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Intel 750 Series 400GB Versus Samsung SM951 512GB

We're pitting Intel's 400GB SSD 750 against Samsung's 512GB SM951 because they're the fastest PCIe-based drives in their respective categories today.

Final Thoughts

Performance-wise Intel's SSD 750 400GB and Samsung's SM951 are fairly even. The benchmarks prove that both drives have their strengths. And under normal desktop workloads at low queue depths, I'd go so far as to call them equal. The SSD 750 400GB serves up stronger performance at high queue depths for workstation users. NVMe also allows the SSD 750 to deliver better latency under heavy load, which carries through during SSD recovery phases (one of the most important considerations if you're actually able to stress your storage subsystem).

On the flip side, Samsung's SM951 delivers identical performance at low queue depths and does so while giving you more available capacity for user data. The SM951 512GB is also compatible with a growing number of notebooks. You may not plan to use it in a mobile platform now, but when the next generation of enthusiast-oriented SSDs emerges, at least you have the option of moving it into an aging Ultrabook.

Most enthusiasts pay less attention to the power consumption of storage devices. But Samsung has the advantage in this discipline, for what it's worth. The M.2 form factor is heavily restricted when it comes to power, while PCIe add-in cards can use nearly 5x the power and still be in compliance with the standard's specifications.

There are two areas where you'll see big differences between these two products. The first is price. Samsung's SM951 costs nearly $100 more than Intel's SSD 750 400GB. But the SM951 512GB also gives you more than 100GB of extra capacity, so it's not like you're paying more and not getting anything in return. I suspect the capacity difference will matter more to power users than the price.

We saved the best bit of info for last. Samsung plans to release its SM951 in two versions: the AHCI model we tested today and a future NVMe-based drive that's still on the horizon. I really didn't foresee NVMe having significant compatibility issues, but you still have to take this into consideration. The NVMe-capable SSD 750 works in a wide range of computers, but getting the drive to boot into Windows is another story. If you have a motherboard with an Intel 9-series chipset, you should be safe; board vendors are already updating their firmware to support the NVMe interface. Outside of this generation's core logic, though, your odds decline precipitously. Samsung's AHCI-equipped SM951 SSDs naturally work in many 8-series platforms and even several AMD based motherboards.


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Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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  • dark_wizzie
    Hey, I would love to see a new article about trace-based analysis of hard drive load. I've got some money to splurge on storage I don't strictly NEED, but actually I have no idea what to buy. Just a thought. :)
    Reply
  • Arabian Knight
    agaiiiin

    How about testing the Intel 750 card in Raid 0 ?

    please add another Card and try software raid .
    Reply
  • PaulBags
    RE: Sequential Steady State, what is the percent scale in that graph? I assume one end is writes and one read, but which? Graph needs to be properly labeled.
    Reply
  • PaulBags
    Sequential steady state vs random steady state, switching between IOPs and MB/s, yay that's comparible. Bah, I'm done with this article. Bppppppt.
    Reply
  • jedimindtriks
    flexxmemory.co.uk has the sm951 for 350$
    Reply
  • Blueberries
    I'd take a 750 over the SM951 any day, you just can't beat the latency and random read/write performance. The SM951 is probably hands down the best SSD right now for the typical PC user, all things considered; having neck-and-neck or better performance at low queue depths and of course a much faster boot time.

    Get the 750 if you're an enthusiast and you can afford it. Otherwise the SM951 is going to be the best performance you've experienced in your life.
    Reply
  • Osiricat
    Hi! Anything about temps? I read in earliers reviews that SM951 warms up to 70-75ºC, for some reason intel added passive cooling over theirs memory chips!
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    The industry standard is to measure random performance in IOPS and sequential performance in throughput. Why would you want to compare sequential IOPS to random IOPS or sequential throughput to random throughput?

    The sequential steady state shows read percentage. 100% read to 0% read. It's mainly an enterprise test I imported a few years ago in my testing to see the bathtub curve of the devices under test.

    As for RAID with these drives. I'm not sure if a RAID Report is really needed. You can't boot from devices in Windows software RAID. If 5% of the market cares about these premium parts to start with then RAID performance has to amount to 5 to 10% of those readers. I don't think there are enough readers to justify the time and expense for that level of testing. If Intel wants to provide the parts I don't mind testing and writing the article.

    Chris
    Reply
  • PaulBags
    15929620 said:
    The industry standard is to measure random performance in IOPS and sequential performance in throughput. Why would you want to compare sequential IOPS to random IOPS or sequential throughput to random throughput?

    ...

    Chris
    So that I can see the difference? How much of a performance drop is there with random vs sequential? Yes I don't get to decide how my data travels, but is random throughput significantly above the sata 6gb ceiling or does interface not _really_ matter yet unless you have a lot of sequential reads/writes to do? Additionally, what kind of performance is there when there is mixed sequential and random; somewhere in between the two or would comparing the two be completely irrelevant?
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    Random performance is never higher than the limits of SATA 6Gbps unless you have a product like the Memblaze or P320H that can deliver full PCIe bandwidth random 4K reads and writes. Those are both enterprise products that cost more than a used Honda.

    Measuring 4K data in throughput is like telling someone the length of a dollar bill in miles.
    Reply