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Our testing methods
Today we're throwing our six pack of SSDs into the ring against a collection of competitors, including Intel's X25-M, which we've tested with its original firmware and the latest 8820 release. We've also included performance results from Intel's SLC-based X25-E Extreme to illustrate how the fastest single-level-cell drive compares. And lest you think we've forgotten about traditional hard drives, you'll find results for Western Digital's 7,200-RPM Scorpio Black notebook drive and its 10k-RPM VelociRaptor 300GB. If you're curious to see how these SSDs stack up against common desktop drives, you can compare the scores on the following pages with those from our recent review of the Caviar Green 2TB. We used the exact same test system and applications in the Caviar Green review, which includes benchmark results for more than a dozen 3.5" desktop drives.

To make our graphs easier to read, drives are colored by manufacturer. We used two shades of blue for the X25-Ms to differentiate between the original firmware and the latest 8820 revision.

All tests were run three times, and their results were averaged, using the following test system.

Processor Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.4GHz
System bus 800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped)
Motherboard Asus P5WD2 Premium
Bios revision 0422
North bridge Intel 955X MCH
South bridge Intel ICH7R
Chipset drivers Chipset 7.2.1.1003
AHCI/RAID 5.1.0.1022
Memory size 1GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Micron DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz
CAS latency (CL) 3
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 3
RAS precharge (tRP) 3
Cycle time (tRAS) 8
Audio codec ALC882D
Graphics Radeon X700 Pro 256MB with CATALYST 5.7 drivers
Hard drives WD VelociRaptor VR150 300GB
WD Scorpio Black 320GB
Intel X25-M 80GB with 8610 and 8820 firmware
Intel X25-E 32GB with 8621 firmware
Corsair P256 256GB with VMB1801Q firmware
OCZ Apex 120GB
OCZ Vertex 120GB with 1275 firmware
Super Talent UltraDrive ME 128GB with 1275 firmware
Transcend TS32GSSD25S-M 32GB
Samsung PB22-J 256GB with VMB1801Q firmware
OS Windows XP Professional
OS updates Service Pack 2

Our test system was powered by an OCZ PowerStream power supply unit.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The test systems' Windows desktop was set at 1280x1024 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.