Intel DC S3500 Data Center SSD Review (480GB x 4) – Speed, Great Features and Rock Bottom Prices

SNIA IOPS TESTING

The Storage Networking Industry Association has an entire industry accepted performance test specification for solid state storage devices. Some of the tests are complicated to perform, but they allow us to look at some important performance metrics in a standard, objective way.

IntelS3500-SNIA

SNIA’s Performance Test Specification (PTS) includes IOPS testing, but it is much more comprehensive than just running 4KB writes with IOMeter. SNIA testing is more like a marathon than a sprint. In total, there are 25 rounds of tests, each lasting 56 minutes. Each round consists of 8 different block sizes (512 bytes through 1MB) and 7 different access patterns (100% reads to 100% writes). After 25 rounds are finished (just a bit longer than 23 hours), we record the average performance of 4 rounds after we enter steady state.

  • Preconditioning: 3x capacity fill with 128K sequential writes
  • Each round is composed of .5K, 4K, 8K, 16K, 32K, 64K, 128K, and 1MB accesses
  • Each access size is run at 100%, 95%, 65%, 50%, 35%, 5%, and 0% Read/Write Mixes, each for one minute.
  • The test is composed of 25 rounds (one round takes 56 minutes, 25 rounds = 1,400 minutes)

IntelS3500-SNIA2

What stood out when we compared the SNIA results for the S3500 and SM843 was the 65% and 95% reads at 512B and 4KB.  In each case, the S3500 had a 50% advantage over the SM843.  This is especially odd considering the SM843 posted better 100% read results at all transfer sizes.  This follows the trend was saw with the average response times.  The S3500 just performs better with a lightly mixed workload.

Unlike our other performance tests, the SNIA tests only last for a relatively short period of time each (1 minute), but they cover many more access patterns and transfer sizes. You may have noticed that some of the SNIA results are higher or lower than in our other tests.  The reason for this is because SSD performance is heavily predicated on previous workloads.  Toggling between large and small blocks and reads to writes is stressful on the drive and results can vary.  This is why we take the average of multiple runs. What it does show is how well a drive’s firmware can perform garbage collection, TRIM and many other internal housekeeping tasks.

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dravo1
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dravo1

Two things concern me with this SSD. The power protection caps look rather outdated compared to other enterprise SSDs. Secondly, the SSD label indicates a +12V line is required along with the usual +5V. My OCZ SSDs only required +5V . What’s the +12V being used for?

Ben Chase
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Ben Chase

dravo1 – The S3500/S3700s can operate on both the 5 and 12V rail. 12V is useful in enterprise rack systems where it may be more readily available than 5V. All of our testing was performed in systems using only 5V, so don’t worry too much.

Sam Brown
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Sam Brown

what about the SM843 with tantalum caps? or the SM843T with super caps and e-mlc?

Ben Chase
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Ben Chase

We can’t say much about products that are not released, but if the 843 had power loss caps, it would be much more attractive to enterprise. If they add a high endurance option, that would put it in a difference price/performance class, so it’s hard to tell how it would stack up,

Sam Brown
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Sam Brown

they are just sold through oem like samsung was before their consumer SSD. Used to be microcenter was the only place to get samsung hard drives. SM843T is the same as the 840 pro as far as they are concerned the factory OP is higher. the 840 Pro only worked after we moved to 30% OP with some megascu love to the LSI 9266

Takeshi Yashima
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The write endurance seems to be pretty low though! 450000GB/800GB = 562 cycles. Others do something like 2-3000!

benjamin
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benjamin

You need to the into account the WA aswell, especially becouse it uses no compression, it will always be more than 1.

Ben Chase
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Ben Chase

Yes, with the JESD standard, the write amplification is 5-7X, from my experience. If you are looking at a workload where WA=~1, you are looking at slightly over 3000 PE cycles.

Amos
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Amos

Does it work with macbook pro early 2011, core i7, 500gb? looking to upgrade to SSD.

Les@TheSSDReview
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Of course it will.