Review: Intel 335 240GB SSD
New NAND tech tweak treat
As always with its own SSDs, Intel picks the highest grade NAND from the production line and the 335 uses sixteen 16GB 29F16B08CCMF2 chips to reach its 240GB capacity. Well, it's 256GB actually but 7 per cent of the capacity is set aside for over-provisioning.
ATTO and AS SSD results
Intel quotes sequential Read/Writes for the drive at 500MB/s and 450MB/s respectively. These claims are very much on the conservative side going by the figures the drive produced when tested with the ATTO benchmark – 556MB/s for Reads and 533MB/s for Writes – which puts the 335 SSD right up there with the best of them.
Switching to the CrystalDiskMark benchmark on its default in-compressible data setting produced a Read figure of 468MB/s and a Write figure of 330MB/s. However, changing to the benchmark’s compressed data test showed up the usual increase in performance that the SandForce controller brings when handling this form of data; the Read figure rose to 496MB/s but as usual with this controller, the Write figure shot up, in this case to 490MB/s.
CrystalDiskMark results: In-compressible data (left), compressed data (right)
The 335 is built on a 9.5mm format, thus, in a stroke, excluding it from being used as an upgrade/replacement drive in thin notebooks or ultraportables. This does seem a bit odd on Intel’s part as these devices would be ideal candidates for the drive, but then again the company did do the same thing with the 330 series.
Odder still, regarding this form factor limitation, is that the die shrinkage also contributes to lower power consumption figures. Intel quotes 350mW active and 275mW idle which really gives the 800mW active, 600mW idle SSD 330 and 520 models a run for their money. Who wouldn't want to stuff one of these in an Ultrabook?
Oh, and yet another odd thing is that the mini CD bundled with the drive doesn’t contain any helpful software just warranty info and some instructions, so you have to download the rather excellent Intel SSD Toolbox from Intel’s site. The drive is also backed by a three year warranty.
The Reg Verdict
The 335 isn’t a major leap forward from the 330 in terms of throughput but it does have the advantage of using less power and an affordable price tag. In its current form and capacity though, the SSD 335 is more of a platform for Intel to introduce its latest NAND technology. Without a current in-house controller of its own for the consumer space, Intel, like other LSI SandForce users, is having to tread water and tweak while waiting for the next generation of the controller to appear. ®