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on April 20, 2011
This is my first SSD, and I absolutely love it. Very fast boot up and shut-down;
incredibly fast program launch - even monsters like Photoshop: blam - they're on.

Since my system worked reasonably well before, I worried about every aspect
of this project. (If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Why spend the $250, what if I have boot problems,
what if the performance increase is marginal or worse?). Incredibly the installation
was totally quick and flawless. Bravo, Intel! Now for some details.

I bought the retail kit ($10 to $25 more than the OEM version). The two cables
are handy (sata power and data), I used the bracket, and even the
tiny 3 inch CD with installation instructions was useful. Amazingly,
those instructions are not on Intel's website.) They worked flawlessly.

I installed it in my 2008 Intel desktop tower that runs Windows XP Pro
32-bit and that has an Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 processor. This system was top
of the line when I bought it, so I really wanted to wait another year before
upgrading to a 64-bit OS (to get > 4gb of DRAM) and a faster processor
(like Ivy Bridge). I love WinXP, and I have a lot of old drivers, so I was hesitant
to upgrade to Win7 now or to make any expensive hardware upgrades now.)

I think I made the perfect choice, but this decision was not without anxiety.

After reading all the reviews for Intel's SSD X25-M (it's Gen 2,
34 nano SSDs), it was apparent that most buyers raved about them:
their speed and their reliability, but, cruising the internet you
find all kinds of potential worries. I list them here, only to dismiss them.
(BTW, the Series 320 SSDs are from Intel's 25 nano fab in Utah: they are
even faster and more reliable than the X25-M series. Although they only
support 3gb/sec data transfer, that's all my old mobo can dish out, so that's fine.)

1) SSDs, WinXP, and TRIM. This was a worry, since WinXP was written a decade ago,
long before SSDs. My worry was that WinXP does not support TRIM, which is
a command to tell the SSD to overwrite deleted data. Without TRIM, the efficiency
of the SSD might deteriorate due to unavailable pages. The solution for WinXP is
to use a small, free program, the Intel Solid-State Drive Toolbox, to perform this
drive optimization. (Win7 does it automatically.) So, a non-worry -
not a reason to upgrade to Win7. BTW, SSDs and TRIM are explained in a
well-written 2009 article on AnandTech "The SSD Anthology: Understanding SSDs."

2) SSDs and BIOS or other drive recognition problems. This was a huge worry,
since this has been a recurring catastrophe about every five years: having a
hard drive that simply does not show up either in Windows, or even worse, not in
the BIOS. I spoke to some professionals; they had never experienced this when
installing Intel SSDs on customers desktops. In fact, I did not have to touch the
BIOS at all. I just connected the sata power and data cables, and the drive
magically appeared on the BIOS list and in Windows (on the Device Manager drive list).
(The 'raptor HD is disconnected for now.)

3) Installing Windows (or anything) on the SSD. I need to mention that although,
I could SEE the SSD in the Device Manager, it does NOT show up on "My Computer"
along with the C drive. The reason is that it ships, of course, unformatted.
(I had hoped to just copy my entire mechanical hard drive (a WD 600 gb Velociraptor)
to the SSD using Norton Ghost.) Instead, I resorted to reading the directions that came with
the drive on that tiny little CD. Again, Intel to the rescue with their Drive Migration software
provided by Acronis. Don't be scared off by the minutiae of that program. In fact, you only
use one single command: Clone Now - the rest is automatic.

The bottom line is that this was a hugely worthwhile and easy project with a
thrilling result: incredibly fast performance. I think mechanical drives will go the way
of magnetic tape: for archival storage only and to museums. (I also write about
the future of biotech, neuroscience, and AI: see )

PS: Don't stress about mounting the SSD. (See the YouTube "Samsung SSD Awesomeness"
with the guy trampolining with 24 SSDs.)
1414 comments| 60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 15, 2011
I have a DV7 series HP Pavilion Laptop running Win 7 64-bit with the Hitachi drive that seems to have the life-span of about 18-months on all 3 of my laptops. When I noticed the classic cluster errors, I decided to pick up this SSD drive as an OS only drive and have a second drive as my storage within the laptop.

Installation was quick and easy. The migration was a breeze. I've been doing IT for over 15-years: computers, routers, switches, firewalls, so I was expecting the worst and got the best.

Here's where it gets bad.

About 5 hours into use I get the Blue Screen of Death. No big deal, reboot and figure out what app decided not to play nice. No luck! The drive was bricked! I got another drive and did the entire process again. This time while running OO Defrag I get the BSOD and this drive is bricked too. I moved it to another laptop to look at the drive. The 80-Gig partition turned into an 8-Meg partition. The rest of the drive is missing. Missing as in not even recoverable by FDISK or any other means within Windows.

I plugged in "Intel SSD 80 Gig 8" on Google and sure enough a TON of people are having the same problems. The drive just fails randomly and they're left with an 8-Meg drive. Some people are using 3rd party applications to force the drive to recover to factory defaults or just sending them back to Intel. Some even after sending them back to Intel have a failure a month or two later. I already invested nearly 10 hours of time and I am not doing it again. For people considering buying this drive I suggest you pass on it because of the possibility of it being a ticking time bomb in your computer is too much to risk.

UPDATE!!!!: After following the 8-meg bug threads the IBM update bricked a bunch of drives. Amazing!!! Firmware update - 4PC10362 intended to fix the issue. Inetel says it's "isolated", but I had 3 drives crash in a week. How isolated can this bug be? As of December 12, 2011 people are still reporting SSD crashes because of this bug and after installing the latest firmware.
1919 comments| 78 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 4, 2011
I purchased this Intel 320 series 80GB SSD because of my long held faith in Intel and the 5 year warranty. Sadly it looks like there's something wrong with these drives (circa june/july 2011). I installed the drive in my Dell E4300 laptop in late June 2011. Install is smooth - good tools in the kit allow you to connect the drive via USB to clone your hard drive. Once installed it was a beautiful thing. Files open quickly, MS office (powerpoint, word, excel and outlook) open and handle files much more quickly.

Then after 7 days the PC froze, and BiOS reported no boot sector. BiOS sees it as a 0GB drive. OK, stuff happens. I returned the unit to Amazon (it was within 30 days) for a replacement. Amazon was excellent, shipping an immediate replacement with 1 day shipping while I was still holding the defective unit.

I received the replacement on July 11, 2011. The install again was easy, and the performance is great. Today (Aug 4, 2011) the drive died. My Window 7 system froze and then blue-screened. Just like the first time BiOS reports a 0GB drive and can't find a boot sector. Incidentally, as recommended the Win7 defrag had been disabled.

This time i'm returning it for a refund. Since I purchased this drive there are 4 other 1-star user comments reporting similar behavior.
0Comment| 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 21, 2011
I installed a 120MB 320 Series as a replacement for a failed drive on an HP laptop.

It was a great drive for 2 months, and made the laptop much faster.

Then it bricked. No 8 MB, just utterly dead.
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 20, 2011
Drive worked well for about 6 weeks. Last Saturday I turned on my laptop to find a no boot drive error. Bios reported 0 GB drive. I bought an Intel because I thought they were supposed to be reliable. Amazon was great about shipping me a replacement. We'll see how long the replacement lasts.

Here's an update. February 2012.
I've had the replacement drive for six months now. No problems with the replacement.

Here's a second update. April 2012
Second drive failed. Lasted about 8 months. Replaced with a Samsung I picked up at the local electronics shop. Do not buy this Intel drive.
11 comment| 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 10, 2011
This WAS my first solid state drive. What a quick death! When I first got this hard drive, I cloned it. Cloning the hard drive was quick and easy. After the installation, I was impressed at how fast it made my system.

Now it is time for the dirt. Who cares about speed when it only works for a total of 45 days? Honestly, I am willing to trade in speed for reliability any day. Sign me up. Because now, I have to spend a few hours getting everything back to normal again. Re-installing, and shipping the defective product is a major pain. How annoying. I thought that technology was supposed to make my life easier, not harder?

I realize that a factory sometimes manufactures bad batches. Statistically, older hard drives either die within the first 6 months or after 7 years. It is less likely for hard drives to fail between those time frames. However, based on the large number of complaints by other reviewers, these are not bad batches. They are bad designs.

I will update on how annoying/fun returning this product will be.

August 10, 2011:

I used Intel's live chat to get some help on this process. Their website wasn't overly clear on this.

The Intel representative told me that I have to pay for shipping it there, and that they will pay for its way back. How gracious of them! Wait ... so why am I being punished for being sold a faulty product again? Re-installing everything and being without a functioning laptop should be enough of a punishment.

It seems to me that if you get a faulty hard drive, you will have to take a double-hit on this one. Being unsatisfied with their service, I told the representative that I want to talk to the manager. He told me that a manager will contact me in one business hour.

She called me in less than one business hour. I told her that I am not willing to pay for shipping back a faulty product. She replied saying that she will waive the $25 fee for shipping this one time. Well let's hope that there is no other time. If this was to happen again, then I will have to pay for shipping this piece of metal back to them.

December 24, 2011:

My computer hung while I was searching the internet. Surfing the internet is not computing intensive. To those interested in buying this hard drive, if your computer hangs and you get the blue screen of death, your hard drive will be toast. After rebooting my computer, the famous "Operating system not found" message came up again. Here we go again, another hard drive failure. Merry Christmas to me.

December 28, 2011:

I called intel and asked for my money back. After being put on hold for ten minutes, the agent told me that they will make a refund in this special case.
22 comments| 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 17, 2011
I got the power cycle bug that could leave your SSD 320 in a mostly unusable 8MB state. After speaking to Intel they directed me to some NON Intel sites to secure erase your drive, which did not work.
This happend after I Updated the Firmware that is what surprised me. Intel says that the update would avoid the problem . not My case) only option is to do a return . which I am working on . Lucky it has a 5 year warranty . But I would advise anyone not to pick this model .
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 12, 2011
Bought this product with high hopes and installed in my dual drive HP laptop I had just purchased. Installation went smoothly, functionality was working quite well, for all of 3 days.


Totally dead, SMART 301 error, will not boot will not see the drive, totally gone. I will be calling INTEL shortly and if they can not resolve the issue it is going back to the seller. VERY disappointed in this product if I could give it 0 stars for burning all my data and wasting my time I would
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 24, 2011
My drive worked great for 2-3 days... very fast and I was in heaven with it in my laptop running Windows 7 home premium. While browsing the web, the computer just froze. I waited a few minutes for it, but it stayed frozen so I power cycled it. It booted up to Windows and let me start the browser, but it froze shortly after. I power cycled it again and it froze before Windows started to boot up. Now the drive is non-functional. Any PC I put it in freezes up while trying to read the drive. The laptop works with the old drive in it just fine.

Intel's support is not that great. Currently waiting for a Live Chat tech. support engineer to become available....
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 24, 2011
I installed this 300GB Intel 320 Series Solid State Drive in my 13" MacBook Pro (mid-2009; 2.53 GHz). The SSD is working wonderfully so far, after about 2 weeks of use. In 2009, I tried my luck with an OCZ "Mac Certified" Vertex drive, only to find it bricked about 2 months later, so I was hesitant to try another SSD in the same MacBook Pro. (The 13" mid-2009 models are notorious for problems with the SATA interface, so much so that OCZ does not list the 13" model among "approved" Macs.) Not wanting to deal with the hassle of swapping out another dead SSD, I decided to sacrifice a bit of performance in exchange for the reliability of an Intel SSD, with an Intel (rather than SandForce) controller. Of all the drives out there, the Intel drives appear to be the most frequently cited as being compatible with the older MacBook Pros, including the 13" model.

Performance after install is great! It seems a little faster than the OCZ Vertex. I had forgotten how much faster boot up and application launch are with an SSD. Microsoft Word 2011 loads in less than 3 seconds. Going back to HD speeds seems unlikely now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have a repeat of my first SSD failure. I also feel confident that TRIM will be enabled for non-Apple-branded SSDs soon after the release of Lion. I am using the developer release of Lion with the Intel drive right now, so I can assure you that Lion at present does not enable TRIM for the Intel drive. It's clearly part of the OS, but Apple has disabled it for all but factory-installed SSDs. There is a hack available, but I'lll give Apple some more time before resorting to the hack.

NOTE: Physical installation was a breeze, but cloning the HD to the SSD was not. I was unable to clone my internal HD to the Intel SSD using the SATA to USB cable provided, or any other method. I tried SuperDuper! and Apple's Disk Utility (using the "restore" feature), but in both instances the cloning did not work. SuperDuper! indicated it was finished, but obviously was not. Smart updates run in succession always wrote additional files. After comparing notes with another MacBook Pro user who had installed an OWC SSD the same week, we determined that the problem likely has more to do with the MacBook Pro than with Intel or OWC. (He was unable to clone his HD to the SSD, either, and he's more tech-savvy than I.) Ultimately, I had to resort to installing the SSD (after formatting the SSD to use HFS+ and a GUID partition scheme -- the latter being essential), then reinstalling Snow Leopard using the install disk that came with my MacBook Pro (selecting the "restore" option), in conjunction with my TimeMachine backup. Fortunately, the speed of the SSD allowed me to complete the restore in less than 3 hours.
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