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Intel DC P3520 2TB Enterprise PCIe NVMe SSD Review

By: Jon Coulter | SSDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Jan 16, 2017 4:50 pm
TweakTown Rating: 97%Manufacturer: Intel

4K Random Write/Read




We precondition the drive for 16,000 seconds, or 4.44 hours, receiving performance data every second. We plot this data to observe the test subject's descent into steady-state. We plot both IOPS and Latency. We plot IOPS (represented by blue scatter) in thousands and Latency (represented by orange scatter) in milliseconds. We observe steady-state is achieved at 9,000 seconds of preconditioning. Average steady-state write performance at QD256 is approximately 30K IOPS.





With our configuration, we are able to exceed Intel's 4K random write factory specification of 26,000 IOPS at QD1-256. These charts clearly demonstrate the reason we retested everything at low queue depths. QD1 is arguably the most important random performance metric, and this is where the DC P3520 shines brightest.


At QD1, the DC P3520 has a clear advantage over the DC P3700. The DC P3520 doesn't scale much with increased queue depths; it maxes out at QD4 which is only a little over 2,000 IOPS higher than QD1. The DC P3520 is only a little faster than the best SATA currently has to offer when writing random data. The DC P3520 is definitely read-centric as these charts clearly show.






Again, the DC P3520 has the powerful and expensive DC P3700 beat at QD1 by a significant margin. In fact, the read-centric DC P3520 outperforms the DC P3700 up to QD4 and trails it closely up to QD32. These charts clearly show the massive advantage the DC P3520 has over SATA-based SSDs when reading random data at queue depths above QD4. Even though reading random data usually occurs at lower queue depths, reading data at queues above four occurs at a high enough percentage of the time that the DC P3520 has a clear advantage over SATA-based SSDs. The real differentiator between the DC P3520 and SATA SSDs is its exceptional QoS (Quality of Service) as shown by Intel's spec sheet on page two of this review.


Conclusion (TL;DR): The DC P3520 delivers excellent QD1 write performance that outpaces the more powerful DCP3700. When reading random data, the DC P3520 outperforms the DC P3700 where it matters most QD1-4. The DC P3520's random read performance at queues above four clearly shows the inherent advantage it has over SATA SSDs.

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