Intel 750 PCIe SSD Review (1.2TB) – 1st Consumer 2.4GB/s NVMe SSD Set To Change The Industry

PCMARK VANTAGE X64 HDD SUITE

The SSD Review uses benchmark software called PCMark Vantage x64 HDD Suite to create testing scenarios that might be used in the typical user experience. There are eight tests in all and the tests performed record the speed of data movement in MB/s to which they are then given a numerical score after all of the tests are complete. The simulations are as follows:

  • Windows Defender In Use
  • Streaming Data from storage in games such as Alan Wake which allows for massive worlds and riveting non-stop action
  • Importing digital photos into Windows Photo Gallery
  • Starting the Vista Operating System
  • Home Video editing with Movie Maker which can be very time consuming
  • Media Center which can handle video recording, time shifting and streaming from Windows media center to an extender such as Xbox
  • Cataloging a music library
  • Starting applications

PCMARK VANTAGE RESULTS

This is where our results show some staggering performance. In PCMark Vantage the 1.2TB Intel 750 series achieved a Total Score of 338,673 points! Yes, that is over 300K in PCMark Vantage. The only thing that has been able to remotely touch this score has been the Intel DC P3700 at just 160K points. All transfer speeds in this test are over the 1GB/s with the highest reaching 2061MB/s during the Windows Media Center phase.  So, it seems that Intel has indeed tweaked the firmware of this SSD to better suit that of the client market.

Intel 750 1.2TB PCMark Vantage

PCMARK 8 EXTENDED STORAGE

WORKLOAD CONSISTENCY TESTING

For our last benchmark, we have decided to use PCMark 8 Extended Storage Workload in order to determine steady state throughput of the SSD.  This software is the longest in our battery of tests and takes just under 18 hours per SSD.  As this is a specialized component of PCMark 8 Professional, its final result is void of any colorful graphs or charts typical of the normal online results and deciphering the resulting excel file into an easily understood result takes several more hours.

There are 18 phases of testing throughout the entire run, 8 runs of the Degradation Phase, 5 runs of the Steady State Phase and 5 runs of the Recovery Phase.  In each phase, several performance tests are run of 10 different software programs; Adobe After Effects, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop Heavy and Photoshop Light, Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Word, as well as Battlefield 3 and World of Warcraft to cover the gaming element.

  • PRECONDITIONING -The entire SSD is filled twice sequentially with random data of a 128KB file size.  The second run accounts for overprovisioning that would have escaped the first;
  • DEGRADATION PHASE – The SSD is hit with random writes of between 4KB and 1MB for 10 minutes and then a single pass performance test is done of each application.  The cycle is repeated 8 times, and with each time, the duration of random writes increases by 5 minutes;
  • STEADY STATE PHASE – The drive is hit with random writes of between 4KB and 1MB for 45 minutes before each application is put through a performance test.  This process is repeated 5 times;
  • RECOVERY PHASE – The SSD is allowed to idle for 5 minutes before and between performance tests of all applications.  This is repeated 5 times which accounts for garbage collection; and
  • CLEANUP – The entire SSD is written with zero data at a write size of 128KB

In reading the results, the Degrade and Steady State phases represent heavy workload testing while the recovery phase represents typical consumer light workload testing.

PCMARK 8 RESULTS

As you can see, performance is recorded in terms of Bandwidth and Latency. Bandwidth (or throughput) represents the total throughput the drive is able to sustain during the tests during each phase. Latency, at least for the purposes of PCMark 8, takes on a different outlook and for this, we will term it ‘Total Storage Latency’.  Typically, latency has been addressed as the time it takes for a command to be executed, or rather, the time from when the last command completed to the time that the next command started.  This is shown below as ‘Average Latency’.

PCMark 8 provides a slightly different measurement, however, that we are terming as ‘Total Storage Latency’.  This is represented as being the period from the time the last command was completed, until the time it took to complete the next task; the difference of course being that the execution of that task is included in ‘Total Storage Latency’.  For both latency graphs, the same still exists where the lower the latency, the faster the responsiveness of the system will be.  While both latency charts look very similar, the scale puts into perspective how just a few milliseconds can increase the length of time to complete multiple workloads.

For a more in-depth look into Latency, Bandwidth, and IOPS check out our primer article on them here.

AVERAGE BANDWIDTH (OR THROUGHPUT)

These results show the total average bandwidth across all tests in the 18 phases. In this graph the higher the result the better.

Intel 750 1.2TB PCMark 8 Consistency Average Bandwidth

AVERAGE LATENCY (OR ACCESS TIME)

These results show the average access time during the workloads across all tests in the 18 phases. In this graph the lower the result the better.

Intel 750 1.2TB PCMark 8 Consistency Average Latency

TOTAL STORAGE LATENCY

These results show the total access time across all tests in the 18 phases. In this graph the lower the result the better.

Intel 750 1.2TB PCMark 8 Consistency Total Latency

Our PCMark 8 results gave us a bit of mixed results. First, we are seeing much better performance than your average SSD with the ones above. These SSDs being compared are some of the best out and performance from these SSDs surpass typical mainstream products. Looking at bandwidth the 1.2TB Intel 750 was able to stay above the rest of the competition, however, its performance averages still remained shackled down to 350-400MB/s, not well above it as we were hoping to see. Moving onto latency we can see that compared to the SanDisk Extreme and Kingston HyperX Predator which both utilize a SATA host controller interface via AHCI, the Intel NVMe drives latency is around half. The Samsung XP941, however, gives it a good run for its money here. Overall, its consistency is very good, almost to the degree of its DC P3700 brother.

41 comments

  1. You guys are replacing my keyboard. I just drooled all over it

    • Haha, time for one of those water proof ones! Trust me, I found myself drooling uncontrollably after first receiving this SSD as well! I think that I even forgot how to speak for a bit.

      • Is it true that in the real world a user will notice no difference between an Intel 750 and a Samsung 850 pro or any other SSD for that mater?

      • It depends on what your real world use is. Everyone has different workloads. If you are editing media heavily such as video and 4K video for that matter, yes there is a difference. If you are just a power user who does a lot of typical desktop tasks you are better off with a SATA SSD.

      • So for a person with an overclocked 5820K, 16gb of ram, four 4 TB HDs full of movies, who plays games and reads the internet, a 400gb 750 would be a waste of $150 over a Samsung 850 pro 512gb? or should I just blow the $150? I am not the price sensitive.

      • Well…if you are one who likes the best and the fastest (evident by the OC), you might just have to have the 750 but, for what you describe, there will be no performance difference from the other SSD. Not being price sensitive, I’de be grabbing the 750 personally though…just sayin’.

      • It’s not going to help you with movies or surfing the web if you’re already running on SSD. It will benefit game loading times, but probably not by a noticeable amount.

        Also, a word of warning on the 5820K, it’s been crippled to only have 28 PCIe lanes. Which means if you’re ever thinking of Crossfire/SLI on your graphics card then may start running out of lanes.

        If you’re looking for a sensible decision, this isn’t it – but then, Haswell-E is probably not that sane either (I’ve got one, so I’m with you on that).

  2. So my revodrive 3 x2 failed a few days ago and I was eyeing the p3700 but its a bit pricey. Is there a good reason not to consider this thing now?

    • Up to you and your uses. The P3600 is rated for faster reads and writes, but a bit lower random writes. Then if you look at the endurance rating the P3600 is rated for 3 drive writes per day up to nearly 11PB TBW…not 219TB TBW. So the P3600 annihilates it in endurance if you need that for your workflow.

      • Its a solid point on the endurance. Its for a workstation so I might trade in this case I might favor the p3600 but it’s pretty amazing that tech has gotten to the point where this is even a decision.

        Thanks for the note and great input as always!

      • No problem, good luck with your decision!

  3. If you actually are running workstation loads then this might be useful otherwise judging by the real world benchmarks I’ve seen elsewhere this is a waste of money.

  4. The 2.5-inch form factor model interests me. It says it ships with an add-on card? Is the SSD tethered to this card or can we use other SAS/Sata Express cards from LSI to power this thing?

    • It comes with a SFF-8639 to SF-8643 cable. It is only compatible with a PCIe adapter of some sort such as an M.2 to SFF-8643. Currently the only supported motherboard for this SSD is the Asus X99 Sabertooth as it comes with an M.2 to SFF-8643 adapter. It will not work with SAS cards.

  5. Hi, can anyone help to verify how fast was the boot up timing as I get a wide range of result for the boot up timing.

    Techreport review claim 51 sec boot up which is slowest in all SSD and TT also claim that 750 is noticeable slower, yet the review here mentioned single digit boot up.

    Just how fast? Any software to keep the exact timing?

    • I had 9 seconds boot in the Z97 test system from power off to on after optimizing everything.

      • Hmmm so is about as fast as SATA drive, but just not much faster?

      • Yeah, just about the same. The Samsung 850 Pro 128GB I have as the OS Drive normally boots from power off to desktop in about 8-10 seconds…even a bunch of other SSDs I’ve tested boot about the same.

      • Well then, I guess this drive need some firmware update to really boost up the boost speed. Probably better future bios update as well.

    • I suspect most of the delay in boot these days with SSD are BIOS/UEFI initialisations and or driver issues with Windows. All of which could vary from system to system.

  6. How about testing 2-4 of these in a raid?

  7. What an incredible piece of tech! I can’t find a single retailer that has them in Canada! I was going to get a 730 series, but now, I’ll get the 750 for a few bucks more!

    Not many people talk about the flush-in-flight power loss protection, but this is a very rare feature on consumer SSDs and I really appreciate.

  8. So how does this compare to the Kingstone HyperX Predator that you recently reviewed and I recently purchased?!

  9. I second GE, how does this compare with the HyperX and some of the other high-end consumer pci-e solutions such as the G.skill phoenix and Mushkin Scorpion? What are the pros and cons? (other than a slightly lower $or£/gb)

    • There are a number of things that differentiate the Intel NVMe SSD from previous solutions, the first of which is the fact that the NVMe driver is part and parcel to Win 8 and above. What this means to boot times is that there is not a lengthy drive bios having to initiate prior to that of the motherboard. Because there are also less commands associated with NVMe, it naturally runs cooler at higher speeds and the best example we have seen of this so far is the performance of the newest Samsung M.2 SSD which reaches performance previously not possible without a heat sink on a M.2 drive. Lastly, performance is very much limited, even in a PCIE 3.0 x4 setup and the IOPs pulled off by this SSD without effort is the true reality of NVMe. Imagine that before long, we will be seeing ultra books such as the MBA pushing selling with performance specs above 2GB/s and similar IOPs which is absolute gold to those working with media, especially 4K video and higher.

  10. I am currently new to NVMe technology and trying to get a feel of it.I am looking forward to use NVMe SSD. But currently in dilemma as NVMe SSD is same as PCIe SSD?

    Also currently I am using SAS SSD in AHCI mode. Do I need any specific hardware/software to use it on my system (Fedora 20, kernel 3.13, RAM 4 GB).

    • NVMe, as alluded to in the article is the protocol your OS talks to the drive in – currently we generally use AHCI.

      PCIe is a way of physically connecting the drive to your computer; currently we generally use SATA, before it was IDE.

      In terms of specific hardware, you’ll need a spare PCIe x4 (or greater) slot. If you want to be able to boot from it then your BIOS needs to be of the UEFI variety – if you have a X99 or Z97 chipset then you can be reasonably confident that you’ll be ok.

      I think Linux 3.13 will do it, but you’ll really want to go for 3.3 which has the Intel driver in the kernel.

  11. The big question for me is just, can I boot it? I’ve got a Z87 based system (Gigabyte Sniper M5) and was really tempted by the HyperX, but this looks even better…

  12. Samsung Starts Producing 3.2-Terabyte NVMe SSD Based on 3D V-NAND for Next-generation Enterprise Servers
    Seoul, Korea on Sep. 25. 2014

    The newly introduced 3.2TB NVMe SSD provides a sequential read speed of 3,000 megabytes per second (MB/s) and writes sequentially at up to 2,200MB/s. It also randomly reads at up to 750,000 IOPS (input output operations per second) and writes randomly at up to 130,000 IOPS.

    In addition, the 3.2TB SM1715 features outstanding reliability with 10 DWPDs (drive writes per day) for five years. This provides a level of reliability that enterprise server manufacturers have been requesting for their high-end storage solutions.

    The SM1715 comes in 1.6TB and 3.2TB versions, adding more NVMe options to a 2.5-inch NVMe XS1715 lineup that includes 800GB and 1.6TB versions.

    https://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/news-events/press-releases/detail?newsId=13701

  13. Oddbjørn Kvalsund

    I just recieved my 750 yesterday and soon found myself slightly bummed out by the lacking NVMe BIOS-support in my ASUS P8Z77-V motherboard. I managed to get the drive working (albeit non-bootable) by placing it in the black PCIe 2.0 slot of the mainboard, but this is hardly a long term solution. I posted a question to the https://pcdiy.asus.com/ website regarding possible future support for these motherboards and this morning they had publised a poll to check the interest for BIOS/UEFI-support for NVMe’s. Please vote here if you (like me) would like to see this implemented! https://pcdiy.asus.com/2015/04/asus-nvme-support-poll-voice-your-opinion/

  14. Is it worth moving from 2x480GB 730 SSDs in raid 0 to a single 1.2TB 750?

  15. Would the TRIM work if I place 3x 750 in the server and make Windows software RAID5 with it ?

  16. This seems to be basically a low-durability P3500? It’s a bit cheaper than the P3500, but not by a lot.

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