Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Intel SSD 320

This would be my second solid state disk. I finally got to the bottom of the occasional (but getting more frequent) problems with freezing that occurs a few seconds after resuming from sleep on my MacBook Pro. After a fresh installation of Mac OS X Lion and replacing all other hardware, the only thing left to suspect was my OCZ Vertex 2 SSD. It was somehow locking up. So I’ve sent it in for RMA. Sadly it would take about 4 weeks to get a replacement.

I couldn’t wait 4 weeks without an SSD. So, I started scouring for solutions, and decided I would invest in another SSD. It seems the market has gone toward SATA3, and SATA3 SSDs are awfully expensive. I have no use for SATA3. So I limited my search to SATA2 devices, and with capacities of at least 160GB. Although SSDs have dropped in price, they are still quite pricey. After almost a year since I got my OCZ Vertex 2, it seems the choices have not changed much: the OCZ Vertex 2 is still in the market, and now joined by the Intel SSD 320.

Should I go with OCZ or Intel? The OCZ Vertex 2 has very good specifications. On paper, the Intel SSD 320 wasn’t superior. Rated read/write performance was slower, and there is no garbage collection. The latter would benefit Mac OS X Lion since it was no built-in support for TRIM on non-Apple SSDs. Real world benchmarks, though, show that the Intel is both superior in some cases, and yet inferior in others. There are some comments that the Intel is more reliable. I wouldn’t mind trying the Intel too, but was worried about its performance.

When I got down to Sim Lim Square, Intel or OCZ became a non-issue. No one had stock of the OCZ Vertex 2. So I came back with the Intel SSD 320.

The Intel SSD 320 is packaged in a clunkier box than the OCZ Vertex 2. It’s still a 2.5″ notebook-sized form factor, of course. The disk enclosure itself, however, looks more like a hard disk than the OCZ Vertex 2 does. Installation was straight-forward. I’ve done many disk swaps on my MacBook Pro, so I’m pretty well-experienced.

How do I feel about the Intel SSD 320’s performance? I don’t have the benchmark numbers from my OCZ Vertex 2. Objective time measurements show that it’s faster than spinning disks, of course. Subjective feeling, however, is that the OCZ Vertex 2 is definitely much faster than the Intel SSD 320. Once my RMA OCZ Vertex 2 is back, it’s going back into my MacBook Pro, and the Intel will move to my desktop.

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