In our first review of the 1.2TB model we didn’t focus that much on Windows boot time, but with some mentioning very slow boot times we decided to take a closer look this time around. With the 1.2TB model we noticed our test bench booted up in similar time to what one would expect with an SSD installed, however, we didn’t use a timer to actually test it.
In order to test boot time we are using our Z97 test bench, Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit for the OS on each SSD compared, Fast Boot is enabled in Windows and Ultra Fast Boot is enabled in the UEFI. All drivers are installed and Windows update is up to date. The times are tested with the single drives as the only drives in the system. All tests were done for five trials and then averaged in the graph below. Comparison drives are a Samsung 850 Pro 128GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD and Samsung SM951 NVMe 256GB PCIe M.2 SSD.
For Boot and Hibernation times we timed both the POST and Windows to desktop load time. Displayed on the graph is the combined time of both POST and Windows load time from powered off to desktop. For Sleep resume times we timed from when we pressed the power button to desktop.
Update: We also included hibernate and sleep resume times.
In testing the 400GB Intel 750 Series SSD model it turns out that Windows boot time about 14.5 seconds and Hibernation resume time averaged 13.6 seconds. The UEFI’s POST times averaged 7 seconds for both Hibernation and Boot. In comparison the average POST time for both the Samsung SM951 NVMe and the Samsung 850 Pro was about 2.6-2.8 seconds. Windows load time for each was about 3-3.5 seconds.
While the overall boot time is still pretty fast with the Intel 750, at around 20-25, when compared to the 6-10 second boot times we are used to with other drives, it is pretty disappointing. As this is an SSD that is targeted more towards the workstation crowd where systems have multiple HBAs attached and there isn’t much concern about a few extra seconds for boot times when workflow speed is king, for them at least.
Next, let’s go over compatibility. If you have read our review on the NVMe SM951 you would have seen that we encountered compatibility issues getting the SSD to run at full speed in our X99 test bench and thus we were only able to get the rated performance of it in our ASRock Z97 Extreme6 motherboard. The Intel 750 on the other hand ran fine in both systems. This, however, doesn’t mean that it will function at full speed or boot in your system. Intel states that you need an UEFI version 2.3.1 or later to boot from it, which is usually in Z97 and X99 motherboards and newer. In older systems it may only be usable as secondary storage (X79, X58, Z87, Z77 etc), therefore, if you are considering this SSD we would advise on asking your motherboard manufacturer about support for it first.
REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
Now that we have taken a closer look at the 400GB model, what do we actually think of it? Well, just like its 1.2TB bother, it is quite the performer. The 400GB Intel 750 threw down some impressive numbers achieving about 2.4GB/s read and 1GB/s write in sequential throughput testing, which is higher than the stated specs. In terms of random performance it reached over 440K IOPS read and nearly 250K IOPS write. In Iometer we also saw very impressive steady state performance, much better than the SM951 averaging 25K IOPS write. Jumping to PCMark Vantage its overall score of 138K was good, but wasn’t as great as the 1.2TB model’s score of 339K! In our PCMark 8 consistency test there was a pleasant surprise where it topped the charts and delivered the best performance yet, even better than the 1.2TB model. The only real con to this SSD is the boot time performance.
In addition to the Intel 750 some of you may be looking at the Samsung SM951 variants as your next purchase option as well. Real world performance is so similar that one can go either way and it wouldn’t really matter, however, the Intel really struts its stuff when delivering peak and sustained performance numbers with its enterprise background. The Samsung PCIe M.2 SSDs have a shorter warranty at 3-years vs 5-years, but the main advantage to the SM951 is that the 512GB model is priced the same as the 400GB Intel 750, thus by offering an extra 100GB it is a better bang for the buck. Also, the SM951s deliver faster boot times and lower power consumption, but you may have buy a PCIe to M.2 adapter if you want to install one in your system and have it operate at full speed and there may be compatibility issues. A final point to consider is that the Intel 750 is the only readily available NVMe SSD out, the NVMe variants of the Samsung SM951 are still unavailable. So at the end of the day the choice is up to you on whether you want the Intel 750 or the Samsung SM951.
While boot times are a bit slower than competing SSDs, The 400GB Intel 750 offers high speeds for any workflow with lower latency than any other consumer SSD we have tested thanks to NVMe. It delivers performance that is four times that of a SATA SSD and because of that, this PCIe SSD can replace a set of RAIDed SSDs used for media editing or be used as a high performance virtual machine storage drive. It also comes backed by a 5-year warranty and is good for up to 127TB writes, which should be plenty for the average prosumer or enthusiast. If you are in the market for the latest bleeding edge performance or just in it for the prestige, the Intel 750 Series SSDs are a great option.