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Intel SSD 910 Review: PCI Express-Based Enterprise Storage

4 KB Random Performance

The Intel SSD 910 absolutely holds its own compared the larger and more expensive OCZ R4 in our random read test. The 800 GB variant even tops its 180 000 IOPS specification, clearing 225 000 IOPS at queue depths of 64 and 128. At lower queue depths, it even slides ahead of the R4. The 400 GB model does similarly well, topping 110 000 IOPS (versus its 90 000 IOPS specification).

When it comes to random I/O performance, neither drive's specification changes whether you're in Default or Maximum Performance mode. Our testing demonstrates almost identical results between the two configurations in all Iometer tests.

There is also no benefit to treating each drive as a separate volume, which isn’t the case in subsequent testing.

Moving on to random writes, once again, Intel's SSD 910 outperforms its rated specifications. The 800 GB incarnation hovers in the 75 000 to 80 000 IOPS range, while the 400 GB model hits its 38 000 IOPS spec at a queue depth of four.

The picture isn’t as favorable compared to the R4, though, which uses eight SandForce 2582 controllers to plow through the 4K write test. That shouldn't be a surprise, though, given the R4's size and cost.

Testing the 800 GB SSD 910 as four 200 GB drives does give it a clear advantage at lower queue depths. This difference is observed in all of the Iometer tests where writes are involved. 

Average access times are very consistent across runs for the Intel drives, but are not fast enough to catch OCZ's R4.

Maximum response time, on the other hand, favors Intel's hardware in all cases. The 800 GB SSD 910, tested as individual disks (JBOD), does a wonderful job keeping the worst-case response time very low.