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Intel 910 800GB and 400GB PCI Express Solid State Drive Review

By: Paul Alcorn | PCIe SSDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Jun 26, 2012 2:29 pm
TweakTown Rating: 96%Manufacturer: Intel

Specifications, Pricing and Availability


One of the most important aspects of any enterprise-class device is the endurance and reliability of the components, as the device is only going to be as strong as its weakest link. This really illustrates the wisdom of using the LSISAS2008. This processor is stable and proven, with a long track record of reliability under demanding conditions. Its ability to provide low latency access, along with the LSI OEM drivers that are integrated into every operating system, makes this an excellent choice.




Intel and Hitachi have partnered in developing the EW29AA31AA1 SSD controller which is currently also utilized in Hitachi Ultrastar SSDs. These enterprise class controllers handle all of the heavy lifting that is required for the NAND management onboard the 910. The wear leveling, ECC, garbage collection and other processes are handled by these controllers, keeping the overhead on the host system low.


The unfortunate fact is that as NAND ages it requires more intensive management. Some PCIe SSDs use the power of the host systems' CPU to handle the NAND management. These solutions will require ever-increasing amounts of system resources to handle these background tasks, robbing the host system of precious resources.


HET MLC is Intel's High Endurance Technology MLC. This provides SLC-like endurance at MLC prices. Sporting an industry-leading AFR (Annual Failure Rate) for its flash products, Intel offers a warranty of ten full drive writes per day for five years with the 910. This is an endurance improvement of 30X over the standard Intel MLC. HET MLC offers an impressive 7 Petabytes of write endurance for the 400GB model and 14 Petabytes for the 800GB model when measured with a random full-span 8k write workload.


The drive is rated for 180,000 random read and 75,000 random write IOPS, along with 2GB/s sequential read and 1GB/s sequential write for the 800GB model. The 910 specifications are measured when the SSD is under Steady State conditions and filled to 100% capacity. Intel does not market F.O.B. (Fresh Out of Box) specifications for the 910.


There is also the option to select a "˜Performance Mode' for this device. This allows the user to select a higher average power draw for the SSD which results in a sequential write performance increase up to 1.5GB/s from the standard 1GB/s. This does increase the average power draw from 25 Watts up to 28 Watts and the peak output to 38 Watts.


The 800GB model has an MSRP of $3859 and the 400GB is listed for $1929. This is an impressive price point, coming in at $4.82 per GB, outstripping much of the competition easily.

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