What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

Intel 335 Series 180GB SSD Review

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,284
Please note that we are experiencing some technical difficulties which will cause image errors in some reviews. Hardware Canucks is actively working to solve the issues and the images should display correctly soon.

Intel’s SSD 335 series is an interesting combination of new and old technology which focuses on delivering excellent performance for a relatively low cost. On paper its specifications nearly mirror those found on the 330 model it supersedes. Both drives are part of Intel’s budget orientated 3 series, they use an LSI SandForce SF2281 controller with custom firmware and boast literally the same performance numbers.


So what makes the 335 series different from its predecessor? This time around, Intel has moved from 25nm to 20nm ONFI MLC NAND in order to save cost and lower power consumption by utilizing a High-k Metal Gate fabrication process. Historically an increase in NAND density is accompanied by a reduction in lifespan but these new IMFT manufactured modules are rated for the same 3,000 erase cycles as the older 25nm NAND used in the 330 drive. Intel has been able to accomplish this seemingly impossible task by using highly sophisticated engineering.

Back when Intel was set to release their –then new- Intel 520 one key piece of information they focused on was their commitment to never change the NAND type used in a given model. They made a firm promise that when they did decide to use new NAND, the resulting drive would receive a new model name. Specifically, Intel consumers would never have to worry about playing ‘NAND roulette’ like they have to do with certain other companies. With the release of the new Intel 335 Solid State Drive they have reaffirmed this commitment to customer satisfaction.


Since Intel was able to make smaller NAND cells which are still just as durable, they are able to reap the increase in NAND production which comes alongside a die shrinkage. This in turn means even lower prices for consumers, who may be hesitant of ONFi 1 or exotic TLC NAND based drives. In this instance the 330 180GB – the largest version originally made - was released with an MSRP of $234, whereas the new 180GB version of the Intel 335 can be found for as little as $170, or a reduction in price of 27%.


While this drive does come with a much more reasonable MSRP, its exterior is actually better finished than the Intel 520 or even DC S3700 series. A lot of this perception comes from the strategically placed label on the bottom – which hides most of the machining - and a rather stylish top. It is worth noting that this series uses the standard 9.5mm height form factor and not the smaller 7mm –with 2.5mm topper - like most of Intel’s other series. This is only of minor concern for most consumers.


The internal architecture of the new 335 is very similar to that of any other LSI SandForce SF2281 based model. The only differences are the NAND used and the number of NAND IC slots that are populated. Since this is the smaller version of the 335, four of the 16 IC slots are empty while the others are populated with high density NAND chips. By opting for less ICs instead of multiple lower density modules the overall performance of the entire 335 line is more consistent and it will only be in certain scenarios – such as partial & full drive testing – that this decision may handicap the 180GB model.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,284
Testing Methodology

Testing Methodology


Testing a drive is not as simple as putting together a bunch of files, dragging them onto folder on the drive in Windows and using a stopwatch to time how long the transfer takes. Rather, there are factors such as read / write speed and data burst speed to take into account. There is also the SATA controller on your motherboard and how well it works with SSDs & HDDs to think about as well. For best results you really need a dedicated hardware RAID controller w/ dedicated RAM for drives to shine. Unfortunately, most people do not have the time, inclination or monetary funds to do this. For this reason our test-bed will be a more standard motherboard with no mods or high end gear added to it. This is to help replicate what you the end user’s experience will be like.

Even when the hardware issues are taken care of the software itself will have a negative or positive impact on the results. As with the hardware end of things, to obtain the absolute best results you do need to tweak your OS setup; however, just like with the hardware solution most people are not going to do this. For this reason our standard OS setup is used. However, except for the Windows 7 load test times we have done our best to eliminate this issue by having the drive tested as a secondary drive. With the main drive being an Intel DC S3700 800GB Solid State Drive.

For synthetic tests we used a combination of the ATTO Disk Benchmark, HDTach, HD Tune, Crystal Disk Benchmark, IOMeter, AS-SSD, Anvil Storage Utilities and PCMark 7.

For real world benchmarks we timed how long a single 10GB rar file took to copy to and then from the devices. We also used 10gb of small files (from 100kb to 200MB) with a total 12,000 files in 400 subfolders.

For all testing a Asus P8P67 Deluxe motherboard was used, running Windows 7 64bit Ultimate edition. All drives were tested using AHCI mode using Intel RST 10 drivers.

All tests were run 4 times and average results are represented.

In between each test suite runs (with the exception being IOMeter which was done after every run) the drives are cleaned with either HDDerase, SaniErase or OCZ SSDToolbox and then quick formatted to make sure that they were in optimum condition for the next test suite.

Please note:
Due to the unique nature of the hybrid setup certain tests results have been omitted as they require an unformatted drive to test or gave erroneous results.

Processor: Core i5 2500
Motherboard: Asus P8P67 Deluxe
Memory: 8GB Corsair Vengeance LP “blue”
Graphics card: Asus 5550 passive
Hard Drive: Intel DC S3700 800GB, OCZ 480GB RevoDrive3 x2
Power Supply: XFX 850

SSD FIRMWARE (unless otherwise noted):

OCZ Vertex 2 100GB
: 1.33
OCZ Vertex 3 240GB: 2.2
Crucial M4 256GB: 000F
Intel 520: 400i
SanDisk Extrene 240GB: R211
Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB: M206
OCZ Vector 256GB: 1.03
Intel DC S3700 800GB: 5DV10211
Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB: 505
SanDisk UltraPlus 256GB: 365A13F0
Kingston SSDNow V300 240GB: 505

SandForce SF1200 Drives:
OCZ Vertex 2 - ONFi 2 NAND

SandForce SF2281 Drives:
Intel 520 - custom firmware w/ ONFi 2 NAND
SanDisk Extreme - stock firmware w/ 24nm Toggle Mode NAND
SSDNow V300 - custom firmware w/ 19nm Toggle Mode NAND

LAMD:
Corsair Neutron GTX - Toggle Mode NAND

Marvell:
Crucial M4 - Custom firmware w/ ONFi 2 NAND
SanDisk UltraPlus - Custom firmware w/ eX2 ABL NAND

Barefoot 3 controller:
OCZ Vector - ONFi 2 NAND
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,284
Read Bandwidth / Write Performance

Read Bandwidth


For this benchmark, HDTach was used. It shows the potential read speed which you are likely to experience with these hard drives. The long test was run to give a slightly more accurate picture. We don’t put much stock in Burst speed readings and thus we no longer included it. The most important number is the Average Speed number. This number will tell you what to expect from a given drive in normal, day to day operations. The higher the average the faster your entire system will seem.



Write Performance


For this benchmark HD Tune Pro was used. To run the write benchmark on a drive, you must first remove all partitions from that drive and then and only then will it allow you to run this test. Unlike some other benchmarking utilities the HD Tune Pro writes across the full area of the drive, thus it easily shows any weakness a drive may have.



Because of its moderate performance specifications the 335's low standing in these carts is not surprising. This is an entry level drive in amongst high performance alternatives which cost more than the 180GB 335. For its price range these results are very good.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,284
ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO Disk Benchmark



The ATTO disk benchmark tests the drives read and write speeds using gradually larger size files. For these tests, the ATTO program was set to run from its smallest to largest value (.5KB to 8192KB) and the total length was set to 256MB. The test program then spits out an extrapolated performance figure in megabytes per second.




These power curves are downright impressive considering how frugally priced the 180GB version of the 335 is. This is not an expensive drive and it is not supposed to compete again higher performance offerings, yet it does. Obviously the new NAND is not creating any blatant performance issues. Of course, ATTO does play to the SF2281’s strong suit and the controller could be hiding a multitude of issues.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,284
Crystal DiskMark / PCMark 7

Crystal DiskMark


<i>Crystal DiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your hard drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and random read/write speeds; and allows you to set the number of tests iterations to run. We left the number of tests at 5 and size at 100MB. </i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Intel 335/cdm_r.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Intel 335/cdm_w.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

While the 335's large file performance does leave a bit to be desired this rather inexpensive drive makes up for it with surprisingly good small file performance. As we have said many times in the past, small file performance trumps large file performance and it is much better at predicting how a drive will react in <i>real world</i> scenarios.

The only reason this drive is not higher in the charts is that its deep queue depth performance is ‘merely’ in the low 300MB/s range. It does bear reiterating that this level of performance will simply astonish both first time Solid State Drive users and consumers with older generations drives alike. Considering this is Intel’s 3 series entry level SSD, that is very impressive indeed.


PCMark 7


<i>While there are numerous suites of tests that make up PCMark 7, only one is pertinent: the HDD Suite. The HDD Suite consists of numerous tests that try and replicate real world drive usage. Everything from how long a simulated virus scan takes to complete, to MS Vista start up time to game load time is tested in these core tests; however we do not consider this anything other than just another suite of synthetic tests. For this reason, while each test is scored individually we have opted to include only the overall score.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Intel 335/pcm7.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>

Obviously with a score this good, the new 20nm ONFi 2 NAND cannot be hindering performance to any significant amount. While we do not put all that much faith in PCMark 7’s ability to accurately predict real world performance there certainly is a nice trend developing: the Intel 335 is cheaper that previous generations but is just as powerful!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,284
AS-SSD / Anvil Storage Utilities Pro

AS-SSD


AS-SSD is designed to quickly test the performance of your drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and small 4K read/write speeds as well as 4K file speed at a queue depth of 6. While its primary goal is to accurately test Solid State Drives, it does equally well on all storage mediums it just takes longer to run each test as each test reads or writes 1GB of data.




As with Crystal Disk Mark these numbers are excellent for an entry level ‘budget’ drive. Not that long ago this performance level would have only been seen inside flagship ‘high performance’ models.


Anvil Storage Utilities Pro


Much like AS-SSD, Anvil Pro was created to quickly and easily – yet accurately – test your drives. While it is still in the Beta stages it is a versatile and powerful little program. Currently it can test numerous read / write scenarios but two in particular stand out for us: 4K queue depth of 4 and 4K queue depth of 16. A queue depth of four along with 4K sectors can be equated to what most users will experience in an OS scenario while 16 depth will be encountered only by power users and the like. We have also included the 4k queue depth 1 results to help put these two other numbers in their proper perspective. All settings were left in their default states and the test size was set to 1GB.



Naturally, the 335’s numbers are lower than that of a higher end Intel 520 240GB – a drive using 25nm Intel ONFi 2 NAND - but this is most likely a firmware difference rather than a major issue with the NAND itself. Just like they did with the 330 Intel has most likely intentionally slowed this drive’s performance to ensure some form of differentiation.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,284
IOMETER

IOMETER


IOMeter is heavily weighted towards the server end of things, and since we here at HWC are more End User centric we will be setting and judging the results of IOMeter a little bit differently than most. To test each drive we ran 5 test runs per HDD (1,4,16,64,128 queue depth) each test having 8 parts, each part lasting 10 min w/ an additional 20 second ramp up. The 8 subparts were set to run 100% random, 80% read 20% write; testing 512b, 1k, 2k,4k,8k,16k,3xk,64k size chunks of data. When each test is finished IOMeter spits out a report, in that reports each of the 8 subtests are given a score in I/Os per second. We then take these 8 numbers add them together and divide by 8. This gives us an average score for that particular queue depth that is heavily weighted for single user environments.


Using an entry level drive – even a very good one like the 335 – is simply asking for trouble in this test. The Intel 335 may be able to outperform a SanDisk Ultra 256GB, but it would not be our first choice for such a demanding workstation-class environment.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,284
Windows 7 Startup / Adobe CS5 Load Time

Windows 7 Start Up with Boot Time A/V Scan Performance


When it comes to hard drive performance there is one area that even the most oblivious user notices: how long it takes to load the Operating System. Where Windows 7 has become nearly ubiquitous for solid state drive enthusiasts we have chosen Windows 7 64bit Ultimate as our Operating System. In previous load time tests we would use the Anti-Virus splash screen as our finish line; this however is no longer the case. We have not only added in a secondary Anti-Virus to load on startup, but also an anti-malware program. We have set Super Anti-Spyware to initiate a quick scan on Windows start-up and the completion of the quick scan will be our new finish line.




Usually ‘middle of the pack’ results would not be overly impressive but for an entry level drive these results are downright excellent. The 335 is inexpensive and yet it is only seconds slower than an Intel 520. That is impressive engineering.


ADOBE CS5 LOAD TIME


Photoshop is a notoriously slow loading program under the best of circumstances, and while the latest version is actually pretty decent, when you add in a bunch of extra brushes and the such you get a really great torture test which can bring even the best of the best to their knees. Let’s see how our review unit faired in the Adobe crucible!

 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,284
Firefox Offline / Real World Data Transfers

Firefox Portable Offline Performance


Firefox is notorious for being slow on loading tabs in offline mode once the number of pages to be opened grows larger than a dozen or so. We can think of fewer worse case scenarios than having 100 tabs set to reload in offline mode upon Firefox startup, but this is exactly what we have done here.

By having 100 pages open in Firefox portable, setting Firefox to reload the last session upon next session start and then setting it to offline mode, we are able to easily recreate a worse case scenario. Since we are using Firefox portable all files are easily positioned in one location, making it simple to repeat the test as necessary. In order to ensure repetition, before touching the Firefox portable files, we have backed them up into a .rar file and only extracted a copy of it to the test device.




Real World Data Transfers


No matter how good a synthetic benchmark like IOMeter or PCMark is, it can not really tell you how your hard drive will perform in “real world” situations. All of us here at Hardware Canucks strive to give you the best, most complete picture of a review item’s true capabilities and to this end we will be running timed data transfers to give you a general idea of how its performance relates to real life use. To help replicate worse case scenarios we will transfer a 10.00GB contiguous file and a folder containing 400 subfolders with a total 12,000 files varying in length from 200mb to 100kb (10.00 GB total).

Testing will include transfer to and transferring from the devices, using MS RichCopy and logging the performance of the drive. Here is what we found.





Once again this entry level drive posts very respectable numbers. The new NAND obviously is not holding it back in any major way.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,284
Partial and Full Drive Performance

Partial and Full Drive Performance


While it is important to know how a drive will perform under optimal conditions, more realistic scenarios are just as important. Knowing if a solid state drive will behave differently when partially or even nearly full than when it is empty is very important information to know. To quickly and accurately show this crucial information we have first filled the drive to 50% capacity and re-tested using both synthetic and real world tests. After the completion of this we then re-test at 75% and 90% of full capacity.

Synthetic Test Results

For our synthetic testing we have opted for our standard PCMark 7 test.



Real World Results

For a real world application we have opted for our standard Windows 7 Start Up with Boot Time A/V Scan Performance test.



As with all the other real world tests the 335 posts very respectable scores for any SF2281 based solid state drive and very impressive numbers for such an inexpensive Intel branded drive.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Latest posts

Twitter

Top