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Intel SSD DC P3700 1.6TB PCIe NVMe Enterprise Review

By: Paul Alcorn | PCIe SSDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Aug 4, 2014 3:55 pm
TweakTown Rating: 95%Manufacturer: Intel

4k Random Read/Write




We precondition the 1.6TB Intel DC P3700 for 9,000 seconds, or two and a half hours, receiving performance reports every second. We plot this data to illustrate the drives' descent into steady state.


This dual-axis chart consists of 18,000 data points, with the IOPS on the left and the latency on the right. The red dots signify IOPS, and the grey dots are latency measurements during the test. We place latency data in a logarithmic scale to bring it into comparison range. The lines through the data scatter are the average during the test. This type of testing presents standard deviation and maximum/minimum I/O in a visual manner.


Note that the IOPS and Latency figures are nearly mirror images of each other. This illustrates that high-granularity testing gives our readers a good feel for latency distribution by viewing IOPS at one-second intervals. This should be in mind when viewing our test results below. This downward slope of performance only happens during the first few hours of use, and we present precondition results only to confirm steady state convergence.




Each level tested includes 300 data points (five minutes of one second reports) to illustrate performance variability. The line for each OIO depth represents the average speed reported during the five-minute interval. 4k random speed measurements are an important metric when comparing drive performance, as the hardest type of file access for any storage solution to master is small-file random. One of the most sought-after performance specifications, 4k random performance is a heavily marketed figure.


The Intel DC P3700 averages 467,055 IOPS at 256 OIO (Outstanding I/O). The HGST FlashMAX II averages 350,532 IOPS and the Micron P420m averages 774,958 IOPS. The Intel provides great scaling at lower queue depths. Although it is beat slightly by the FlashMAX II at 8 & 16 OIO, it pulls ahead at 32 and 64 OIO. This highlights the performance tuning for lighter workloads. The P420m performance is massive at higher loads, easily topping the chart.




Latency is often the most important metric, and the DC P3700 provides solid scaling as we move to higher loads, where the P420m takes over.




The DC P3700 provides great performance but the P420m eventually tops it with tremendous read speed. The DC P3700 delivers high performance with relatively low latency.




The Intel DC P3700 averages 147,846 IOPS at 256 OIO, the FlashMAX II averages 119,662 IOPS, and the P420m averages 98,304 IOPS. The DC P3700 actually peaks from 16-64 OIO, again indicative of the tuning for this performance segment. The high performance is also coupled with consistent performance, but the FlashMAX II also delivers a very tight band of performance.




The DC P3700 easily leads this test while the P420m experiences some turbulence under the heavy write workload.




The DC P3700 settles far to the right in this test, indicating a superior IOPS to latency ratio. The FlashMAX II takes a heavier workload to get going, but the P420m and the DC P3700 deliver their maximum performance even under low write workloads.




Our write percentage testing illustrates the varying performance of each solution with mixed workloads. The 100% column to the right is a pure 4k write workload, and 0% represents a pure 4k read workload.


The DC P3700 loses to the P420m in the read-centric 0-20% categories, but takes the lead for the remainder of the test. We conduct this test at 256 OIO, and the P3700 actually has higher performance at lower OIO, so performance is incrementally better during this test with a lower OIO.




The DC P3700 manages to best the FlashMAX II in mixed latency performance in this test.

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