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Intel 330 Series 120GB review

Chris Finnamore
6 Aug 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
104
inc VAT

Strong performance, a great price and a useful upgrade kit, but other drives are quicker for the same money

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Specifications

120GB sata solid state disk

Intel has just refreshed its mid-range 330 Series of SSDs - the great-value 120GB version is the first we’ve seen.

The headline figure is the price; at £82 for 120GB, this SSD is a great-value 68p per gigabyte. This makes it significantly cheaper per gigabyte than the Ultimate award-winning Corsair Performance Series Pro, which is 93p per gigabyte, and the same as our Budget Buy-winning Crucial M4 128GB.

Intel 330 Series 120GB

Intel has largely relied on tried-and-tested components to put together such an inexpensive drive. The controller is the familiar SandForce SF-2281, which has powered the majority of SSDs we've seen recently, and there's no sign of the slimmer 7mm form factor Intel uses for its high-end 520 Series drives - the 330 Series is a chunkier 9.5mm tall.

The only real surprise comes from the eight 25nm NAND chips used to put together the drive. While there's no sign of the bang-up-to-date 24nm Toggle Mode memory, the NAND used here is synchronous rather than asynchronous; a choice that ensures better performance, as the individual chips can process data more quickly.

However, combining those particular chips with a mid-range controller returned middling benchmark results. The 330 Series wrote and read large files at 182MB/s and 361MB/s; our award-winning Corsair returned scores of 405MB/s and 367MB/s. More significantly, other budget drives are faster, with the excellent Crucial M4 128GB returning speeds of 277MB/s and 378MB/s in the same tests.

Intel 330 Series 120GB

The Intel drive closed the gap in our small file tests, writing and reading at 81MB/s and 59MB/s. That's slightly faster than the Crucial M4's 80MB/s when writing, and the same speed as the M4 when reading small files.

A bonus is that the 330 Series comes with a comprehensive upgrade kit. There's a sturdy metal caddy to fit the 2.5in drive into a traditional 3.5in drive bay, screws, a SATA cable and even a Molex to SATA power adapter.

Intel's 330 Series SSD is a good-value drive with a useful upgrade kit and strong performance. It can't quite top the Crucial M4 SSD 128GB, though, which is quicker and the same price.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
AwardN/A

Storage

Capacity120GB
Formatted capacity111GB
Price per gigabyte£0.86
InterfaceSATA3
Power connectorSATA
CacheN/A
Seek timeN/A
Bearing technologyN/A
Noise (in normal use)N/A

Buying Information

Price£104
Warrantythree years RTB
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.intel.com

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