Endurance Testing the Intel SSD 520-Series SSD

How long will the Intel SSD 520-Series last?
When will it run out of write cycles?


This drive uses Intel's very best 25nm NAND flash circuits, rated at 5000 P/E cycles and backed up by a 5 year warranty. It has proven very reliable even for RAID and server use but has recently been discontinued and replaced by the Intel 530.


Intel SSD 520-Series SSD Endurance Test

Preliminary Data - Test is Running
TiB Written
180.77
Estimated Cycles
3357.12
Hours Online
1579.24
Endurance Cycles are estimated as NAND/Host writes reported by S.M.A.R.T. divided by the SSD capacity.
TiB Written is pure user data. Hours Online include read/write/smart/overhead.

Average speed  Last two reported
Read Speed68 MB/s135 MB/s133 MB/s
Write Speed  73 MB/s65 MB/s94 MB/s

Please note that this unit is heavily stressed and in steady state most of the time.
Started at Aug 28. Last update Nov 2 06:59.

Intel 25nm synchronous MLC NAND


S.M.A.R.T. Data Logging

The health of the Intel SSD 520-Series is monitored by reading the SMART data throughout the test.


The SandForce controller does a great job keeping the NAND writes down to a minimum. I acutally had to adjust the random write algorithm to prevent deduplication and compression.

The change is much less noticable in the SanDisk Ultra Plus and the Samsung 840 EVO tests, as they did not manage to compress the data that well.

Device Information

Device Model:     INTEL SSDSC2CW060A3
Serial Number:    CVCV########060AGN
LU WWN Device Id: 5 5cd2e4 000#####6
Firmware Version: 400i
User Capacity:    60,022,480,896 bytes [60.0 GB]
Sector Size:      512 bytes logical/physical


Reviews of the Intel SSD 520-Series

Intel SSD 520 Review
"The Intel SSD 520, code name Cherryville, is the latest consumer SSD offering from Intel which breaks a tremendous amount of new ground for the company and the SSD industry at large. The big highlight is that Intel has transitioned to a SandForce processor in the SSD 520"   Kevin O'Brien, Storage ReviewRead it »

Intel SSD 520 Review: Taking Back The High-End With SandForce
"If you thought that Intel had conceded the high-end SSD market to its competition, you were wrong. The company's new SSD 520 centers on SandForce's SF-2281 controller, incorporates top-bin IMFT NAND, and is protected by a five-year warranty."   Andrew Ku, Toms HardwareRead it »


Feedback and Comments on Intel SSD 520-Series

Is this really normal?

No. The tests preformed here must not be confused with normal use. They are designed to stress SSDs and simulate a really busy environment.
Normal workstation use would be more like 10-20GB written daily.

TRIM and SSD Endurance in RAID Arrays »

Failed SSD = Bad SSD?

Don't worry. All drives tested here are perfectly suited for normal use. No doubt.
This SSD test is more about how they fail.
We want to see warnings of imminent failure, not just a sudden death.

How About Data Retention?

The term Data Retention refers to how long the data preserved is if the SSD is left unpowered. The plan is to test data retention once a SSD reaches extreme TBW. Please be carefull with your data and with SSDs that have outlived their specifications.

Why Test Smaller SSDs?

They use fewer NAND circuits and will wear out faster. Once we know the write endurance of these units, it'll be easy to estimate the equivalent numbers for the larger units.