TEST SETUP AND METHODOLOGY
In testing the Intel SSD DC P3700, along with all enterprise drives, we focus on long term stability. In doing so, we stress products not only to their maximum rates, but also with workloads suited to enterprise environments.
We use many off-the-shelf tests to determine performance, but we also have specialized tests to explore specific behaviors we encounter. With enterprise drives, you will see that we do not focus on many consumer level use-cases.
Our hope is that we present tangible results that provide relevant information to the buying public.
It should be noted that the P3700 was tested under Windows Server 2012 R2, as Windows 7 does not currently have native of vendor driver support for this device. All other drives listed in the comparison were tested with Windows 7.
To specifically measure latency, we use a series of 512b, 4K, and 8K measurements. At each block size, latency is measured for 100% read, 65% read/35% write, and 100% write/0% read mixes.
With many PCIe SSDs, queue depth can have a large impact on performance. Unlike SATA SSDs, that normally top out at a queue depth of 32, PCIe SSDs often don’t level out until queue depths of 128 and 256. For our latency testing, we made sure to look at queue depths of 32 and 256, just to get a gauge on how the P3700 would perform. In both cases, the P3700 performed really well. Both graphs look almost identical. What’s more impressive is the incredibly low latency on the 100% read tests.
Overall, maximum latency was also very low. Not the lowest we have ever seen, but those numbers are very consistent, even over tests that last for days.
ADVANCED WRITE TESTING
As we talked about in our Micron P400m SSD Review, SSDs have different performance states. Since the Intel SSD DC P3700 is an enterprise SSD, we will focus on steady state performance. With the following tests, we stressed the drive using random 4KB write workloads across the entire span for at least 24 hours. This is more than enough to achieve steady state. The following graph is showing the latency and IOPS across an 11 hour span.
Looking at the performance over time, the P3700 performs great. We always view the results at a high level and then zoom in on the data. With 93K write IOPS, the P3700 is a solid performer, especially for the 800GB model.
Even when we only look at the last hour of testing, we can see the tight distribution of IOPS. Normally, when we look at IOPS this high, we see more of a loose distribution, but the P3700 is able to maintain a really high level of performance with great consistency. You will see this in the next tests, but when we looked at write performance, the P3700 didn’t require crazy high queue depths. In fact, just a few outstanding IOs are enough to maximize the write performance. So, for write consistency, a queue depth of 32 was more than enough to get the results we were after. At 93K IOPS, the P3700 had no problems hitting the 90K maximum IOPS that it is rated for.