NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) technology is transforming SSD's as we know them. NVMe is a protocol built for current and future non-volatile storage solutions. Designed specifically for solid-state non-volatile memory, NVMe is revolutionary because it lowers latency and CPU overhead with a streamlined command stack. NVMe is a standard specification that provides a massive improvement in both random and sequential performance in comparison to the dated legacy AHCI protocol of SATA based SSD's. Our testing has shown that a single NVMe drive can provide performance equivalent to or greater than a 6-drive SATA array. NVMe allows for greater queue depths, higher levels of parallelism and much higher IOPS than AHCI.
Intel's 750 Series SSD's are currently the only client-based NVMe drives available through normal retail channels. Intel's 750 Series SSD's are available in two form factors, a HHHL AIC (Half Height Half Length Add-In-Card) PCIe slot SSD or a 2.5"x 15mm SSD with an 8639 connector. The 750 Series employs no power saving measures, its enterprise DNA is all about raw power and high IOPS making it a desktop enthusiast's dream. We previously tested the 1.2 TB 750 series drive and the only knock against it is a $1000 price tag. Most consumers are unwilling to dish out a thousand bucks for storage, no matter how well it performs. Fortunately, Intel has a 400GB version priced within the reach of most desktop enthusiasts. Priced at just $1 per gigabyte, the 400GB 750 Series SSD is generating a lot of interest in the Enthusiast community.
Speaking of the Enthusiast community, Gamers listen up. When talking with TweakTown's in-house video card expert Anthony Garreffa, he informed me that hard core gamers are finding that there is a distinct advantage when running an Intel 750 Series SSD as a gaming SSD. Generating textures in real time is very taxing on any storage device, and this is where a 750 Series SSD gives you a huge performance boost. Generating textures from a 750 Series SSD is insanely fast, so the world literally generates before your eyes, so much faster than it does with a SATA SSD, it will make your head spin. In the near future, Anthony and I will be working up a test to show the impact a good PCIe NVMe SSD will make on your gaming experience.
As most of you know, we believe that providing results with the drives running as our boot volume 75% full is far more relevant than providing you with results from empty SSD's in an FOB or lightly used state. Testing boot volumes also allows us to comment with authority on how the drive/array handles when used as you will be using it. This method of testing takes more time and effort, but we believe it is well worth it.
Let's get going and see for ourselves what level of performance can be expected from Intel's affordable 400GB NVMe consumer SSD.
Specifications Intel 750 400GB NVMe SSD
Intel's 750 Series SSD is available in two capacities 400GB and 1.2TB. Both capacities are available in two form factors, a half-length, half-height AIC with a single slot x4 connector and a 2.5" x 15mm Z-height standard form factor with an 8639-compatible connector. Sequential R/W performance for the 400GB 750 is listed at 2200/900 MB/s. 4K random read performance is listed at up to 430,000 IOPS. 4K random write performance is listed at up to 230,000 IOPS. Both available form factors (AIC & 2.5") carry identical performance ratings.
Enhanced power-loss protection is provided by onboard capacitors. Data protection is enhanced by up to 32GB of the drives memory dedicated to XOR internal data parity. Endurance is rated at up to 70GB per day or 219 TBW (Terabytes Written). Power consumption is listed at 12W active / 4W idle. The 400GB drive has a MSRP of $389 and the 1.2TB drive $1029. Intel backs the 750 series with a five-year limited warranty.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Drive Specifications, Pricing and Availability]
- Page 2 [Drive Details]
- Page 3 [Test System Setup and Properties]
- Page 4 [Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO & Anvil Storage Utilities]
- Page 5 [Synthetic Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark & AS SSD]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks (Trace Based OS Volume) - PCMark Vantage, PCMark 7 & PCMark 8]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) - Max IOPS, Disk Response & Transfer Rates]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) - PCMark 8 Extended]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) - 70/30 Mixed Workload]
- Page 10 [Maxed-Out Performance (MOP)]
- Page 11 [Final Thoughts]