SandForce was an unknown newcomer to the solid-state drive business when they announced their first SF-1000 storage controller in 2009. Still, many memory manufacturers saw the chip's potential and quickly adopted it, including A-Data, Corsair, G.Skill, OCZ, Patriot, Super Talent, and the list went on.
Hence, it was no surprise that the second generation controller became widespread in no time. SandForce had made a name for itself and a faster controller was the key element in building faster SSDs. Known as the SF-2200, the consumer-grade controller was released in early 2011 with SATA 6Gbps support and read and write speeds of over 500MB / s. This is a staggering number compared to its predecessor.
The first product based on this controller was the popular OCZ Vertex 3 drive, but many others have followed, for better or for worse. It has been rumored since last year that even Intel is joining the party. As you may know, the SF-2000 series SSDs suffered from a number of fatal bugs (BSODs, random freezes, etc.) for the first 6 months, we believe Intel's plans will be delayed.
It's not the first time Intel has used third-party controllers. In fact, Intel previously preferred the Marvell "Van Gogh" 88SS9174 for its SSD 510 series. Since the days of the original X25-M-SSD, Intel solid-state storage products have been recognized as the most stable and reliable on the market. Now that the company is ready to use the SF-2281, it proves that the controller has reached a certain desired level of maturity.
Like the company with previous SSD products, Intel adopted the SandForce SF-2281 controller, but helped define and validate the firmware for a unique Intel implementation. In other words, despite using the same controller, the SSD 520 series drives differ from similar products in terms of performance and reliability.
The Intel SSD 520 series will be available in capacities of 60 GB, 120 GB, 180 GB, 240 GB and 480 GB. Pricing for the 60GB model starts at $ 150. The 240 GB version we tested is said to cost $ 510, while the flagship 480 GB model returns a whopping $ 1,000. If this price is correct, the SSD 520 series is significantly more expensive than existing SF-2281 drives. Read on to learn more about Intel's new premium consumer SSD.