Intel SSD 730 Series SSD Review (2x480GB)

CRYSTAL DISK BENCHMARK VER. 3.0 X64

Crystal Disk Benchmark is used to measure read and write performance through sampling of highly compressible data (oFill/1Fill), or random data which is, for the most part, incompressible. Performance is virtually identical, regardless of data sample so we have included only that using random data samples.  The bottom left drive represents the single SSD 730 while the right provides the results of both 480GB SSDs in RAID o:

RAID Intel SSD 730 Series 480GB CDM DUAL

The single SSD results are just a bit low for our liking, however, the RAID 0 results are ideal and right in line with Intel’s viewpoint that two of their Intel SSD 730 SSDs in RAID 0 would be an excellent solution for working with media.

AS SSD BENCHMARK VER 1.6

Up until recently, AS SSD was the only benchmark created specifically for SSD testing and it uses incompressible data.  AS SSD, for the most part, gives us the ‘worst case scenario’ in SSD transfer speeds because of its use of incompressible data and many enthusiasts like to AS SSD for their needs. Transfer speeds are displayed on the left with IOPS results on the right.

SINGLE 730 SERIES SSD

Intel SSD 730 Series 480GB AS SSDIntel SSD 730 Series 480GB AS SSD IOPSRead performance has climbed back up but write throughput, as well as IOPS are a bit low.  Quick access times and a great 4K random write result of 101MB/s result in a Total Score of 1057.

2X 730 SERIES SSDS IN RAID 0

RAID Intel SSD 730 Series 480GB AS SSDRAID Intel SSD 730 Series 480GB AS SSD IOPSPerformance in RAID 0 is as high as we might expect it and we also get a first look at IOPS that are a bit lower than listed specifications, this typical of AS SSD results.  As Intel is making the sale of this SSD as a media professional consideration, let’s take a look at the Copy Benchmark in as a single SSD and in RAID:

RAID Intel SSD 730 Series 480GB AS SSD Copy BenchIntel SSD 730 Series 480GB AS SSD Copy BenchThe RAID speed and duration in moving an .ISO file is great but we have to wonder about the transfer of the Program file in both tests.  Typically, both would reach SATA 3 these days and we would definitely expect that at the RAID level.

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

INTEL SSD 730 SSD PCMARK VANTAGE TOTAL SCORE

We conducted PCMark Vandage HDD Suite testing for both the Intel SSD 730 as a single unit, and also, in RAID 0.  The single SSD scored an incredible 75279 points while 97519 was achieved in RAID 0.  Both results are absolutely incredible for PCMark Vantage and 5 of 8 tests had transfer speeds above 450MB/s in the RAID result, with a high transfer speed of 596MB/s, this being one of the highest single scores we have seen to date.

INTEL 730 SERIES SSD

Intel SSD 730 Series 480GB Vantage

INTEL 730 SERIES SSD X 2 RAID 0

RAID Intel SSD 730 Series 480GB Vantage

TRANSFER SPEED TESTING – 25GB MEDIA FILE

Our final test scenario consisted of transferring a 25GB packet of HD and Blu-Ray movies from one spot on the logical drive, be it a single SSD or two in RAID 0, to another on that same drive.  All drives were secure erased before this test was conducted and all tested in the same scenario.

Intel Transfer Speed Tests

Surprisingly, two 480GB Intel 730 SSDs in RAID 0 even surpassed the transfer speed of Samsung 840 pro 512GB SSDs also set up in RAID 0, by seconds. If you consider that a typical HD file is just under 1GB in size, we are moving complete HD movies at just under 2 seconds per movie.  These are incredibly fast file transfers.

29 comments

  1. The first SSD which performs better random read in RAID than running alone I’ve ever seen! Good job Intel and thanks so much for the review! 😀

  2. why are there no other SSDs in the comparison pool for any of the tests? other sites show this SSD as much slower than others, yet comparisons are avoided here.

    • The best thing about multiple site reviews is that we all have our own way of either comparing or not comparing. Comparisons are not avoided at all, but rather, we have provided report consistent to that we have provided for several years. Thanks for checking our report out!

  3. I noticed that this SSD requires 12v and 5v inputs whereas other SSDs only require 3.3v. Is this just because of the controller being used?

  4. Les, I always wonder when I see RAID0 results worse than single-SSD. My suggestion for you : try to compare SW RAID0 with HW RAID0 using proper controller, like the new LSI or Adaptec7/8series you liked so much. They have definitely shown some phenomenal muscles.

    I guess several readers would be interested in software VS hardware raid0 performance numbers…

  5. is the corsair neutron gtx not faster than this ssd

    • The Neutron GTX has a rocket controller that has never got the true visibility it should. The same controller is used in the Seagate. Looking at numbers alone, you are absolutey correct but the 730 offers something just a bit more impressive that might lure in so many walking on the fence, proven reliability which has seen enterprise, as well as endurance.

  6. I’m waiting for the X99 series to come out with 10 native Sata 3 ports and then I’ll probably throw 5 of them in raid 0. My 2×520’s could do for some replacing and the raid Caviar Blacks sitting next to them are starting to feel obsolete.

  7. It’s me again. Decided to install 2 of these bad boys in Raid 0 to replace my 520 array. My numbers are substantially better than SSD Review’s: https://postimg.org/image/jr1f3hvot/

    Compared to my 520’s these things are pretty much 2x as fast and chew through incompressible like nothing (here’s the benchmarks I took on the 520’s right before installing the 730’s): https://postimg.org/image/uib8tnjsf/

    My setup is a 3770k @ 4.9 Ghz, ASRock Z77 OC Formula, 32GB DDR3 @ 2133 Mhz.

    • Nice results although I don’t see substantial difference and yours is a bit lower in the RAID CDM I think.

      • ATTO was pretty big difference in the smaller chunk sizes where your results don’t seem to ever catch up to mine until 32KB where the drive is pretty much at its max (300 vs 50k @ .5 for example).

        Also with AS SSD where my overall score is 25% higher than yours, with a pretty big 50% difference in 4K-64 results. I saw results similar to yours (50% decrease) when I didn’t have Write Back something or other Enabled in Intel RST.

        CMD I chalked up to being “close enough” with the variation maybe being explained by me not using totally empty partitions / a clean environment.

        The only eyebrow raiser was my access times for read were .06msec vs. your .03msec and my write was .01 vs your .03.

      • Ran some benchmarks with Write Back Cache disabled in Intel RST and my 4K + ATTO results start to look closer to yours (and even my Write Acc. Time matches yours now instead of being 3x faster):

        https://postimg.org/image/e4azij81r/

  8. Hello — Intel gamed you, us. The final product in the retail market as opposed to the Engineering Sample does not contain the 2 capacitors and power loss protection circuitry, and this is confirmed by Intel. Can you please revise the review, and possibly compare against the actual retail product that consumers will actually use? I bought it based on the power loss protection, but it doesn’t exist.

    Confirmation by Intel: “We have confirmed the SSD 730 series does not
    come with the 2 capacitors needed to support the power loss data
    protection.”

  9. Someone should research whether or not the review sample provided has features that are different from the retail version.

    Jim

      • Benjamin Hojnik-

        Thanks for the link. It adds an additional confusion factor, though, rather than clear it up.

        Anybody who reviewed one of the “engineering samples” should contact Intel and clear this up.

        Jim

      • Frankly, it doesn’t matter. Intel never advertised those features (namely power loss protection), so it doesnt matter if drive has powerloss hardware or not. if reviewers marked this as a feature (even though intel nevel publicised or advertised it) its not intels fault, if drive ends up not having it.

        Besides, present hardware doesnt mean present features. Powerloss protection could be easily disabled whithin firmware (for segmentation reasons or something else, doesnt matter) and its nothing you can do, since it was not an indended feature to begin with.

        It was the same deal with mx100, which ended not having full power protection.

      • Of course it matters. The prospective purchaser should be able to identify features before purchase. Reviews should be accurate and published specifications should be accurate. If either one is not accurate, it should be corrected. The basic credibility of the reviewer and the manufacturer is involved.

        Jim

      • > Reviews should be accurate and published specifications should be accurate.

        Published specs WERE/ARE accurate. Its the reviewers that are at fault here, for assuming there is powerloss protection.

      • Benjamin Hojnik-

        I am not ready to blame the reviewers, or anyone else for that matter, at this point. Many questions still remain.

        Jim

  10. Hey Guys — I got in touch with another review site who’s looking into this, but the last official word from Intel was this: “My apologies for the misunderstanding.

    What I was trying to let
    you know is that the link we found for the review, the third party link,
    where it shows the drive with the capacitors is fake.

    We
    confirmed it is fake as my engineering department double check about it
    and the SSD 730 was never built with the capacitor for the power loss
    data protection.

    This means, the SSD does not have the capacitors at all, therefore the Intel’s website has the correct information of the drive.
    Let me know if you need anything else.”

    So, either the person in support at Intel doesn’t know what they are talking about, or all the review sites I sent him, including this one, has been faked. I saw that linked Ben posted before, which confirms that the retail version has caps, but as suggested here, and in the link and elsewhere, it doesn’t mean that the physical hardware that implements power loss protection has been implemented. I do disagree with Ben about segmentation and that it’s not important. It is. I bought this instead of an EVO because of this feature based on all the reviews before I made my purchase of two of these drives in desktops where I don’t have a UPS, so power failure protection is important, as they consume a lot of power, where it’s really not meant to be used in a laptop (but you can of course) but if that was the case, I would’ve bought the EVO 850, which is cheaper, faster and also has a 5 year warranty. Did the Intel rep who gave the sample for review mention it has this, or was this speculation based on what was visible on the PCB?

    • adobepro-

      Very interesting, and all germaine, but it seems that the truth is not known at this point.

      It is hard to believe that a review website, let alone multiple review websites, would fake it.

      Jim

      • Hi Jim,

        IMHO, I completely agree, and to be clear, sorry if i was ambiguous on that statement, as I didn’t mean to suggest that the review sites were faked, or that all the reviewers colluded together to fake it to get some free samples — that would be absurd, which is what I think of the reply that Intel sent me back. There’s no way all these review sites could come to the same conclusions about it have power loss protection, without an Intel rep suggesting that it does. If the final product released to retail has this disabled, then I would really suggest that review sites stop accepting engineering samples and only use final retail products to review, as the reviewers would have no idea whats been added or removed in the final product. I’m not blaming the reviewers, I’m just saying that in order for review sites to be beneficial to users who rely on their reviews for decision buying, they should be testing the same items people will buy off-the-shelf, not samples that are subject to change in the final product. Please, don’t interpret this as mean, snarky or anything like that, we all want learn about new products, what features they offer and compare them against others, and so we need review sites, and I really appreciate the service and utility they provide — the only point I’m stressing here since I discovered this is that I think unless any company that provides an “engineer sample” for review should state in writing that the features present on this sample sent to you for review will have the same components (not bait-and-switch cheaper brand caps, if you gave nippon chemi-con caps in the ES, then we should expect nippon chemi-con caps in retail) and features in retail — we are giving you as ES instead of retail due to whatever reasons (no warranty, no resales, etc….) Anyways, I’ll follow-up shortly.

      • Adobepro-

        You have been perfectly clear in your previous comments and in this one, and I have been in complete agreement with you throughout.

        Jim

      • This isn’t so easy of a thought because of the inherent differences between enterprise and consumer SSDs, the most obvious being that enterprise SSDs meet industry standards approval and have a set BOM (bill of materials). Consumer SSDs dont have this and it is almost common for something to change for value sake, whether it be RAM, cache, or any other part.

      • I figured that, the feature set remaining the same, while the parts could change, as long as they still meet the specs of the features keeping product pricing relatively stable — with EE, the parts are explicit, so the pricing could vary depending on the costs of parts at production from the supplier. As an update, it looks like the Intel support rep was inaccurate and that the 730 series *may* support Flush-in-Flight power loss protection — I’ll reply back with the details once I get solid confirmation.

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