Intel 730 480GB SSD Two-Drive RAID Report (Page 1)

Intel 730 480GB SSD Two-Drive RAID Report

Intel taps a datacenter SSD to produce an enthusiast-class SSD for consumers. Will Intel's new 730 SSD have what it takes to become our RAID champion?

| May 7, 2014 at 9:02 am CDT



Intel designed their DC S3500 SSD to deliver superior performance in an enterprise setting. The DC S3500 features host power loss protection, a genuine Intel controller, and a premium BGA packaged IMFT Flash array. Intel engineered the DC S3500 for consistent performance, scaling, and endurance in a datacenter environment.

We know from experience that SSDs designed for the enterprise sector can deliver superior performance in an enthusiast setting. For example, Seagate's 600 Series Pro, which is a direct competitor with Intel's DC S3500 SSD, proved itself a superior performer when utilized in an enthusiast setting, delivering one of our best two-drive array performances to date, proving that an enterprise pedigree makes for a superior enthusiast SSD.

Intel, looking to launch an enthusiast SSD, decided to tap its venerable enterprise-class DC S3500 and sell it as an enthusiast-class SSD. Intel's newly launched 730 series is essentially a DC S3500 with reworked firmware and a little special sauce under the hood. That special sauce comes in the form of an overclocked flash processor and 100MHz NAND flash.

As many of you know first-hand, overclocking your processor can yield a huge performance gain. Overclocking a flash processor is exactly the same concept. The 730 comes factory overclocked, and as such, is a good deal faster than the DC S3500.

The best enterprise-class SSDs are designed scale to well and provide consistent, predictable performance in a steady state. Intel places a lot of emphasis on drive scaling. Be it an enterprise or enthusiast setting, how well your drives scale in RAID has a huge impact on overall array performance. At TweakTown labs, we've documented cases where an eight-drive array composed of drives that scale well can outperform 16-drive arrays, despite having nearly identical single-drive performance.

Intel's 730 is not our performance champion when implemented in a single drive setting; it's close, but several Toshiba flash-based SSDs are capable of better overall steady state performance. However, RAID may be an entirely different story, and here's why: IMFT flash tends to provide close to 100 percent scaling (double the performance) when comparing a single SSD to a two-drive array in a steady state. Toshiba flash tends to provide about 60 percent to 70 percent scaling in real-world performance for a two-drive array in a steady state.

Will superior drive scaling produce a new two-drive RAID champion? Let's dig in and find out!

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:32 pm CDT

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Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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