Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads

Join us as we closely examine the performance of Solidigm's (formerly Intel) first enterprise datacenter SSD, the D7-P5520 7.68TB.

@JonCoulterSSD
Published Jun 24, 2022 9:55 AM CDT
Manufacturer: Solidigm (SSDPF2KX076T1)
TweakTown's Rating: 97%
TweakTown award

The Bottom Line

As good as it gets where it matters most.

Introduction and Drive Details

As most of you have heard by now, Intel sold its SSD division to SK hynix, which in turn created a new SSD brand named Solidigm. As far as we can tell, SK hynix has kept Intel's enterprise SSD division in place with just a name change. Even the personnel are names we are familiar with. To us, this seems like a good approach on the part of SK hynix, as Intel is probably the most broadly employed SSD brand in the Datacenter. Why change a good thing?

The SSD we have on our bench today, the D7-P5520, builds on the success of its predecessor, the D7-P5510. Compared with its predecessor and depending on capacity point, the D7-P5520 can deliver up to 42% higher 4K random read performance, 17% higher 4K random write, and up to 43% better 4K QD1 QoS. Much of its performance improvement over its predecessor stems from improvements on the flash front. It's not that this is a new flash node, but that the 144 Layer flash process has been refined to a point where Solidigm refers to it as Gen2 144L.

Solidigm also points to TCO savings opportunities on offer with the D7-P5520 that are worth noting. As compared with the DC P4510, the D7-P5520 series offers up to a 50% footprint reduction per GB of storage. Additionally, Solidigm's newest offers up to a 44% reduction in power consumption over the aforementioned DC P4510 series, which is pretty mind-boggling considering the DC P4510 is PCIe Gen3 based and the D7-P5520 PCIe Gen4 based.

The D7-P5520 is being launched alongside a write-intensive version designated D7-P5620. This drive offers similar read performance but a whopping 56% higher 4K random write performance. Additionally, the D7-P5620 is rated for three drive writes per day, whereas the D7-P5520 is rated for one drive write per day. As far as we can tell, the only difference between the D7-P5520 and D7-P5620 is over-provisioning, so it's likely one could just OP the D7-P5520 and get the same performance results. Warranty would be a problem, though, if exceeding 1 DWPD.

Specs/Comparison Products

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VIEW GALLERY - 29 IMAGES
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Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68 TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 U.2 SSD

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This side of the drive features a familiar-looking manufacturer label.

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The bottom of the drive's enclosure is a heavy-duty cast aluminum piece that serves as a heat sink.

Enterprise Testing Methodology

TweakTown strictly adheres to industry-accepted Enterprise Solid State Storage testing procedures. Each test we perform repeats the same sequence of the following four steps:

  1. Secure Erase SSD
  2. Write entire capacity of SSD a minimum of 2x with 128KB sequential write data, seamlessly transition to next step
  3. Precondition SSD at maximum QD measured (QD32 for SATA, QD256 for PCIe) with the test-specific workload for a sufficient amount of time to reach a constant steady-state, seamlessly transition to the next step
  4. Run test-specific workload for 5-minutes at each measured Queue Depth, record results
Buy at Amazon

Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68 TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 U.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$779.30$785.00$775.00
* Prices last scanned on 8/10/2022 at 4:08 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Benchmarks - Random and Sequential Performance

4K Random Write/Read

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We precondition the drive for 16,000 seconds, receiving performance data every second. We plot this data to observe the test subject's descent into steady-state.

Steady-state is achieved at 6,000 seconds of preconditioning. The average steady-state write performance at QD256 is approximately 230K IOPS. The relatively tight pattern with virtually no outliers indicates high QoS.

Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads 05 | TweakTown.com
Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads 06 | TweakTown.com

We are hitting a max of 235,000 4K random write IOPS at QD32, which is 15K better than the stated sustained 4K random write spec. Compared with its predecessors, we find Solidigm's claims of increased performance to be spot on.

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Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads 08 | TweakTown.com

Random read performance is where performance matters most, most of the time. The D7-P5520 sets new lab records for an enterprise SSD at every queue depth up to QD128, unseating its direct predecessor as lab champion for pure 4K random read performance.

8K Random Write/Read

Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads 09 | TweakTown.com

We precondition the drive for 16,000 seconds, receiving performance data every second. We plot this data to observe the test subject's descent into steady-state.

Steady-state is achieved at 6,000 seconds of preconditioning. The average steady-state write performance at QD256 is approximately 120K IOPS.

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Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads 11 | TweakTown.com

We expect 8K random to track exactly the same as 4K random, just at a lower rate. The D7-P5520 7.68TB performs as expected. Low queue depth performance is the second best we've obtained from a flash-based enterprise SSD to date.

Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads 12 | TweakTown.com
Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads 13 | TweakTown.com

As expected, the D7-P5520 7.68TB again demonstrates its prowess when serving up a pure random read workload.

128K Sequential Write/Read

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We precondition the drive for 6,500 seconds, receiving performance data every second. Steady-state for this test kicks in at 2,500 seconds. The average steady-state sequential write performance at QD256 is approximately 4,400 MB/s.

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Our testing indicates factory sequential write specifications are on the conservative side. We are hitting 4,400 MB/s which is 200 MB/s higher than factory specs. Excellent.

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Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads 18 | TweakTown.com

In terms of absolutes, the D7-P5520 can deliver the highest sequential read we've ever seen from any SSD. 7,480 MB/s is almost 400 MB/s more than spec. However, it's not getting there until somewhere between QD16 and QD32, exhibiting the exact same odd behavior as its direct predecessor. Do keep in mind that QD1 is the most important performance metric, and here the D7-P5520 7.68TB delivers the second best we've seen to date from a flash-based SSD, which, oddly enough, is lower than the D7-P5510.

All-in-all we see no cause for concern here as pure sequential workloads are uncommon at best.

Benchmarks - Server Workloads

Email Server

An Email Server workload is a demanding 8K test with a 50 percent R/W distribution. This application gives a good indication of how well a drive will perform in a write-heavy workload environment.

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We precondition the drive for 16,000 seconds, receiving performance data every second. We plot this data to observe the test subject's descent into steady-state.

Steady-State is achieved at approximately 8,000 seconds of preconditioning. The average steady-state workload performance at QD256 is approximately 170K IOPS. Our data pattern indicates good QoS.

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Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads 21 | TweakTown.com

At QD1, the D7-P5520 delivers the goods in a big way, even beating the supremely powerful CM6-V. Impressive. At queue depths higher than one, the CM6-V takes charge as expected for an SSD with its write capabilities when handling a write-intensive workload like an email server.

OLTP/Database Server

An On-Line Transaction Processing (OLTP) / Database workload is a demanding 8K test with a 66/33 percent R/W distribution. OLTP is the online processing of financial transactions and high-frequency trading.

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We precondition the drive for 16,000 seconds, receiving performance data every second. We plot this data to observe the test subject's descent into steady-state.

Steady-state is achieved at 9,000 seconds of preconditioning. The average steady-state workload performance at QD256 is roughly 210K IOPS.

QoS is indicated as very good.

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Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads 24 | TweakTown.com

As we mix in more random read, the D7-P5520 performs better. This time it handily wins at QD1 and extends its lab best performance to QD2. It exhibits a somewhat better performance curve than its direct predecessor, up to QD32.

Web Server

A Web Server workload is a pure random read test with a wide range of file sizes, ranging from 512B to 512KB at varying percentage rates per file size.

Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads 25 | TweakTown.com

We precondition the drive for 16,000 seconds, receiving performance data every second. We plot this data to observe the test subject's descent into steady-state.

We precondition for this test with an inverted (all-write) workload, so no relevant information can be gleaned from this preconditioning.

Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads 26 | TweakTown.com
Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB Enterprise SSD Review - King of Reads 27 | TweakTown.com

Okay, here we go. A pure random read workload is where the D7-P5520 puts on a show, winning at every queue depth we test. This is performance that matters because the majority of datacenter workloads are heavily weighted toward random reads.

Final Thoughts

As we see it, the D7-P5520 is an excellent SSD to introduce the world to the Solidigm brand. It's a known commodity being a slightly to vastly improved, depending on capacity point, version of Intel's D7-P5510, which is, in our opinion, one of the best enterprise SSDs ever made.

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Like its predecessors, the D7-P5520 is a performance powerhouse at low queue depths, and additionally, it is capable of industry-leading random read performance. This is performance that matters on both accounts and has earned Solidigm's first SSD our highest award.

Pros:

  • Low queue depth random performance
  • PCIe Gen4
  • Capacity/ form factor options

Cons:

  • Not significantly faster than its predecessor at 7.68TB
Buy at Amazon

Performance

95%

Quality

100%

Features

95%

Value

N/A

Overall

97%

The Bottom Line

As good as it gets where it matters most.

TweakTown award
97%

Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68 TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 U.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$779.30$785.00$775.00
* Prices last scanned on 8/10/2022 at 4:08 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Jon joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new storage products. 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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