In early January we had delivered Linux Solid-State Drive Benchmarks of an OCZ Core Series V2 SSD, which was a low-cost low-capacity single-cell drive. The increased performance and decreased power consumption compared to a 5400RPM Serial ATA 2.0 hard drive was nice for a netbook, but how are the higher-end solid-state drives performing? In this article, we have a high-performance Intel X25-E Extreme SSD on a System76 notebook running Ubuntu Linux.
Last year Intel had entered the disk storage industry with the introduction of a few ultra-fast (and ultra expensive) solid-state drives. Making up Intel's SSD offerings are presently the X18-M, X25-E, X25-M, Z-P140, and Z-P230. The Z-P140/Z-P230 are lower-priced PATA-based solid-state drives while the X18/25 series are their high-performance SATA devices. While still expensive, the X18-M and X25-M are designed to be Intel's mainstream SATA SSDs. The X18-M has a 1.8" form factor while the X25-M is the more common 2.5" size. The Intel X25-M is available in an 80GB capacity with a price tag just under $360 USD while the 160GB model will set you back nearly $750 USD. However, Intel's current flagship model is the X25-E Extreme. With the premium on this new technology, the 32GB Intel X25-E Extreme model will currently set you back over $400 USD. There is also a 64GB version of the X25-E Extreme.
The Intel X25-E Extreme SSD that we happen to have our hands on courtesy of System76 is designed for servers, mass storage, and workstations. The X25-E is an SLC SSD and has 10 parallel NAND flash channels, a read latency of 75 microseconds, designed for Serial ATA 2.0 (3.0Gb/s) with NCQ usage, and 2.5" by 7mm form factor. Intel rates the X25-E to have a life expectancy of 2 million hours MTBF. The operating shock that this drive should be able to sustain is 1,000G and its operating range is between 0°C and 70°C. With solid-state drives also come lower power consumption, and the Intel X25-E is rated for 2.4 Watts under a typical server load and 0.06 Watts while idling. The Intel X25-E 32GB SSD is rated to sustain sequential reads up to 250MB/s and sequential writes up to 170MB/s.