A killer SSD.
- Beats vast majority of desktop hard drive read/write speeds despite being notebook-capable, low heat levels, low energy consumption
- Very expensive, not much storage available
This speedy little device will fit and run snugly in any 2.5in laptop bay, providing excellent performance for a terrible price. If you've got the money to burn and want a device that is the best of its class, then Intel's X25-M is a device you must check out.
Solid-state drives have long been the ‘novelty’ cousin of conventional hard disks thanks to exorbitant prices and inadequate capacities. While Intel’s new X25-M is certainly a killer in terms of performance, the inherent economic issues remain and will hinder widespread consumer acceptance.
The 2.5in 80GB X25-M, with a formatted capacity of 74.5GB, uses a Serial ATA 3.0GB/s interface and is Intel’s first foray into the growing SSD market. The CPU market leader has brought a wealth of experience and technology to the endeavour. Thanks to its size and ability to run on 5V of electricity, this unit is designed to work in modern laptops, but has a performance that outstrips the vast majority of 3.5in PC hard drives.
A key advantage of SSD units is the complete lack of moving parts. Using a series of multi-level cell flash memory modules, solid-state drives do away with noisy platters that are sometimes loud and always susceptible to damage if moved around while operating. The nature of NAND flash memory also means that in cases of electrical failure data is retained, making it perfect for storing important working files.
Given Intel’s claims that this drive has a read speed of 250MB/s and a write speed of 70MB/s, we thought it only fitting that we use the fastest conventional hard drive available, the Western Digital VelociRaptor (WD3000GLFS), for our transfer tests.
In our real world file transfer tests we used a 19.8GB test folder containing thousands of files. The Intel managed a very impressive 89.3MB/s read speed. Copying data from one part of the SSD to another, which involves both reading and writing processes, provided an excellent result of 53.1MB/s. While the X25-M’s write speed came in at a more sedate 62.4MB/s, these rates are lightning fast when compared to every other 2.5in laptop drive on the market, such as the Western Digital Scorpio (WD3200BEVT).
Throughout all these operations, the SSD maintained its cool and had low power usage — very important points for laptop users.
The downside to all this high-level technology is a high price. Intel doesn’t supply an RRP directly, but its Australian distributors estimate the device will cost around $600 per unit, which means the X25-M is clearly aimed at the top end of the market. This equates to a cost per formatted gigabyte of $8 — five and a half times that of the high-performance VelociRaptor.
The inevitable increase in SSD usage will gradually reduce prices to more mainstream-friendly levels. Now that notebook-makers have spotted the trend and frequently offer SSDs built into their product, Intel’s challenge to the rest of the market should see a new wave of competitive solid-state drives hitting a store near you.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 4 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 5 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
Latest News Articles
- New, colourful LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C was designed by Neil Poulton
- Western Digital begins production of the world's tallest 3D NAND 'skyscraper'
- WD will make a record-breaking 14TB hard drive available next year
- Start hoarding SSDs: Prices are expected to spike as supply gets tight
- Intel's silence on Optane SSDs raises questions about launch and focus
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- TPAutomation TesterQLD
- FTMarketing Specialist (B2B Sales)NSW
- FTSAS DeveloperNSW
- CCSecurity Incident Analyst - Splunk - TelcoVIC
- TPSQL Server Developer | 3 month contract |NSW
- CCHyperion SpecialistQLD
- FTSenior Systems EngineerNSW
- TPSenior Agile Business AnalystVIC
- FTProcurement Business AnalystVIC
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectSA
- FTWeb DeveloperACT
- TPSenior Project CoordinatorVIC
- FTAutomation Test AnalystSA
- CCOracle WebLogic AdministratorNSW
- CC.net Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- FT.Net Developer - Mid-levelNSW
- CCApplication PackagerNSW
- CCApplication Developer - FileNetQLD
- TPBI & Report Developer (SQL Developer)QLD
- FTSOE Team LeaderNSW
- FTTest LeadNSW
- FTTechnical Business AnalystVIC
- CCOrganisational Change Manager - Banking/Financial ServicesNSW
- TPAO6 IT Procurement OfficerQLD