Since their first SSD Intel have taken a few approaches to building the devices. Initially they went with their own controllers within the drives and it is fair to say that those drives were some of the best in early generations. Since then we have seen them dabble with updated controllers under their own brand, try out Marvell and more recently release a Sandforce based drive in the form of the 520 series. Regardless of the controller one thing has been constant though, their own NAND flash and with it some high reliability and performance.
Due to the product software and support along with the use of high quality NAND Intel’s 520 Series drives were (and are) some of the best Sandforce drives available but they do sit at the top of the price and performance range. Where some manufacturers release drives with lower specification chips to fill the lower price points Intel are taking a different approach with the 330 Series, today we find out how it performs.
Packaging and Bundle
Intel package their new 330 Series products in a box almost identical to the 520 models with some of the key features listed. Inside we find a thorough bundle which includes manual, support CD, case sticker and desktop kit. The desktop kit allows those who don’t have a case which supports 2.5" drives to install the 330 Series in a 3.5" bay.
Available on Intel’s website is the SSD Toolbox, now on Version 3. This small application allows us to monitor and maintain our drive over time. On the first screen we get a breakdown of the drive specifications and elsewhere, in the System Tuner screen we can tweak our system settings to get the best performance from the drive.
Under the Diagnostic Scan tab we can run read and write tests on the drive to check it for hard errors. The Secure Erase tab lets us wipe the drive to a factory state, wiping any data we do not want to keep. The final tab of note is Firmware Update which allows us to flash the drive should a new update be released which adds functionality, speed or reliability tweaks.
NOTE: Intel also provide users with data migration software which moves our current OS to the new Intel drive quickly and easily.