Intel DC P3520 Enterprise SSD Review

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OLTP And Email Server Workloads

To read more on our test methodology visit How We Test Enterprise SSDs, which explains how to interpret our charts. The most crucial step to assuring accurate and repeatable tests starts with a solid preconditioning methodology, which is covered on page three. We cover workload performance measurements on page six, explain latency metrics on page seven, and explain QoS testing and the QoS domino effect on page nine.

The DC P3520 and the PE3110 aren’t designed specifically for heavy transaction workloads, but they will serve well in lighter applications. The DC P3520 takes advantage of its channel superiority to beat the PE3110 on the higher end of the scale, but surprisingly, the PE3110 leads at 2 and 4 OIO, which are critical measurements for mainstream workloads. The lead is slim, but it also appears in our latency and QoS sub-charts, which focus on light loading characteristics. The same pattern of lower power consumption but reduced efficiency appears for both of our value entrants, but it’s important to remember that SSDs, even the flagship variants, will rarely run under full load.

The PE3110 and the DC P3520 trade blows under light load once again, but the DC P3520 pulls out the win under heavier loads. The PE3110 does exhibit a tighter performance envelope during the tests, however, but both value SSDs fare much better than the PBlaze4, which suffers inconsistency.

The file server tests bring a challenging smattering of small file sizes into the picture, which also helps us to explore the performance of an SSD with challenging metadata-heavy workloads. The small file sizes are also important to gauge performance in EXSi, which, like the rest of the industry, has been incredibly slow to adopt the 4Kn format. A bunch of small file sizes can bring even the fastest storage subsystems to a screeching halt. The DC P3520 bears down with an impressive performance with the pesky smaller file sizes. The DC P3520 widens the gap between itself and the PE3110 under heavy load and takes a healthy lead during the lighter portions of the test.

MORE: Data Center M.2 SSD 101
MORE: SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) 101

Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

  • Game256
    Paul, Chris, any updates regarding possible release dates of Samsung 960 EVO/PRO? Have you received the samples already?
  • DocBones
    Glad to see more u.2 formats, really dont like m.2 for desktops. That 2mm screw is a pain.
  • Tom Griffin
    Am I am idiot but should this be on Tom's IT Pro? Aside from that the M.2 for an enterprise drive simply does not jive on current motherboards look at PCIe lane allocation. 4x lanes one drive even the high end CPUs with 40 lanes will choke with more than 4.
  • bit_user
    18682745 said:
    this be on Tom's IT Pro?
    You might be right, but I'm glad it's not. It represents superb read-oriented SSD performance. Especially for the price.

    18682745 said:
    Aside from that the M.2 for an enterprise drive
    It's not M.2. They have PCIe add-in cards and U.2 form factors. M.2 wouldn't fly, due to the power dissipation, if not also the board area needed.

    18682745 said:
    simply does not jive on current motherboards look at PCIe lane allocation. 4x lanes one drive even the high end CPUs with 40 lanes will choke with more than 4.
    How many of these are you planning to use? This is for read-intensive workloads, so you'd hopefully just need one, which could be paired with cheaper storage for everything else. I guess at the high end, you might pack a machine full of them, but then you might have more than one CPU (which adds yet more PCIe lanes).

    BTW, did you know that M.2 is a popular form factor for high-end desktop SSDs? It supports up to 4-lanes. So, it would seem that some people think such performance is worth the resource footprint.
  • bit_user
    The P3520 actually takes a step back on the performance front in comparison to the previous-generation DC P3500, which featured up to 430,000/28,000 read/write IOPS.
    Given the deals out there to be had, the real star of the show is the DC P3500. If you can live with the lower endurance than the P3520, it offers a compelling alternative to the 750-series. Here's how they compare:,82846

    Update: snagged a 400 GB DC S3500 at $225. Price is now back up to $275. Worth keeping an eye on, if you're interested. Supposedly, a full-height bracket is included in the box. I'll update again, to confirm.
  • bit_user
    I'm just interested in the read performance, but I noticed two pairs of images that are nearly identical. I loaded them in different tabs and flipped back and forth. The only difference seems to be whether the lines from different queue depths are connected.


    Not really a complaint - just an observation. As long as the data is accurate, no harm done.

    Then, at the end of the read graphs, it seems like some AMD slides crept in? Oops?

    BTW, the Latency vs. IOPS is now officially my second favorite SSD performance graph (after IOPS vs. queue depth, of course).