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HD Tune — Transfer rates
HD Tune lets us look at transfer rates in a couple of different ways. We use the benchmark's "full test" setting, which tracks performance across the entire drive and lets us create the fancy line graphs you see below. This test was run with its default 64KB block size.

Although the 510 Series' sustained read speed doesn't match the 500MB/s claimed on Intel's spec sheet, the SSD manages nearly 400MB/s in HD Tune. That puts the drive comfortably ahead of its closest competitor, the RealSSD C300. Interestingly, the older drives occupy a pretty tight spread between 234 and 243MB/s.

Looking at the line graph reveals that the 510 Series' transfer rates are a little bit smoother than those of the C300. The Crucial drive's performance doesn't oscillate enough to cause concern, but it doesn't flat-line like the X25-M.

Switching to a write speed test makes the line graph a lot more interesting. Notice that the 510 Series' transfer rate falls into two brief but distinct valleys that repeat across the drive's full capacity. With the exception of the Nova, whose write speed follows a sawtooth pattern, the other SSDs have more consistent transfer rates than the 510 Series.

Even at its slowest, the 510 Series is still the fastest of the bunch. The drive's average write speed is over 50MB/s quicker than its closet competitor, an Agility 2 whose SandForce controller has a secret sauce of DuraWrite compression techniques that speed write performance. If you didn't think the X25-M was long overdue for a replacement, take note of the fact that the 510 Series' average write speed is nearly three times that of its predecessor.

Next up, let's probe the performance of each drive's onboard cache with a couple of burst speed tests.

Yeah, this one's not even close. The 510 Series has over 125MB/s on the C300 with both reads and writes. Total carnage.