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Results: Performance Consistency

Intel SSD DC P3700 800GB and 1.6TB Review: The Future of Storage
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In the following tests, we subject our enterprise-oriented SSDs to 25 hours of continuous random 4 KB writes. We record the IOPS every second, giving us 90,000 data points. We then zoom in on the last 60 minutes to better visualize the results. 

The 800 GB SSD DC P3700 puts up impressive numbers during our performance consistency testing. While it's true that Micron's P420m achieves lower response times across a majority of its writes, outliers are enough to pull down the overall performance.

You might be wondering how Intel's new drive posts such low response times, since we just showed you that it's slower than the competition from Micron. Our tests are performed at a conservative queue depth of 32, where the 800 GB SSD DC P3700 holds its own (even though it's less expensive and lower-capacity).

We did receive the 1.6 TB SSD DC P3700 late in our testing process, so we only have data from the 800 GB for this metric. Regardless, though, consistency is excellent, and the smaller model easily beats the P420m and SSD 910. It simply cannot match the tight grouping posted by Micron's P320h, which benefits from expensive, low-latency, SLC NAND.

We also wanted to look at how consistency changed across queue depths. And as you can see, there is very little change as we shift from a command depth of four to 32 to 256. It's particularly impressive that the SSD DC P3700 fares so well at low queue depth settings. You can expect it to behave equally well in server or workstation environments.

As mentioned, the SSD DC P3700 is supported by a native driver in Windows Server 2012 R2 and proprietary software from Intel. We wanted to test for performance differences between the two.

Although the resulting patterns appear quite distinct, standard deviation and overall consistency remained almost identical. We didn't run every one of our tests with both drivers, but instead chose to focus on some of the more strenuous. In a couple of pages, we'll regale you with more comparative data.

We normally don't include out-of-box performance in our charts because enterprise-oriented hardware spends most of its time in a steady state. But I just had to plot this data. Right out of the box, Intel's SSD DC P3700 hit more than 400,000 write IOPS for almost 10 minutes, and didn't settle into steady-state for another two hours. In fact, the drive aggressively fought our efforts to keep it in steady state. Pausing for as little as a few seconds was all it took to push performance back into the 300,000 IOPS-range for short bursts. 

Finally, we charted the distribution of response times at steady-state. The SSD DC P3700 gives us a beautiful bell curve without any outliers. This is the sort of consistency we have come to expect from Intel, and the SSD DC P3700 delivers.

Display all 26 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    blackmagnum , August 13, 2014 12:17 AM
    A large heat sink on an SSD? This thing is too hot to touch!
  • 0 Hide
    saturn85 , August 13, 2014 2:19 AM
    will this kind of ssd suffer from write wear out/reduce lifespan?
  • 1 Hide
    xback , August 13, 2014 2:44 AM
    In the 1st table on page 1, the "4k random write IOPS" are reversed :) 

    (3500 scores highest, while the 3700 scores lowest)
  • 0 Hide
    redgarl , August 13, 2014 3:55 AM
    OCZ already went there and even made their own connector for providing more bandwith to SSD... just a shame that now Intel try to remove the carpet from beneath the feet of OCZ. Well, old tech is new tech.

    By the way, OCZ revodrive was priced similarly, I don't see that big fuzz from Toms here.
  • 3 Hide
    Nuckles_56 , August 13, 2014 4:00 AM
    "Intel's 2 TB model purportedly needs 650 LFM across the drive"

    What the hell is LFM?
  • 0 Hide
    JeanLuc , August 13, 2014 5:04 AM
    The active power consumption numbers on first table are wrong (I hope!) 35,000 watts active?

    Edit:
    It's not actually wrong it might just be my out of date browser I'm using in the office but for me the numbers aren't lining up correctly.
  • 4 Hide
    pjmelect , August 13, 2014 5:29 AM
    Quote:
    "Intel's 2 TB model purportedly needs 650 LFM across the drive"

    What the hell is LFM?


    Linear Feet per Minute of airflow
  • -1 Hide
    pjmelect , August 13, 2014 5:33 AM
    Quote:
    "Intel's 2 TB model purportedly needs 650 LFM across the drive"

    What the hell is LFM?


    Linear Feet per Minute of airflow
  • 0 Hide
    Nuckles_56 , August 13, 2014 5:33 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    "Intel's 2 TB model purportedly needs 650 LFM across the drive"

    What the hell is LFM?


    Linear Feet per Minute of airflow


    Ah that makes sense now
  • 0 Hide
    xXXGamesmasheRXXx , August 13, 2014 5:39 AM
    These Expensive Numbers!
  • 0 Hide
    WyomingKnott , August 13, 2014 7:27 AM
    Did I misread the charts, or did this drive consistently come in second or third except in consistency?
  • 0 Hide
    chewrock , August 13, 2014 9:01 AM
    My OCZ Revo drive is a first generation PCIe model I got on sale from New Egg. No problems. What is iNTEL trying to claim? Nothing. Their new interface spec is just making it possible for low-tech users to install a product that OCZ has been selling for years.
  • 0 Hide
    drewriley , August 13, 2014 11:20 AM
    Quote:
    In the 1st table on page 1, the "4k random write IOPS" are reversed :) 

    (3500 scores highest, while the 3700 scores lowest)


    Fixed - Thanks!
  • 0 Hide
    drewriley , August 13, 2014 11:23 AM
    Quote:
    Did I misread the charts, or did this drive consistently come in second or third except in consistency?


    You are correct, there are PCIe SSDs that can beat the P3700, but Intel undercuts the price on those SSDs by a wide margin. SSDs that are in the same price ballpark as the P3700 don't come close in most tests.
  • 0 Hide
    drewriley , August 13, 2014 11:24 AM
    Quote:
    will this kind of ssd suffer from write wear out/reduce lifespan?


    Yes, these SSDs still have a write endurance specification that is listed on the first page. The P3700 can withstand 10 drive writes per day (DWPD) for a full 5 years.
  • -1 Hide
    drewriley , August 13, 2014 11:30 AM
    Quote:
    OCZ already went there and even made their own connector for providing more bandwith to SSD... just a shame that now Intel try to remove the carpet from beneath the feet of OCZ. Well, old tech is new tech.

    By the way, OCZ revodrive was priced similarly, I don't see that big fuzz from Toms here.


    The OCZ RevoDrive's that are similarly priced are more consumer drives and not enterprise like the P3XXX series from Intel. These drives will have more write endurance and greater sustained IOP performance, which is what enterprise customers pay for. Also, NVMe isn't an Intel unique thing. Expect to see all PCIe SSD companies, including OCZ, to follow.
  • 0 Hide
    drewriley , August 13, 2014 11:34 AM
    Quote:
    My OCZ Revo drive is a first generation PCIe model I got on sale from New Egg. No problems. What is iNTEL trying to claim? Nothing. Their new interface spec is just making it possible for low-tech users to install a product that OCZ has been selling for years.


    I wouldn't say Intel is trying to claim anything. They are following\leading an industry specification that most companies will move to eventually, including OCZ. Native booting is obviously one benefit, but low latency and fewer CPU cycles required are what enterprise customers are happy about.
  • 0 Hide
    bin1127 , August 13, 2014 7:51 PM
    Wanted to make a joke about the name but, nevermind.
  • 0 Hide
    f-14 , August 14, 2014 11:55 AM
    Quote:
    Wanted to make a joke about the name but, nevermind.

    AKA Megatron ?

    i don't see the point in this, it reminds me of the ISA memory storage cards. i can't see this lasting more than 5-10 years as some company already figured out how to do this with RAM (samsung wasn't it?) and is working on the need for storage drives altogether and just have RAM drives that don't lose their data sort of an mpci but in a 304-9 pin dimm slot form factor if i recall properly ?

    so these nvmhci might be on the market now but when that company brings their solution to market it's going to eliminate the need for pcie and sata except for optical disc reading and graphics cards. but i am sure those manufacturers will be looking for a way to incorporate gpus into DIMM slot factors to take real advantage of boards with 32+ PCIe lanes like socket 2011/X79/X99 solutions.

    it would eliminate the pathway needs for alot of peripherals and decrease the size of M/B tremendously to where you'd only need a PC the size of a 9"x 6"x 8" case which USB 3.1 and display port/thunderbolt/lightning eliminating the need for alot of built ins
  • 0 Hide
    saturn85 , August 15, 2014 9:02 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    will this kind of ssd suffer from write wear out/reduce lifespan?


    Yes, these SSDs still have a write endurance specification that is listed on the first page. The P3700 can withstand 10 drive writes per day (DWPD) for a full 5 years.


    oh, i see, i think i have miss that part. when NVMe first come to my mind, i thought their storage chips have move to non volatile memory base like PCM, ReRAM and ST-MRAM. but now only i notice their storage chips are still NAND base.
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