Intel SSD 520 Series 240GB review

Intel's first serious SandForce SSD

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  • Terrific all-round performance
  • Intel SSDs have a strong reputation for reliability


  • Incompressible performance less than stellar
  • Same old SSD pricing problem

Intel is looking to SandForce to provide it with a performance-class SSD in the Intel SSD 520 Series 240GB.

It changed tack about a year ago and started using third-party controller chips in its consumer class solid state drives (SSDs). From that moment on, it was almost inevitable that a SandForce-powered Intel drive would eventually appear.

With the launch of the new Intel SSD 520 Series 240GB, and the other members of the 520 family, that day has finally come.

Of course, SandForce SSD controllers aren't perfect.

Thanks to the use of aggressive compression technology, impressive headline data transfer rates can sometimes translate into slightly pedestrian real-world performance. What's more, SandForce's second generation of controller chips suffered from a few stability glitches early on.

Intel ssd 520 series

Still, there's no doubting the popularity, success and strong, all round performance of SSDs based on the latest SandForce controller. Add in Intel's reputation for going the extra mile with SSD firmware quality control and validation and you have a very promising mix.

The task for the Intel SSD 520 Series 240GB is clear enough. Not only must it rise above the hordes of SandForce based drives, it must also take on the new pretender in the form of the OCZ Octane and its refreshed Indilinx controller.

Game on.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSolid State Drive
Product FamilyCherryville 520
Drive InterfaceSATA
Drive Width2.5"
Drive Interface StandardSATA/600
Brand NameIntel
Drive TypeInternal
Storage Capacity240 GB
Maximum Read Transfer Rate550 MBps
Maximum Write Transfer Rate520 MBps
Product Series520
ManufacturerIntel Corporation
Product NameCherryville 520 Series MLC Solid State Drive
Package TypeOEM
Product LineCherryville
Manufacturer Part NumberSSDSC2CW240A310
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