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Intel 520 Series SSD

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Intel 520 Series SSD

Post  Naveen Mohan on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:20 pm

Intel Solid-State Drive 520 Series (180GB, SATA-600)

The 2.5-inch standard Intel 520 Series SSD comes with the same SandForce controller as many others on the market but with special firmware, version 400i, developed by Intel to improve performance. The drive's also aesthetically pleasing and rugged with an all-aluminum casing, and comes with all you need to install it in a desktop computer.
The Intel 520 Series SSD is a special solid-state drive. For one, it's only 7 millimeters thick, whereas the standard SSD thickness is 9.5mm. This is basically another push of Intel to promote its ultrabook campaign. To make it also fit in a standard 9mm, 2.5-inch hard-drive bay, the drive comes with a frame piece on top that adds another 2.5mm. This piece can be taken off, but then you will need four shorter screws to keep it in the 7mm design. These screws are unfortunately not included, but they seem to be standard screws that you might be able to find at a hardware store.
The second rather unusual aspect of the drive's design is the fact that its housing is made entirely of aluminum, making it both attractive and sturdy. And finally, the drive comes with all the accessories you'd need to use it with a desktop computer, including a SATA cable, a Molex-to-SATA power cable, a 3.5-inch mounting bracket, and mounting screws.
The 520 Series will work in any SATA application, including most ultraportable laptops, all standard laptops, and all desktops. To make it an easy replacement for a hard drive, Intel also provides free data migration software, which is a rebranded version of Acronis True Image that helps make moving the entire existing system to a new drive easier.

While the drive uses a SandForce controller, it comes with Intel's new 400i firmware designed to offer much better performance than other drives with the same controller. The drive supports SATA 3 (6Gbps) but will work with the original SATA (1.5 Gpbs), SATA 2 (3Gbps), and SATA 3 (6Gbps). To get its top performance, you should use it with a computer that supports SATA 3.
According to Intel, the new drive support AES 256-bit data encryption. I tried with different platforms and different RAID setups and it worked well with all of them. Like all SSDs, the 520 Series can handle shocks and uses much less energy than a traditional hard drive. The drive is available in 60GB, 120GB, 180GB (unusual), 240GB, and 480GB capacities.

The good: The 2.5-inch Intel 520 Series SSD supports SATA 3 (6Gbps) and offers great performance. The drive is housed in an all-aluminum casing and comes with all you need to use it as a hard-drive replacement for a laptop (ultraportable or standard) or a desktop computer.
The bad: The Intel 520 Series SSD is comparatively expensive and its low-profile screws are not included.
The bottom line: If priced a little lower, the Intel 520 Series SSD would be an ideal investment for those who want to greatly improve their computer's overall performance. For now, it's still an excellent drive.
Naveen Mohan
Naveen Mohan

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