After receiving an Intel SSD it is immediately obvious that this is a company who know how to look after their consumers. This starts with the decision to bundle all of the cables and screws required along with a drive bay convertor, items many manufacturers omit. Then we have a good software bundle which helps novice users migrate from their existing drive with ease and then maintain it over the life of the system. In addition to this, quick access to Secure Erase in Windows application gives enthusiast users the tool they require to maximise performance.
The positive customer experience continues with the drive itself which has a high quality casing and inside we find top quality Intel MLC NAND chips, branded DDR3 and proven controller in the form of Marvells 88SS9174 based chip. Admittedly it would have been nice to see 2x nanometer used on this drive however it is not a huge issue.
In terms of performance there are a lot of positives to take from the results in this review but lets start with the one negative. Whether testing with IOMeter or another tool such as CrystalDiskMark the 4k (QD32) performance of the drive is somewhat lacking. In past generations this caused issues for Samsung and their drives as they were seen not to compare well with the other drives released at that time. Back then, when there was a lot of doom and gloom about those Samsung based drives, we commented on how we felt they were perfectly acceptable for use in Windows and for those looking past the synthetic results to real world use they would actually find a drive which outperformed the better performing 4k drives in tasks such as file copy operations. In addition to this we have seen, over time, that the Samsung based drives were second only to Intel in reliability.
Due to this we have no issues with the scores achieved by Intel on our CrystalDiskMark page, especially when we see the results from the real world tests. Yes it would be great if Intel can enhance the performance further in their custom firmware however as things stand the 510 series exceeds the performance of drives based on the original SandForce, Indilinx and Marvell controllers by some way. Something which is as true for file copy operations as it is system maintenance and application/game launching. Really only drives based on the newest SandForce chipset can compete and those are not available to buy yet, the Intel 510 Series is on eShelves now.
In terms of value, Intel offers plenty of aspects which enhance their product. We start with a decent 3-year warranty. This is backed up by a good software suite (including a free copy of Total War: Shogun 2 in some stores), all of the bundled items which a consumer will require and knowledge that Intel firmware updates are always quick and easy to perform. In addition to this we have to note, as always, that our experience with Intel SSDs has shown them to be the most reliable, compatible and stable of all the drives we have tested over the past few years which itself adds huge value to the product.
We often talk about products being well rounded and with their 510 Series SSD Intel have created a product which excels in this area. It offers excellent performance, a good bundle, decent warranty and comes from a manufacturer with a proven reliability and support record. An excellent, highly recommended SSD.
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