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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.

As you can see, we've painted our results in a rainbow of colors to make the graphs easier to interpret. In the bar graphs, drives are colored by manufacturer, with the 320 Series highlighted in a brighter shade of blue than the other Intel drives. The line graphs follow a similar color scheme with some additional shades to cover the multiple Intel and OCZ models.

The Intel 320 Series is just a little bit slower than its predecessor in this test. I expect the drive's 3Gbps interface is the bottleneck here. Notice that all the 3Gbps drives are clustered around 234-242MB/s. The 6Gbps SSDs are considerably faster, and there are larger differences in sequential read performance between them.

Even though it's not as quick as those high-end drives, the Intel 320 Series is still substantially faster than a 7,200-RPM desktop hard disk drive. The Spinpoint F3's 116MB/s average read speed is less than half what you get with Intel's newest SSD.

Although it may not read much faster than the old X25-M, the Intel 320 Series fares much better with writes. The drive's 201MB/s write speed doubles the X25-M's and is enough to match Crucial's RealSSD C300. Intel's 510 Series boasts quite a step up in sequential write performance from the 320 Series, though.

Again, look at how favorably this drive, effectively a third-generation X25-M, compares to a mechanical desktop drive. The Spinpoint is actually a little faster than Intel's gen-two SSD, but the 320 Series blows it out of the water.

HD Tune's burst speed tests are meant to isolate a drive's cache memory.

Interestingly, the Intel 320 Series' strong write performance hits a bit of a snag in HD Tune's burst speed tests. The drive manages just 90MB/s, which is slower than all of its rivals, including the old X25-M. Things look better with reads, where Intel's most recent solid-state offering appears to hit the same wall as the other 3Gbps models.