Intel 750 Series 1.2TB NVMe PCIe SSD Review

Four-Corner Performance Testing

The table below contains the comparison units for today's review:

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To read about our storage tests in-depth, please check out How We Test HDDs And SSDs. Four-corner testing is covered on page six.

Sequential Read Performance

Our performance measurements at a queue depth of two are misleading. We saw higher performance from an isolated test, but our test script kept losing performance over a queue depth of one. Both tests ran after preconditioning. However, our automated script uses more of this than the isolated test. We stuck with the heavier conditioning number since that's what the other products on the chart were tested with as well.

Looking at sequential reads across queue depths, the Intel 750 Series 1.2TB meets Samsung's SM951 512GB at a queue depth of four and then walks away from its competition. Pay particular attention to the high sequential performance as queue depths increase. Intel specs the 750 Series at 2400 MB/s, and we measured nearly 2700 MB/s on an ASRock Z97 Extreme 6 motherboard.

You often hear that your mileage may vary when it comes to enthusiast-class components, and that's especially true here. Some PCIe 3.0 slots we tested only allowed 800 MB/s in our sequential read test. Supporting hardware, along with the slot you drop this SSD into, has an impact on performance.

To see just how fast we could clock the 750 Series 1.2TB, we ran a test with four workers at a queue depth of one (for a total of QD4). This benchmark doesn't represent a workload power users would encounter, but some workstations running professional software may tax the storage subsystem like this. We managed nearly 2200 MB/s with a sequential read workload, and the drive has more performance to give if you can push it to its limit.

Sequential Write Performance

Conditioning strikes again, though this time it affects Samsung's SM951 512GB. We often read comments from enthusiasts questioning SSD performance. The workload run before the test (in some cases even hours before) can change the performance story for long periods of time afterward.

Intel's specifications state that the 750 Series can deliver sequential writes up to 1200 MB/s. We measured write performance up to 1350 MB/s, and at a queue depth of two the drive delivered nearly 1300 MB/s. This test is run using a single worker, and higher performance is undoubtedly possible if you have the workload to achieve it.

Random Read Performance

Our client-based random read workload is not taxing enough to reach Intel's claimed 450,000 random read IOPS, but we're certain your workload won't push 440,000 IOPS either. We were able to reach Intel's claimed performance with a modified test, though that metric takes us into enterprise territory far removed from what most of us see on our desktops.

The Intel 750 Series 1.2TB SSD delivers more than 10,000 random read IOPS at a queue depth of one, and performance scales well as the workload intensifies. Once the drive is shouldering a queue depth of 16, there isn't another client-oriented product that can touch it.

Random Write Performance

The 750 Series 1.2 TB delivers exceptional random write performance at all queue depths. It's superior to every other client drive, going so far as to give enterprise-oriented SSDs something to worry about.

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  • mapesdhs
    Typo on the 1st page, it states, "Up To 22400 MB/s" for sequential read.
    Presumably that's supposed to be 2400. ;)

    Ian.

    PS. Would be handy to include just one good normal SATA SSD as
    a comparison reference, eg. 850 Pro 512GB.
  • CRamseyer
    Thanks Ian, we'll get the typo fixed ASAP.

    Let me see what I can do about putting a 2.5" performance drive in the charts. I'm building new charts now for PCIe-based devices.

    Looks for the other SM951 capacity sizes and Predator soon.
  • tridon
    Quote:
    PS. Would be handy to include just one good normal SATA SSD as a comparison reference, eg. 850 Pro 512GB.


    For those of us that don't have these number in our heads, I get no real sense of how fast this really is compared to my ssd.
  • unityole
    from what I see, intel with lower performance number is likely due to lower performance controller or flash or firmware, whichever it maybe we all know samsung like to clock controller/flash higher for better looking performance. reason that random write at QD1 is so fast probably because of NVMe. can't wait to see this go up against SM951 NVMe.
  • unityole
    Quote:
    For those of us that don't have these number in our heads, I get no real sense of how fast this really is compared to my ssd.


    from HDD to SSD you see the huge latency drop by about 50x, where as fastest SSD compare to ram is maybe 30-50x dependent on ram/ssd. with NVMe can look forward to at least another 3x loss in latency.

    basically it'll be so much more snappier than your ssd for sure.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Does this quote from page 5 apply to this card: "In time, we hope to see a RAID 0 NVMe boot environment that would give this test a little more meaning."

    Is this card bootable in Windows 10 or not?
  • CRamseyer
    I haven't tested it in Win 10 yet but I don't see MS going backwards with NVMe and not allowing it to boot.
  • ralanahm
    Hi thank you for the article. If you ever reviewed a Mushkin scorpion deluxe could it be added to the chart? it has 2000 MB/s. the top one is a four 480-ssd raid on a card.

    http://poweredbymushkin.com/catalog/36-scorpion-deluxe-pcie-ssd
  • Arabian Knight
    NVMe Samsung SM951 is coming soon . and I think it will outperform this card ;) ..
  • atheus
    Maybe it's just me (I doubt it) — when I see an article on something like this the biggest question on my mind is what exactly am I going to get from going with something like this for a system build rather than 2.5" SATA SSD at less than half the price. In order to understand that, I've got to go dig out another article with 2.5" SSD stats and compare them there. Please consider putting the most prevalent main drive option of today into the charts next time you pop out a NVMe article.
  • JoeMomma
    From what I have read about SSD speed, SATA3 is adequate for most people. A PCI-e storage or RAID will crush a 500Gb/s in benchmarks or workstation productivity apps pushing large file sizes. But for browsing, games and heavy use even Tom's tester said he could not "feel" the difference between a single SSD and a RAID that benchmarked much higher. Where I think NVMe shines is the ability to have a separate queue for each thread. I want the 400GB Intel 750 asap.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    1888934 said:
    I haven't tested it in Win 10 yet but I don't see MS going backwards with NVMe and not allowing it to boot.


    Thank you Chris.
  • jasonkaler
    What happens when you exceed the "70 GB Per Day" "endurance" ?
    At 1200 MB/s - that happens in one minute flat.
  • danlw
    What exactly is "Service Time"? I read the TomsHardware article "How We Test HDDs And SSDs", but I'm still fuzzy on "Service Time". Using Battlefield 3 / WoW, for example, are those times how long it takes for the game to load? (I'm pretty sure Wow loads for me much faster than 57 seconds for me) What I'd like to see is a "Load Time" chart. Will an Intel 750 boot windows and load games faster than the other SSDs in the chart? That's where the value is for me - reducing load times.
  • JQB45
    Quote:
    What happens when you exceed the "70 GB Per Day" "endurance" ? At 1200 MB/s - that happens in one minute flat.


    It will be fine so long as you don't do it to often. So write once to the drive and then as little as possible for the life of the drive and it will last a long time.
  • Larry Litmanen
    What will be the boot time with this thing? 10 seconds? 5 seconds?
  • kiniku
    Quote:
    PS. Would be handy to include just one good normal SATA SSD as a comparison reference, eg. 850 Pro 512GB.

    Quote:
    For those of us that don't have these number in our heads, I get no real sense of how fast this really is compared to my ssd.

    Yes. On all these sites it seems new SSD reviews these days contain droves of benchmark results and in the final words or conclusions it states something as ambiguous as "this is really fast!" Most of us already own an SSD. How about we move on from the magnetic drive era and give us SSD enthusiasts a conclusion. For example I enjoy the "diminished returns" comments in the monthly best CPU articles.
  • unityole
    some people would be ok with just a 2.5" sata SSD. for people that are getting this, considering you are on a sata III ssd and you are trying to explain its just much better to have it over a sata I but they just wont budge because they dont think the difference is worth the cost, and they do have a point. sometimes its unnecessary to upgrade but we do it anyway.

    right now these pcie cost a lot, and it'll drop overtime, first it'll be 2.5" hopefully we see some tlc at 4TB a piece at 7 or 9.5mm, follow by these nvme ssd become available for majority of notebook.

    sata III compare to sata I is around 3 to 3.5x of sequential read/write performance, 4k increases by around 2-3x, and due to older gen SATA I ssd with older flash/controller/firmware etc, latency is about 2-3x higher. NVMe compare to sata III is about the same.
  • Eggz
    Here's the Tom's review I've been waiting for! Great review!

    I am curious to know more about the "heavy conditioning" mentioned on the second-to-last page. It says that heavy conditioning the 750 changes the game entirely, but what exactly did achieving that entail?
  • danlw
    Toms, you may want to investigate boot times. I read a review on another site, and the Intel 750 took significantly longer to boot than standard SATA drives - on the order of 10+ seconds longer to boot. I wonder if this was a configuration issue, or something about NVMe is not conducive to fast boots?
  • joex444
    Quote:
    What happens when you exceed the "70 GB Per Day" "endurance" ? At 1200 MB/s - that happens in one minute flat.


    70GB/day would be fine for 5+ years, according to the warranty. If you decided to write 140GB/day, every day, it may develop issues after 2.5 years. Keep in mind these values cover your average drive so some may last noticeably longer and others will not.
  • CRamseyer
    http://www.futuremark.com/support/guides

    At the bottom of that page you can download the PCMark 8 Technical Guide that walks you through the test process and details the exact workload for the test.

    Several issues can contribute to a long boot time. The SSD 750 performed really well in our test systems and we didn't have the same issues. One reviewer stated the long boot time in the Guru3D report is an issue with the motherboard used in the test. I haven not investigated that specific combination. After Intel released the SSD 750 several motherboard makers released NVMe-specific updates.
  • Gurg
    Maybe I'm missing the mark, but am I right in coming to the conclusion that there are two pretty distinct markets. These test were for data heavy data processing with relatively continued higher usage with higher capacity storage and high prices. ie more of a business light. The other market would be for a product like a HyperX Predator M.2 2280 240GB PCI-Express 2.0 x4 SSD that with a lower cost of <or =$1/Gb and very fast speeds that could be used as a boot or gaming drive for consumers in conjunction with larger SSDs or hard drive for general storage?
  • Eggz
    1279836 said:
    Maybe I'm missing the mark, but am I right in coming to the conclusion that there are two pretty distinct markets. These test were for data heavy data processing with relatively continued higher usage with higher capacity storage and high prices. ie more of a business light. The other market would be for a product like a HyperX Predator M.2 2280 240GB PCI-Express 2.0 x4 SSD that with a lower cost of <or =$1/Gb and very fast speeds that could be used as a boot or gaming drive for consumers in conjunction with larger SSDs or hard drive for general storage?


    Some people might also eventually do NVMe SSD for boot and AHCI SSD for storage, especially if AHCI drops in price but sticks around. I don't know if we can do a full move away from mechanical yet, though, because of the less sudden and more gradual way spinning drives die. Putting irreplaceable data on only one SSD would be scary to me without RAID 1 or some other redundancy.