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Intel DC S3500 480GB Enterprise SSD Review

By: Paul Alcorn | SSDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Jun 11, 2013 7:31 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Intel

Intel DC S3500 Architecture


The DC S3500 employs many of the same approaches that revolutionized performance consistency for the Intel DC S3700. The consistent performance of the DC S3700 is due to the new Intel controller, the PC29AS21CA0 (an 8-Channel ASIC), and the firmware being designed for low latency optimization.


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 DDR3-1600 DRAM. The large tables necessitate more cache for the SSD, with varying capacities of DRAM on each model. The memory is ECC protected to ensure the validity of the cached table data.


The 6Gb/s PC29AS21CA0 controller provides sequential read and write speeds of 500/450 MB/s, respectively, for the 800GB model. The SSD also features 75,000 random read IOPS and 11,500 random write IOPS. The write performance scales with various capacity points. Power consumption is slated at up to 5W (typ) and an idle of 650mW.


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.


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.


The Intel DC S3500 comes in a wide range of capacities, with the 2.5 inch SSDs coming in 80, 120, 160, 240, 300, 480, 600 and 800GB capacities. The DC S3500 is also offered in the 1.8-inch form factor, with capacities of 80, 240, 400 and 800GB.


Intel provides the Solid-State Drive Toolbox for easy management of the SSD. The DC S3500 features an UBER rating of 1 sector per 10E17 bits read and a MTBF of 2 million hours. The SSD features a five year warranty.


The DC S3500 and DCS3700 are designed for different environments, and we include the workload breakdown below the specifications.





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