Intel 320 Series SSD 300GB review
A disappointing drive that's neither the fastest nor the cheapest SSD we've seen.
Review Date: 11 Apr 2011
Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith
Price when reviewed: £370 (£444 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Last month Intel introduced its latest high-end 510 Series SSDs. Now it’s launched the new mainstream models, known as the 320 Series.
The drives break new ground in several ways. They’re Intel’s first units to use 25nm MLC flash cells, promising lower prices and potentially better performance than previous 34nm models. They’re also the first to store data in encrypted format, although that’s no obstacle to thieves, as files are automatically decrypted as you read them back.
A more useful security feature is the ability (on systems with a compatible BIOS) to lock the drive so it can’t be accessed by any device until a password is provided.
The 320 Series even ups the ante in terms of capacities, with a range that stretches from 40GB up to a huge 600GB – the largest capacity of any SSD we’ve come across.
Oddly, these up-to-date features sit behind a SATA 3Gb/s interface, rather than the 6Gb/s connector used by many modern SSDs. That means the 320 Series can’t possibly match the read speeds of premium drives.
For example, the 256MB Crucial M4 SSD managed a sequential read speed of 416MB/sec in the AS SSD benchmark, far beyond the capabilities of a 3Gb/s link. We found the 300GB 320 Series’ sequential read speeds averaged 262MB/sec, with write speeds of 220MB/sec.
The 320 Series also lagged in AS SSD’s taxing multi-threaded tests: it hit read speeds of 140MB/sec and write speeds of 62MB/sec, way behind the Crucial’s 159MB/sec and 204MB/sec. The pattern was repeated across our Windows file copy tests, with the Intel drive failing to match the Crucial in any operation.
These comparisons might seem unfair – after all, 320 Series drives are marketed as mainstream units, while the M4 is unashamedly branded as a high-performance drive. Look at the pricing, though, and there’s actually nothing in it: in their varying capacities, both drives sell for just under £1.60 inc VAT per gigabyte.
That being the case, we can only recommend the 320 Series if you need the truly exceptional 600GB model (and don’t mind paying the exceptional £800+ price). If you just want a cheap SSD, the A-Listed Kingston SSDNow V100 is better value, with the 128GB version now available for just £150. And if you’re looking for performance, the Crucial M4 is faster across the board.
Author: Darien Graham-Smith
- Amazon and Microsoft spend big on Google ads
- Narrow-trenches help Virgin expand fibre network
- How to remove the U2 album from an iPhone: iTunes antivirus tool launched
- Windows 9 Technical Preview launch date revealed
- Why Microsoft was forced to buy Minecraft
- New Windows 9 videos show off multi-desktops and notification centre
- BT and mobile networks warn of rising cost of Scotland split
- Phones 4u collapse puts iPhone 6 orders in doubt
- Chromebook owners get access to Android apps
- SanDisk lets you pop half-terabyte card in your camera
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook's Apple back with a bang?
- BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
- 20 years of PC Pro: one-star reviews (including "the worst tablet we've ever seen")
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- The best smartwatches of 2014: what's the best smartwatch?
- Nexus 6 (X or Shamu) release date, price and specs rumour roundup
- Best of IDF: top tech and memorable moments from Intel's tech show
- How Apple Pay works and how to use it on your iPhone 6 or Apple Watch
- How to use remote-access software
- Tech support horror stories
- Become a tech support superhero
- Best of IFA 2014: what smartphones, tablets, smartwatches are expected to launch at IFA this year?
- How to uninstall a program on Windows: remove unwanted apps from your PC
- How to format a USB drive on a Mac or Windows
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office