The HP S700 Pro comes to market at a really strange time. The SSD market went through the worst NAND shortage in history, but we are on the cusp of recovery. New 3D NAND technology is the savior, and it's so close we can literally touch it (because it's here in the test lab). The HP S700 Pro series uses previous-generation components that proved to be troublesome in some ways -- 384Gbit NAND has exhibited horrific latency in every device we tested. The dual-core SMI controller compounds the latency issue because it suffers from its own set of challenges.
HP managed to tame some of the SMI issues and even drove down the NAND latency. This is the product we wish arrived last year when IMFT handed us first-generation 32-layer 3D NAND. What a difference a year makes. There's a lot of progress with this combination, but it's too little, too late. By the time you read this, we'll already have the Intel SSD 545s review online. The new SSD employs the second-generation IMFT 64-layer 3D NAND with 256Gbit die, and that should change the market.
The HP S700 Pro isn't a bad SSD on its own. We like some aspects of the series, but the price washes the love away. It's hard to believe we're still using the Samsung 850 EVO to compare other SATA SSDs, but the EVO will be in the conversation until something matches or beats its overall value. Both S700 Pro SSDs we tested cost more than the 850 EVO in similar capacities, yet trail in performance.
HP offers an S700 (non-Pro) model that should arrive at the lab in a few days. We're not sure about the hardware configuration of the non-Pro versions but were told the performance is similar to the Pro. The price is, on the other hand, much lower. We also had a peek at HP's roadmap that should take us into early 2018. The S700 Pro is far from the flagship moving forward. At Computex, we heard mutterings about a new Realtek PCIe 3.0 x8 controller coming to market, and HP will take a serious look at the unprecedented controller.
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