Intel DC S3700 800GB Enterprise SSD Review (Page 2)

| Feb 11, 2013 at 7:48 am CST
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Intel

Intel DC S3700 Architecture

The consistent performance of the DC S3700 is due to the new Intel controller, the PC29AS21CA (an 8-Channel ASIC) and the firmware being designed for low latency optimization.

Part of the improved performance results are from the firmware employing a new type of indirection table. Intel switched from utilizing a compressed binary tree system to a fully uncompressed 1:1 mapping of the NAND flash. This eliminates the need for defragmentation of the mapping table and reduces associated I/O latency concerns. In order to access such a large indirection table quickly, Intel keeps this 'map' located in the 1GB of ECC DDR3-1333 DRAM (on the 800GB model). The large tables do necessitate more cache for the SSD, with varying capacities of DRAM on each model.

The 6Gb/s controller provides sequential read and write speeds of 500/460 MB/s, respectively, for the 800GB model. The SSD also features 75,000 random read IOPS and 36,000 random write IOPS. The write speeds do scale with various capacity points.

The SSD comes in both 1.8" and 2.5" 7mm form factors, with the 1.8" devices intended for high-density blade and micro-server applications. Power consumption is slated at up to 6W (typ) and an idle of 650mW. The 2.5" SSDs can pull power from either 5V and 12V rails, or both simultaneously. This is a new approach that we have not seen from prior Intel SSDs. The 1.8-inch model only utilizes the 3.3V rail.

Enhanced power protection comes in the form of two radial electrolytic capacitors (rated for 105C at 3.5V/47uF) that take a unique approach of placement into a cutout section of the PCB. These capacitors flush data in-transit to the NAND in the event of a host power-loss issue. The SSD features self-diagnostics of the capacitor, and upon failure of the capacitor will automatically switch the SSD into write-through mode. Users can also monitor the capacitor via SMART data.

Protecting data is job number one and Intel has taken several steps to protect user data, with CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Checks), firmware and logical block address verification built into the firmware. CRC consists of a hash tag used to validate data and identify data corruption. This protects the data from its original issuance, through the various levels of internal cache (SRAM and DRAM), and down to the NAND. AES-256 bit encryption support rounds out the feature set.

We are also including Intel's new QoS specifications, which are a first for an Intel SSD. Suggested retail prices are as follows:

2.5-inch form factor

$235 - 100GB

$470 - 200GB

$940 - 400GB

$1,880 - 800GB

(based on 1,000-unit quantities)

1.8-inch form factor

$495 - 200GB

$965 - 400GB

(based on 1,000-unit quantities)

Intel DC S3700 800GB Enterprise SSD Review 04 |

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The quest for benchmark world records led Paul further and further down the overclocking rabbit hole. SSDs and RAID controllers were a big part of that equation, allowing him to push performance to the bleeding edge. Finding the fastest and most extreme storage solutions led to experience with a myriad of high-end enterprise devices. Soon testing SSDs and Enterprise RAID controllers at the limits of their performance became Paul's real passion, one that is carried out through writing articles and reviews.

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