The Intel 710 Series SSD is a great entry into the enterprise market and can be seen as an SSD, not only of excellent capacity, but of great performance and value as well. In order to get a clear picture of how we arrived at this, a number of factors had to be examined very closely.
The only real competitor to the Intel 710 is Intel’s own X25E Series. The Intel X25E was available in capacities of 32 and 64GB whereas the new 710 is available in capacities of 100, 200 and 300GB. These capacities do not include the spare area which, in the case of the 200GB, is 120GB.
The Intel 710 contains Intel 25nm High Endurance Technology multi-level cell NAND whereas the X25E contained single level cell NAND. Not only is the HET MLC NAND more affordable, but also, Intel has been able to ensure the lifespan of this is comperable to that of SLC NAND.
In speaking to any number of IT System Managers over the last year or so, I learned that a three year life span for SSDs in newly migrated servers makes the transition financially viable. This is truly where the 710 is key with its HET-MLC NAND flash memory, spare area and ability to over provision yet another 20%. In comparing it to a typical SSD such as the Intel 320 (300GB), the 320 has an endurance lifespan of 30TB compared to that of the 710 which has 1.1PB or 1.5PB with 20% over provisioning utilized. At its premium of 20% over provisioning, the 710 lasts 51 times longer than the 320 (1.5PB=1536TB/30).
The fact that the Intel 710 Series SSD is not a SATA 3 SSD has no bearing on the marketplace that it intends to occupy. Through our battery of tests, it’s performance can only be described as ‘rock solid’ and it easily qualifies as an ‘upper tier’ SATA II SSD. Considering the fact that Intel conducts its testing at 4k random write which is the worst case scenario, the new 710 should provide any data center with years of perfect operation.
The Intel X25E can still be found at an average price of $800 for a 64GB version which is about $12.50/GB. Conversely, our Intel 710 sample retails at $1299 or $6.49/GB which just about half that of the X25E. In considering that this is also a ‘new release’ prices will eventually settle a bit lower.
The 710 has the capacity, lifespan, performance and value to carve its own place in data centers worldwide.