Intel SSD 730 Series SSD Review (2x480GB)

REPORT SUMMARY AND FINAL THOUGHTS

When considering whether purchase of the Intel 730 SSD (or two) is a viable one, we think that one of the most important things to consider is where Intel’s 3rd Generation controller was conceived.  It’s first appearance was way back in December 2012 when we reviewed it in the enterprise variant SSD DC S3700 Series family, followed by its use once again in the Data center S3500 SSD that we reviewed in June of 2013.  That SSD is practically the twin of this release, right down to the odd memory capacities.  This provides us with something that is not always present in new release SSDs and that is a controller that has been proven reliable at the enterprise level for quite some time.

Intel S3500 Controller

 Intel is introducing the 730 as having ‘Intel Data Center DNA’ which it definitely does, overclocks the controller and memory, places a five-year warranty on it and then let’s us know that the 730 can sustain up to 70GB writes per day for that five years of its warranty.  Everything seen so far makes this an ideal SSD for a workstation environment, the media professional, avid gamer or just the PC enthusiast.  Rather than relying on the controllers reputation or drive features, Intel then suggests that the SSD 730 has been fine tuned for use in a RAID environment where it will perform at a much higher level.

Intel SSD 730 Series SSD CloserAs well as the Intel SSD 730 did on its own, we couldn’t resist throwing it into a RAID environment and right beside a set of Samsung 840 Pro 512GB SSDs.  The two were neck and neck in transferring 25GB of HD and Blu-Ray movies, the Intel performing the best with a 57 second transfer speed.  Considering many HD movies are somewhere in the area of 800MB, that means that the 730 in RAID 0 transferred a HD movie every 1.78 seconds.  That’s just plain fast and supports the performance results of over 1GB/s transfer speeds and 130K IOPS we achieved with Anvil Storage Utilities (not published but available on request).

With performance, reliability, endurance and warranty covered, all that is left is pricing.  At the time of this report, the word is that pricing of the SSD 730 will be right on the $1/GB mark and availability may be as late as March 18, 2014.  Considering everything we know about this SSD, it will definitely be a contender with the gaming and enthusiast crowd, as much as it may be with the media professional.  Let’s face it; the Intel SSD 730 scales very well in RAID 0, has very low latency and high endurance.

Oh and LSI being the manufacturer of Intel’s 3rd Gen controller…who knew?

Equipped with a controller that has had its feet on the ground for some time and is proven reliable, high endurance of 70GB writes per day for the five-year warranty of the SSD, along with great performance and a fair introductory price, make it a very easy recommendation on our part.  We have elected to award the Intel SSD 730 our Gold Seal.

Check For Intel SSD 730 Pricing and Availability | Tech X 730 Report |

TSSDR Gold Seal Opt

Review Overview

SSD Build and Components
SSD Features
Performance
Warranty
Price and Availability

70GB Per day Endurance!

The Intel SSD 730 Seriess SSD family pulled a page from the enterprise DC S3500 and created a SSD to suite the enthusiast, media professional and Workstation environments. With RAID 0 performance above 1GB/s, over 130K IOPS, 70GB per day write endurance, 50µs latency, and a five year warranty, Intel has the bases loaded!

User Rating: 2.79 ( 18 votes)

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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