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Although this is technically a brand new SSD family, everything under the SSD 710's hood is pretty darned familiar. In fact, this enterprise-oriented drive is a mirror image of the consumer-oriented SSD 320. Both employ a ten-channel architecture based on Intel's PC29AS21BA0 controller. The difference, of course, is that the 710 SSD uses HET MLC, which is responsible for a scaled-back write speed rating. Beyond the controller and NAND, the SSD 320 and 710 share the ability to apply AES-128 encryption and protect data during power outages through the use of on-board capacitors.
|Intel SSD 320 (G3)||Intel SSD 710|
|Capacities||120/160/300/600 GB||100/200/300 GB|
|NAND||IMFT 25 nm MLC, ONFI 2.2||IMFT 25 nm HET MLC, ONFI 2.2|
|Cache||64 MB DRAM, 166 MHz||64 MB DRAM, 166 MHz|
|Sequential Read||270 MB/s||270 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||220 MB/s||210 MB/s|
|4 KB Random Read||39 500 IOPS||38 500 IOPS|
|4 KB Random Write||23 000 IOPS||2700 IOPS|
|Security||ATA Password + AES-128||ATA Password + AES-128|
Put a 300 GB SSD 320 and a 200 GB SSD 710 next to each other; it's difficult to distinguish one from the other.
|Intel SSD 710|
|Intel SSD 320|
|Market Price (Debut)||$1299||$549|
|Price Per GB||$6.50||$1.83|
|Raw Flash ||320 GB||320 GB|
|IDEMA Capacity||200 GB||300 GB|
|User Accessible||186.31 GiB||279.46 GiB|
Like the 300 GB SSD 320 in our lab, Intel's 200 GB SSD 710 has 20 NAND packages, each one adding 16 GB to the drive's capacity. But while each SSD's PCB is aesthetically identical, the company's enterprise offering employs 40% over-provisioning. That's the highest we've seen from any product. This is a critical component in the adoption of MLC in the enterprise space, though, as increasing over-provisioning decreases write amplification, which in turn positively impacts the drive's endurance.
While 40% sounds like a lot, Intel recommends even more over-provisioning for write-heavy applications. If it were to set aside an additional 20% of the drive's NAND flash, write endurance would increase by another 50% or so. Combining HET MLC and exorbitant amounts of over-provisioning allows the SSD 710 to achieve an endurance rating 33x higher than the consumer-flavored SSD 320.
(20% Extra Over-Provisioning In Parentheses)
|NAND||Capacity Point||Endurance Rating|
|Intel SSD 320||MLC||160 GB|
|Intel SSD 710||HET MLC||100 GB|
|500 TB (900 TB)|
1.0 PB (1.5 PB)
1.1 PB (1.5 PB)
Although there's one formula you can use to calculate the endurance of enterprise- and consumer-oriented SSDs, both classes employ different specifications. After all of the available P/E cycles are consumed, NAND cells on a consumer SSD (like the 320) retain data for 12 months. On enterprise-oriented SSDs (like the 710), it's only possible to retrieve data for three months, which is perfectly fine. In the world of enterprise storage, swapping out a defective drive occurs within hours, so a lengthy data retention window is unnecessary.
|Uncorrectable Bit |
|≤ 3%||≤ 10-15|
|≤ 3%||≤ 10-16|