance available around the £80-£90 mark, this could well be the tipping point that gets everyone participating in the Solid State Drive revolution.
Intel X25-V: Introduction, Specifications
The Intel X25-V is one solid state drive (SSD) that can actually call itself affordable. The capacity and performance offered may be lower than the best SSD, but it does have an appeal at the budget end. Compared to ordinary hard disk drives, this SSD offers good read speed and great data access time. If the rest of your PC is fairly well configured, this drive might be just what you need to gain some more speed. Ready to take your first plunge into the world of SSD?
The Intel X25-V 40GB SSD provides 37.27 GB of usable space. The data capacity thus offered is more than sufficient for an install of Windows 7 (OS), Microsoft Office, Adobe CS and still leave space for a game, pagefile, and buffer drive space. Pretty good for a value SSD, eh?
This "boot drive" might be sufficient space for a business laptop, but a desktop PC user would definitely want to have a second drive to go with it, a normal hard disk drive which can be used as the storage ground for data that would not benefit from the speed (movies, music, application installation files, downloads, etc).
Intel X25-V: Specifications
As with most solid-state drives, the Intel X25-V 40GB SSD also uses MLC NAND flash (34nm process), can withstand light shocks, does not heat up in operation, and is silent. It is coloured metallic silver (not an issue since it will be used internally), looks like a standard laptop HDD, has a 2.5-inch form factor and uses the SATA-2 interface.
The package we received had only the SSD itself in OEM style, though a retail package exists with more accessories. Its silent operation and low power usage make it a good candidate for use on well-configured desktops/laptops and HTPC (Home Theatre PC) machines. As with all current SSDs, the X25-V supports NCQ operation (for better speed) and the TRIM command (keeps the SSD fast and alive for longer).
Compared to today’s mainstream HDDs that consume at least 5 Watts on average, the Intel X25-V SSD uses 0.15W while active and 0.075W at idle, which takes it into the arena of using just milli-Watts! Its idle power consumption is very low indeed, and if the rest of a laptop's components are frugal with power, this could mean improved battery life.
More details can be seen on this review's "Specifications" page or on Intel's web page for the drive. We run synthetic benchmarks and real world tests using the fastest PC components, to remove most bottlenecks that hold back performance. Click on the "Next" arrow or go to Page 2 for graphs of performance tests, comparing this drive to the Intel X25-M 80GB SSD, Strontium 64GB SSD, and Kingston SSDNow V+ 64GB SSD. Click on the "Performance" tab of this review to directly view the performance details of only this drive in tabulated form.
Intel X25-V: Performance, Conclusion
Intel X25-V: Synthetic Tests
In synthetic tests, read speeds averaged a consistent 186.3 MB/s – right across the drive, without a dip in the speed graph. Synthetic write speeds averaged a consistent 42.1 MB/s across the graph.
Speed Chart - Intel X25-V Synthetic Tests
The Intel X25-V SSD obtained 33,545 points in the PC Mark 05 HDD Suite index. We saw a CPU utilisation of 1 percent. Random read/write access times averaged 0.03 ms and 0.05 ms. In comparison, average desktop drives average 75 MB/s read, 60 MB/s write, and 12 milli-seconds random access time. In making sense of these numbers, remember higher read/write speed is to be interpreted as good, and lower access time is good.
Intel X25-V: Real-world Tests
Real world write speed while copying a single large file of 6.42 GB onto the SSD stood at 40.5 MB/s. Copying multiple smaller files (800 files totaling up to 6.36 GB) onto the SSD was slower as is normal, at 21 MB/s. Copying multiple small files from one partition to another (intra-disk file transfer speed), was at 18.4 MB/s. The reverse, copying large and small files from this SSD on to our reference virtual RAM drive (which simulates a hard drive) was quick - the SSD supplied data at 168.1 MB/s which is good for real-world read speed.
Speed Chart - Intel X25-V Real World Tests
No particularly remarkable "stutter" was seen at 4KB file size. We found that the Windows boot/reboot, application and game startup times improved drastically - graphs were not included since this varied a lot even when the hardware was unchanged. That an SSD can improve system performance is established knowledge – see our comparison of SSD versus HDD to see proof of the difference in numbers. Intel offers a three-year warranty on this product.
A much cheaper normal spinning HDD can turn in better write speeds while writing small file-sizes and while transferring data between partitions on the same drive. However, over 90 per cent of normal daily PC usage involves disk reads, so the fast read speed and low access time means an SSD will "feel" faster than a HDD in the real world.
NEXT: our expert verdict >>