Intel SSD DC P3700 Enthusiast Report (800GB)

 TSSDR Z97 TEST BENCH

SSD Testing at TSSDR differs slightly depending on whether we are looking at consumer or enterprise SSDs.  For consumer SSDs, our goal is to test in a system that has been optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide, although CPU C States have not been changed at all.  Benchmarks for consumer testing are also benchmarks with a fresh drive so, not only can we verify that manufacturer specifications are in line but also, so the consumer can replicate our tests to confirm that they have an SSD that is top-notch.  We even provide links to most of the benchmarks used in the report.

Z97 Test Bench30

This is a brand new test bench and, as such, we would love to thank those who jumped in specifically to help the cause.  Key contributors to this build are our friends at ASRock, Corsair, Kingston with components from past contributors to include In-Win, EVGA, beQuiet, Plextor, SamsungQNIX and RamCity, this still being a key resource in the acquisition of the XP941.  We have detailed all components in the table below and they are all linked should you wish to make a duplicate our system as so many seem to do, or check out the price of any soul component.  As always, we appreciate your support in any purchase though our links!

SYSTEM COMPONENTS

This Test Bench build was the result of some great relationships and purchase; our appreciation goes to the below mentioned manufacturers for their support in our project.  Our choice of components is very narrow, in that, we choose only what we believe to be among the best available and links are provided to each that will assist in hardware pricing and availability, should the reader be interested in purchase.

PC CHASSIS: InWin D-Frame Open Air Chassis
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 Socket 1150
CPU: Intel Core i7-4790
CPU COOLER: Corsair Hydro Series H105 Extreme Water Cooled
POWER SUPPLY: be quiet Dark Power Pro 10 1000W PSU
SYSTEM COOLING: be quiet Silent Wings 2 PC Fans
GRAPHICS CARD: EVGA GTX 770 Superclocked with ACX Cooler
MEMORY: Kingston HyperX Beast
KEYBOARD: Corsair Vengeance K95 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
MOUSE: Corsair Vengeance M95 MMO/RTS Laser Mouse
MONITOR: QNIX 27? QX2710 2560×1440
HBA HighPoint RocketU 1144C 4 x USB 3.0 20Gb/s HBA

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BENCHMARK SOFTWARE

The software we will be using for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Info, Crystal DiskMark, AS SSD, PCMark Vantage, Anvil Storage Utilities, PCMark 8, and IOMeter. In our reports, we prefer to test with easily accessible software that the consumer can obtain, and in many cases, we even provide links. Our selection of software allows each to build on the last and to provide validation to results already obtained.

OUR TEST PROTOCOL

Short of PCMark 8 and IOMeter, all other testing is done with a fresh SSD DC P3700 NVMe SSD in order to demonstrate the type of result the buyer might see when comparing our tests to their own.  Our testing with IOMeter will include our ‘4 corners’ test scenario to determine what the drive is capable of in steady state, as well as server variations and further consistency testing.  Similarly, PCMark 8 requires just short of 18 hours to complete its extended storage testing, that of which puts several TB of writes on the drive.

ATTO DISK BENCHMARK VER. 2.47

ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.

Intel ATTO

With 2.8GB/s read and 1.9GB/s write throughput, the Intel SSD DC P3700 is dead on its listed specs.  A closer look at this ATTO benchmark will start to tell the story of NVMe a bit more clearly though.  We have never before seen a 4K file size transfer result of 590MB/s, much less 1GB/s at the 8K size.  This provides a very clear indication that NVMe will be capable of significantly increasing the visual performance we see in SSDs today, as files that are typically OS system files are now being executed with twice the speed.

QUICKBENCH v. 4.0

Similar to ATTO, QuickBench tests transfer speeds while gradually increasing file sizes.  In this scenario, we have run the standard tests that have graduating file sizes from 4KB to 1024KB.

Intel QB Standard

For us, the key take away from this test was the high 4K write transfer speed of 242MB/s which painted the picture that some great results were yet to come.

41 comments

  1. Instead of RAID controllers, won’t there eventually be a need for a flash controller, or flash accelerator card designed to work specifically with these NVMe drives?

  2. Looking at the heat sinking on these units I have to ask if they have thermal shutoffs if things get too hot.

  3. Is all data automatically encrypted when written to NAND on these units?

  4. Many many thanks for this review! Espacially talking about how to make it bootable and Details like this “…there is no delay and this SSD boots in about 10-12 seconds flat in Windows 8?” make it really outstanding and very usefull for decision for daily-live Power-Workstation based computing 🙂

    • Thank you for this reply. I will be rebuilding our complete system around Win 8 and this P3700 this weekend. Perhaps I can post some more accurate boot tests and thoughts. Stay tuned.

      • this would be awesome!!

      • would be interesting too see how it compares to the samsung m2 941 and the evo 1gb in real life applications, like chrome compilation time, boot time (to be fair from start button press) , big game level load time etc…
        it s totally clear that in tnerprise use, this drive is awesome, as it is in benchmarks but it would be fun to see if for enthusiasts it translates into something else than bragging rights…

      • Hi Les -is there any news about this? I’m very excited 🙂

      • Yes in the release date of your further experience with P3700 “Perhaps I can post some more accurate boot tests and thoughts” 🙂

      • A release date would be great. Any idea when this and/or the P3600 family is going to be available?

      • The closest I can get to an answer is ‘Fall’ or Q4.

      • Thanks Les.
        I did see after posting the question that Amazon.com now have an expected date of 4th of August. I do hope that is true, I hate it when products are teased so far in advance. Mind you, I’m in the UK so may well have to wait longer anyway.

      • Hope you used our links and thanks!

  5. This is a really amazing SSD. For the first time in a while it seems like my OCZ Revo 3 x2 has something to upgrade to – at a reasonable price point. I ran a quick test on my daily workstation so everyone can have a reference for exactly how fast this new intel offering is. https://screencast.com/t/q0CSeXKon3 keep in mind this is daily usage on a general purpose workhorse for the last 2 years.

    • Thanks for the input. Perhaps I should have included similar, but comparison of the 4 and 8KB results merits a definite look. I don’t think we would ever see from a PCIe what we will from the NVMe drive.

  6. Reality of Truth

    Awesome stuff, now where can I get mine?

  7. If I understand this correctly, NVMe is just a protocol, so will I be able to use the p3700 as a win 8.1 boot drive on a Rampage IV black edition mobo?

    • Yes this should work so long as you can install and then boot from UEFI. WE haven’t tried the board but have had success with a few now…same procedure in all.

      • Thanks for getting back to me… I am really looking forward to your extended article with more accurate boot times and thoughts

      • I was hoping to get it done this weekend but decided to hop on the motorcycle with the wife and head 12 hrs down the road to West Virginia… Give me until next week early. Thanks!

  8. Les,

    Can we expect to see fire sale pricing from the other PCIe SSD vendors when the Intel units start shipping?

  9. When can we buy these?

  10. Thank you for this and for many other awesome reviews! I might be in the lame minority here, but when it comes along, any reason not to recommend the 3500 in a Thunderbolt 2 PCIe expansion box as a video editing scratch disk for a new Mac Pro?

    • That is a great idea if you can find just the right TBolt2 external chassis. It is important to understand that the controller in that chassis will have a lot to do with the final speed reached by the intel card, ergo there might be a bit of overkill. Given the right match, however, this might be the most powerful combination available for this external design.

  11. Thanks a lot for the review! I’m considering the DC P3600 800GB PCI-E for my next Workstation, but do you think I will notice the faster speed over, say, a Samsung 850 Pro? My work include photo editing on multiply raw files (fairly big, already compressed files) and using Lightrooms database etc.

    I’m fine paying for top class performance, BTW! 🙂

    • Yes, I believe for extensive media use jumping out of the SATA 3 realm is a definite benefit. In the day to day use, you won’t experience any difference whatsoever, but in media manipulation, it is key.

      • Thanks for your quick reply, Les. Much appreciated! I had some envy of the very fast SSD in the new Mac Pro, but this certainly looks even more impressive, although the wife won’t like the price one bit! 😉

      • Yes I understand that all to well right about now eheh.

  12. Is there a full height pci bracket included in the package, so that it can be installed in regular cases?

    • No, it only come with Half Height bracket, if you install in a normal case, you need to take out the bracket and use electrical tape to fixed it

  13. Just want to make sure this point is clear. UEFI/Win8.1 is required to use these drives as a boot drive, but they can be used as a data drive anywhere the Linux/Windows drivers supports it.

  14. Very very interesting!

    I’m currently running an Areca 1882ix (4GB RAM) with 6 x 120GB Sandisk Extremes in RAID0 on my desktop/gaming computer.

    Performance of this 800GB version seems great. I’ll have to throw together some benchmarks as a comparison (obviously not apples to apples due to machine differences)…

  15. Does this support Hibernate/Standby functions in Windows 8.1? Just curious, since most workstation/enthusiast users won’t be powered on 24/7.

  16. Has anyone tried these or the 3600 in a RAID config? We have tried 3x 400GB 3600 in a windows RAID stripe and only getting ~2400MB/sec seq read, would have expected to see more

  17. My OCZ Revodrive just took a crap after a year and I decided to purchase the 400GB P3700 as a replacement. It was easy to source locally and in stock for same day pickup (which really surprised me!) It works perfectly with my Asus Rampage Extreme IV – I turned off compatibility mode in the BIOS and switched over the UEFI. I was concerned when the drive didn’t show up in the BIOS at first – but don’t panic. Windows 8.1 setup will find it just fine. Make sure to boot the Windows installation media in UEFI boot mode (or USB drive in my case.) The 400GB model is slightly slower than the 800GB one reviewed, but I am still satisfied. I can post benchmarks if requested.

    • Forgot to add – thanks @Lee for this awesome review. I wasn’t sure what to purchase after the RevoDrive went out. I do not recommend OCZ products, their support is jerking me around on the warranty and they don’t seem to stand behind their products. I feel safe going with Intel even if it’s a higher priced enterprise product.

  18. Is a Xeon processor required for maximum performance of this SSD? from the product description it specifically says so, I am confused.

  19. Did your test sample come with an optional full height bracket? I’m asking because of your case and the fact, that some pics show the P3700 with a half-height bracket.

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