Intel has a history of bringing datacenter products to market as high-end prosumer products. The first time this occurred to my knowledge was Skulltrail, a special dual socket LGA771 motherboard paired with two QX9775 processors for the ultimate, at the time, performance experience. The Intel Extreme Edition Skull was born.
It's not a secret that LSI's SF3700 controller is late or will be late to market, depending on who you talk to. Companies in the LSI camp are loyal for the most part. This is because either they really love the SandForce technology, lack the experience to write custom SSD firmware or they put all of their eggs in one basket. Intel is rarely in a single basket position, but when it became clear that SandForce wouldn't have a PCIe based offering ready for CeBIT, the company only had a few options ready to come off the burner.
The Intel 730 Series is the same drive Intel displayed at a gaming event a few months back with an overclocking option. Everyone was buzzing about the world's first overclocking SSD and just days ago another news report hit the web about overclocking the 730 Series. Too bad it was wrong - and for good reason. If every drive could hit the 600MHz controller speed and 100MHz NAND speed, who would run the drive at a lower speed? Thus, the 730 Series does not get the knobs and switches, but instead every drive ships with a 600MHz controller and 100MHz NAND flash - no knobs, no switches, and no fuss.
What we get instead is a performance SSD based on Intel's DC S3500 datacenter SSD with higher clock speeds, lower price and a really cool graphic that pays tribute to Intel's Extreme heritage. Although Intel calls this Tisdale, I call it the "Skulltrail of SSDs". Let's take a close look now.
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