The SSD 730 Series Review: Intel Is Back With Its Own Controller

Test Setup And Benchmarks

Our consumer storage test bench is based on Intel's Z77 Platform Controller Hub paired with an Intel Core i5-2400 CPU. Intel's 6- and 7-series chipsets are virtually identical from a storage perspective. We're standardizing on older RST 10.6.1002 drivers for the foreseeable future.

Updates to the RST driver package occasionally result in subtle performance changes. They can also lead to some truly profound variance in scores and results as well, depending on the revision. Some versions flush writes more or less frequently. Others work better in RAID situations. Builds 11.2 and newer support TRIM in RAID as well. Regardless, results obtained with one revision may or may not be comparable to results obtained with another, so sticking with one version across all testing is mandatory.

Test Hardware
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge), 32 nm, 3.1 GHz, LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost Enabled
MotherboardGigabyte G1.Sniper M3
MemoryG.Skill Ripjaws 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1866 @ DDR3-1333, 1.5 V
System Drive Kingston HyperX 3K 240 GB, Firmware 5.02
Drive(s) Under TestIntel SSD 730 480 GB SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: L2010400

Samsung 840 EVO mSATA 120 GB, Firmware: EXT41B6Q

Samsung 840 EVO mSATA 250 GB, Firmware: EXT41B6Q

Samsung 840 EVO mSATA 500 GB, Firmware: EXT41B6Q

Samsung 840 EVO mSATA 1000 GB, Firmware: EXT41B6Q

SanDisk X210 256 GB, Firmware X210400

SanDisk X210 512 GB, Firmware X210400
Comparison DrivesIntel SSD 530 180 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: DC12

Intel SSD 520 180 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 400i

Intel SSD 525 180 GB mSATA, Firmware: LLKi

SanDisk A110 256 GB M.2 PCIe x2, Firmware: A200100

Silicon Motion SM226EN 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: M0709A

Crucial M500 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: MU02

Crucial M500 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: MU02

Crucial M500 480 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: MU02

Crucial M500 960 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: MU02

Samsung 840 EVO 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: EXT0AB0Q

Samsung 840 EVO 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: EXT0AB0Q

Samsung 840 EVO 480 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: EXT0AB0Q

Samsung 840 EVO 1 TB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: EXT0AB0Q

SanDisk Ultra Plus 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: X211200

SanDisk Ultra Plus 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware X211200

SanDisk Ultra Plus 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware X211200

Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware DXM04B0Q

Samsung 840 Pro 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware DXM04B0Q

SanDisk Extreme II 120 GB, Firmware: R1311

SanDisk Extreme II 240 GB, Firmware: R1311

SanDisk Extreme II 480 GB, Firmware: R1311

Seagate 600 SSD 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: B660

Intel SSD 525 30 GB mSATA 6Gb/s, Firmware LLKi

Intel SSD 525 60 GB mSATA 6Gb/s, Firmware LLKi

Intel SSD 525 120 GB mSATA 6Gb/s, Firmware LLKi

Intel SSD 525 180 GB mSATA 6Gb/s, Firmware LLKi

Intel SSD 525 240 GB mSATA 6Gb/s, Firmware LLKi

Intel SSD 335 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 335s

Intel SSD 510 250 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: PWG2

OCZ Vertex 3.20 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.25

OCZ Vector 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.0

Samsung 830 512 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: CXMO3B1Q

Crucial m4 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: 000F

Plextor M5 Pro 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: 1.02

 Corsair Neutron GTX 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: M206
Graphics
MSI Cyclone GTX 460 1 GB
Power Supply
Seasonic X-650, 650 W 80 PLUS Gold
Chassis
Lian Li Pitstop
RAID
LSI 9266-8i PCIe x8, FastPath and CacheCade AFK
System Software and Drivers
Operating
System
Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
DirectX
DirectX 11
Drivers
Graphics: Nvidia 314.07
RST: 10.6.1002
IMEI: 7.1.21.1124
Generic AHCI: MSAHCI.SYS
Benchmarks
Tom's Hardware Storage Bench v1.0
Trace-Based 
Iometer 1.1.0# Workers = 1, 4 KB Random: LBA=16 GB, varying QDs, 128 KB Sequential, 8 GB LBA Precondition, Exponential QD Scaling
PCMark 7
Secondary Storage Suite
PCM Vantage
Storage Suite
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14 comments
    Your comment
  • g-unit1111
    $1/GB???? I'll stick with my 840 Evo for the time being, thanks.
    8
  • blackmagnum
    That skull on an Intel SSD means this product is the Big Kahuna. Samsung just cannot crush this competition.
    2
  • Amdlova
    that 480 drain more than a 5400rpm HDD. Samsung or sandisk for laptops. Please next SSD
    -2
  • jdwii
    Nice to see the 840 Pro doing good
    5
  • rokit
    Never expected Intel to fail like that. Samsung still offers the best performance/power consumption/$
    I guess that skull did the job, power of signs )

    p.s. this site has [removed] level editing in non-forum mode(the one you see and use by default)

    Watch the language. - G
    -1
  • Tanquen
    GiB me a break. A GB is 1024MB not 1000.
    6
  • mamasan2000
    I don't see why the Intel SSD is any good. It's midpack at best at everything. Even my cheap Sandisk is better and it was the cheapest SSD I could get around here (besides Kingston).
    0
  • unityole
    how is samsung the best? http://www.tweaktown.com/blogs/Chris_Ramseyer/58/real-world-ssd-performance-why-time-matters-when-testing/index.htmlsandisk and toshiba SSD, look at the chart and see the performance for yourself. Evo doing well, but thats only cause of the SLC flash helping it.
    0
  • eriko
    All this Samsung love here... I have two brand new 840 Evo 250GB drives, and they are garbage.In fact they are so poor, I had to separate all my files, and break the RAID,and have two individual volumes, so as to have Trim enabled, and also Magician running, otherwise, terrible read and write (especially) performance resulted. I did verify they were genuine drives too. As soon as you begin to fill up these 250GB Evos, performance falls off a cliff.I'm now not a believer in TLC, and wish I had waited to get the Pro's (not available in this part of the world), as I hear much better things about them.But I've had my fill of reading reviews on consumer drives, I'm going to California in a week or so, and so I will either get 2 x 400GB S3700's, or a single 800GB S3700 (and to hell with RAID). Enterprise drives are the bomb, and don't forget that. Lost way too much time and data now with 'consumer' drives...By the way, X25E 64GB still going strong without so much as a hiccup. Not even a burp... If they made a 640GB X25E, I think I'd suck their, ok, I won't say that but you get the idea.
    -1
  • zzzaac
    Just curious, this speed, would you be able to tell that it is faster, or is it just though benchmarks?.This ssd is quite expensive at my local parts shop
    0
  • unityole
    the numbers in benchmark is a joke, especially rapid mode. its a completely useless thing to show off to consumer to grab more market share. overclock the controller to make it look faster and with SLC 4k looks fast. but overall its sh*t, sorry to say but its the truth, this is how samsung works LOL.
    0
  • eriko
    Quote:
    All this Samsung love here... I have two brand new 840 Evo 250GB drives, and they are garbage.In fact they are so poor, I had to separate all my files, and break the RAID,and have two individual volumes, so as to have Trim enabled, and also Magician running, otherwise, terrible read and write (especially) performance resulted. I did verify they were genuine drives too. As soon as you begin to fill up these 250GB Evos, performance falls off a cliff.I'm now not a believer in TLC, and wish I had waited to get the Pro's (not available in this part of the world), as I hear much better things about them.But I've had my fill of reading reviews on consumer drives, I'm going to California in a week or so, and so I will either get 2 x 400GB S3700's, or a single 800GB S3700 (and to hell with RAID). Enterprise drives are the bomb, and don't forget that. Lost way too much time and data now with 'consumer' drives...By the way, X25E 64GB still going strong without so much as a hiccup. Not even a burp... If they made a 640GB X25E, I think I'd suck their, ok, I won't say that but you get the idea.
    EDIT: To the sad *ucker who thumbed-down my scathing opinion of the 840 Evo's, try this one for size:Quote from SSDenduarancetest.com:I would strongly advice against using the Samsung 840 EVO in any RAID setup with DURABLE WRITE PERFORMANCE IS MIND.TRIM is necessary to keep this SSD in good shape. This rules out most RAID setups, which prevents the use of TRIM. The test average write speed is very indicative. It will most likely settle at just above 20MB/s. Please remember that these numbers are for high load steady state. Initially this drive performed well over 200MB/s, this will most likely be the typical speed when kept in good shape using TRIM. Burst speeds will be higher. So you see? They are sh1te. 19MB/s write performance from 840 Evo's is not what somebody intends to pay for.... And don't forget these drives easily slow down, as you fill them up.Since I only just bought them, I will secure-erase, repackage, and give them away as gifts when I return to Europe...TLC isn't worth a dime.
    0
  • emv
    I don't see where this SSD is faster than other SSDs? it might be more consistent based on its enterprise design (how is it much different than 3500?) but it is average on the tests. is it even noticeably much faster than 530? what are we missing?
    0
  • dusty13
    i am really sorry intel did not do better. i like them and was looking forward to an at least halfway competitive drive ... not what we got here.higher pricetag ok, that i expected, but double the price of other drives that are faster, more energy-efficient and cooler (in temperature and styling - whats with the ridiculous skull?!) ... that actually is kind of offensive to a fan like me who loved tha old x25
    0