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Our testing methods
Today we'll be testing the new X25-M against not only its predecessor, but also rivals based on the latest SSD designs from Indilinx and Samsung. We've found that storage controller designs typically define SSD performance, so the OCZ Summit and Vertex drives we used for testing should be representative of what you can expect from other Samsung- and Indilinx-based drives, respectively.

Because the block-rewrite penalty can severely impact SSD performance, we've elected to test the drives in a simulated used state, with all their flash pages occupied. We don't believe that testing SSDs in a factory-fresh state accurately represents their long-term performance, and we're far more interested in seeing how drives handle a more typical scenario than chasing higher benchmark scores with SSDs that have been manually freshened with secure-erase tools that clear the contents of all flash pages.

We haven't used Indilinx's beta wiper utility to cleanse the Vertex, either. This application still has problems with common WHQL-certified storage drivers from AMD, Nvidia, and Intel, which is a huge problem in our eyes. We're not inclined to perform additional time-consuming testing on the Vertex with a whole new set of storage controller drivers just because Indilinx hasn't done sufficient compatibility testing on its end.

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66GHz
System bus 1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)
Motherboard Gigabyte EP45-DS3R
Bios revision F10
North bridge Intel P45 Express
South bridge Intel ICH10R
Chipset drivers Chipset 9.0.0.1008
AHCI/RAID 8.8.0.1009
Memory size 4GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type OCZ PC2-6400 Platinum Edition at 800MHz
CAS latency (CL) 5
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 4
RAS precharge (tRP) 4
Cycle time (tRAS) 15
Audio Realtek ALC889A with 2.24 drivers
Graphics Gigabyte GeForce 8600 GT 256MB with ForceWare 185.85 drivers
Hard drives Intel X25-M 80GB with 8820 firmware
OCZ Summit with 18C1 firmware
OCZ Vertex 120GB with 1.3 firmware
OS Windows Vista Ultimate x64
OS updates Service Pack 2

Our test system was powered by an OCZ GameXStream 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.