Intel SSD 520 Series 120GB review

Sweet-spot pricing, but slightly lacking in performance

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  • Speedy performance in most benchmarks
  • Intel's given the firmware a damn good polish


  • Write performance a little patchy
  • Not clearly faster than other SandForce drives

The 120GB could be the SSD sweet-spot, but can Intel's SSD 520 Series 120GB drive hit that head-on?

Intel has done the obvious thing and stuck a SandForce controller in its desktop SSDs.

If the larger members of the new 520 Series, like the Intel SSD 520 240GB, are a little punitive on pricing, what about the Intel SSD 520 Series 120GB, could it offer the best compromise between price, performance and capacity?

One thing it certainly shares with the larger 520 Series solid state drive is Intel's SSD firmware development and validation regime.

Intel ssd 520 series 120gb

It will take time for the true long-term performance of this latest Intel SSD family to shake out, but Intel has a well-earned reputation in this area.

The only slight snag is that smaller drives make for fewer memory chips and in turn fewer memory channels and a little less performance.

The optimal drive for performance in the range is the Intel SSD 520 Series 240GB model. But that's a much more expensive drive.

Instead this 120GB drive must do battle with the likes of the Corsair Force GT 120GB and OCZ's Vertex 3 120GB.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSolid State Drive
Product FamilyCherryville 520
Drive InterfaceSATA
Drive Width2.5"
Drive Interface StandardSATA/600
Brand NameIntel
Drive TypeInternal
Storage Capacity120 GB
Maximum Read Transfer Rate550 MBps
Maximum Write Transfer Rate520 MBps
Product Series520
ManufacturerIntel Corporation
Product NameCherryville 520 Series MLC Solid State Drive
Product LineCherryville
Manufacturer Part NumberSSDSC2CW120A3K5
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Intel Solid-State Drives represent a revolutionary breakthrough that delivers a giant leap in storage performance. Unlike hard disk drives, Intel SSDs have no moving parts, resulting in a quiet, cool, highly rugged storage solution that also offers faster system responsiveness.

Drawing from decades of memory engineering experience, and industry-leading, compute-quality NAND Flash memory manufacturing processes, Intel SSDs are designed to deliver outstanding performance for a wide range of computing applications. Intel SSDs also feature low write amplification and a unique wear-leveling design for higher reliability, meaning Intel SSDs not only perform better-they last longer.

Packaged Quantity1