Intel 520 Series SSD Review

The Intel SSD 520 is a consumer Solid-State Drive from Intel, providing best-in-class storage performance. The big highlight about the solid-state drive is that the company has transitioned to a Sand Force processor in it, away from the Marvell that was used in 510. When the Intel 520 SSDSC2CW120A310 was launched, the company claimed it to be their fastest Solid-State Drive. Along with the 25-nanometer IMFT NAND technology and a fast SandForce processor, the 6Gb/s SATA 520 drive cranks out sequential writes of 520MB/s and read speeds of 550 MB/s.

Although there are several SSDs out there in the market which come with a SandForce controller, the Intel 2.5-inch SSD has a special 400i version of firmware developed by the company to enhance its performance output. The gadget is also aesthetically pleasing as it comes with an aluminum casing and features that every user wishes to have.

Specifications, Design, and Features

  • Drive Type: Internal drive
  • Available Capacities (GB): 60, 120, 180, 240, 480
  • Connector Options: SATA 3, SATA 2, SATA
  • Product Dimensions (mm): 7 x 9.5, 2.5-inch standard
  • OSes Supported: Linux, Mac, Windows
  • Power:Active:850 mW, Idle: 600 mW
  • Temperature: 0o C – 70o C (Operating), -55o C – 95o C (Non-Operating)
  • Compatibility

Intel Rapid Storage Technology

Intel Data Migration Software

Intel Series 6 Express Chipsets

SATA Revision 3.0

SSD-improved SMART ATA feature set

Trim attribute

Data Set Management Command

The Intel 520 SSDSC2CW120A310 is a very practical and exclusive solid-state drive. It is just 7mm thick compared to other SSDs, which have a thickness of more than 9.5mm. Basically, this is another push of the company to promote its Ultrabook campaign. On top, the drive has a framed piece that adds 2.5mm to make it fit in a typical 2.5-inch in, 9mm drive bay. If you take this piece off, you will be required to have 4 shorter screws. Unfortunately, these screws are not included, but you can find them at any hardware store.

Another great thing about this device is that it is entirely made of aluminum, making it sturdy and attractive. Also, the Intel 2.5-inch SSD comes with all the basic accessories one needs to use with a PC, including a 3.5-inch mounting bracket, SATA cable, Molex-to-SATA cable, and mounting screws.

The solid-state drive can function in any SATA application, such as standard laptops, most ultraportable laptops, and desktops. Moreover, Intel offers free data migration software to make this drive a simple replacement for any hard drive. While it uses a SandForce controller, its design provides enhanced performance compared to traditional hard drives. To get the top performance, you can use it with a system supporting SATA 3.

According to the company, the 520 series supports 256-bit AES data encryption. We tried the device with different RAID setups and platforms, and it worked fine with each of them. Just like any other SSD, the 520 series can manage shocks and utilizes less energy. You can buy a drive with a storage capacity of 60GB to 480GB.


Although the series is not the quickest but performed well in our testing, helping a host computer to take only 6 seconds to shut down and 12 seconds to boot, the figures are acceptable, as we have seen in other SSDs. The Intel 520 SSDSC2CW120A310 also helps boost app performance which is a great deal. The series took only a few seconds to load in our trials, an enhancement we really appreciated.

For the sequential reading and writing, the series showed impressive numbers. When we used it as a secondary storage drive, it managed around 230MB/seconds, which puts it among the top 4 on the chart. Also, when we used it as the main drive, it scored 154MB/second, among the top 3.

Price Tag

The only complaint we have regarding the 2.5-inch Intel SSD is its price tag, which comes to around $2/GB. This cost makes this solid-state drive one of the most exclusive SSDs on the market today. So, if you are able to afford this, the 520 series will be an excellent replacement, specifically for the ultraportable desktops and laptop computers. If you are looking for a storage device having similar quality and better output, you can also go for the Samsung 830 Series.

Service and Support

Intel provides backup, free service support, and a serious five-year warranty with most of its storage devices. It is the best warranty one can expect from a renowned technology company. Since most SSDs come with only a 3-year warranty, you can pick this device for its reliability and top-notch performance. 

Benefits of Buying Intel 520 Series

  • Engineering and custom firmware show its value
  • Exceptional performance against OCZ Vertex 3 Maximum IOPS
  • Industry-leading reliability
  • Incredibly fast compressible speeds 

Final Words

The Intel 520 series is a great pick for any user looking for a decent solid-state drive along with exceptional performance. Above, we have mentioned most of the things regarding the device’s specs, features, and design aspects. If you want to buy this SSD or any other computer or IT-related accessory, you can visit our online store Hard Disk Direct. On this platform, we have a number of IT, technology, and computer hardware accessories, including SSDs, HDDs, motherboards, GPUs, PSUs, and network switches. you can buy any of your required devices at discounted rates.

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