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Intel 750 1.2TB NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 AIC SSD Review

By: Jon Coulter | PCIe in Storage | Posted: Apr 2, 2015 4:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 95%Manufacturer: Intel

Drive Details - Intel 750 1.2TB NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 AIC SSD




Our drive arrived as a sample with no retail packaging. The AIC version of the 750 series SSD we are reviewing has a full-length aluminum heat sink that covers the top half of the single PCB. There are aluminum channels and fins covered by a thin sheet aluminum facing emblazoned with an Intel logo, a trademark swoop and the name of the drive. The drive ships with both a half height bracket and a half height to full height bracket. We installed the full height bracket. The drives heat sink and sheet aluminum facing are natural in color.




The bottom of the drive is a green exposed PCB. The PCB is populated with 14-BGA packaged flash chips, and 2-512MB DDR3 1600MHz CL11 DRAM packages. There are five visible screws attaching the PCB to the heat sink. We tried to remove the heat sink, but that was a no-go; even with the screws removed, the heat sink was still firmly attached so we did not force the issue. Based on what we know about the DC P3700, we suspect another (14) 20nm Flash IC's and up to three more DRAM packages take up residence under the heat sink. Keep in mind this is just speculation.




The bracket end is perforated in a honeycomb pattern for airflow. A row of four LEDs (not visible from this view) are located just behind the bracket signaling the drives operational status.




Looking down through the middle channel of the heat sink and under the sheet aluminum facing, we can get a glimpse of the additional heat sink that dissipates heat from the drives 18 channel controller. Our DC P3700 has a minimum airflow requirement of 300LF per minute for cooling that is to pass through this channel. No airflow specification is given for the 750 series, only an operating temperature range. This is a potential issue for builds that do not have enough internal airflow. Personally, I would like to see active cooling incorporated into the heat sink.




Here is a close in view of the drives 20nm BGA flash packages.




Here is a close in view of the two visible Micron DDR3 DRAM 1600MHz CL11 512MB packages.




Here is a close in view of the drives' PCIe Gen 3 x4 edge connector. We can also see the separation of the drives dedicated controller heat sink from the larger heat sink that covers the top of the drive.




Here is a good view of the drive along the bottom edge of the card.




Another shot; this time along the top edge of the card. Along this edge of the heat sink, there is a product label listing the drives capacity, part and serial numbers, shipping firmware and a warning about voiding the drives warranty if any label is broken or screw removed.




Here is a shot of the drive installed on our test system.




We are not taking any chances when it comes to keeping our AIC SSD cooled, especially on an open-air chassis.



Test System Setup




- Drive Properties




The majority of our testing is performed with our test drive as our boot volume. Our boot volume is 75% full for all OS Disk "C" drive testing to replicate a typical consumer OS volume implementation. We feel that most of you will be utilizing your SSD's for your boot volume and that presenting you with results from an OS volume is more relevant than presenting you with empty secondary volume results.


System settings: Cstates and Speed stepping are both disabled in our systems BIOS. Windows High Performance power plan is enabled. Windows write caching is enabled, and Windows buffer flushing is disabled. We are utilizing Windows 8.1 64-bit for all of our testing except for our MOP (Maxed-Out Performance) benchmarks where we switch to Windows Server 2008 R2 64 Bit.

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