Respectable performance and relatively inexpensive
The last time we heard from Intel's SDD department it was throwing around its performance-oriented 520 Series SSD that rocked a SandForce controller and custom Intel firmware with 25nm NAND flash. That drive earned a 9 verdict from us (April 2012) but no Kick Ass award, as its performance was about equal to its peers’ but not better. The crux of that drive was SandForce performance with Intel reliability, and though that's a potent combo, it's one that came in the form of a higher price tag. With Intel’s new budget-oriented 335 Series SSD, that tax is gone, as this drive is priced right below $200, the current sweet spot for 240/256GB SSDs. It still has the same SandForce SF-2281 controller and the same Intel reliability, but includes new smaller-die 20nm MLC NAND flash. The smaller flash marks the industry's foray into the 20nm era, and Intel is the first manufacturer to take us there.
Note: This review first appeared in the January 2013 issue of the magazine.