Intel SSD DC P3700 Enthusiast Report (800GB)


It’s not often that we do totally separate reviews for the same SSD but we felt the Intel SSD DC P3700 was deserving of such…and not only as a result of the numerous requests received for just this.  NVMe represents a whole new way to look at solid state storage and it is not reserved only for enterprise class use; this will find its way to the buying consumer soon enough.  Intel will soon be starting that gravy train rolling as they also roll out the P3600 and P3500 right behind the SSD we reviewed today, the P3500 hitting shelves at an MSRP of $599 for a 400GB SSD.  For $600, we will be getting performance of 2.5GB/s throughput, 450,000 IOPS, a five-year warranty, along with absolutely amazing endurance.  This is the enthusiasts dream.

Intel P3700 NVMe 800GB SSD Top

Without realizing it, Intel is going to be significantly improving the sales of Microsoft Windows 8.1 soon enough.  The reasoning for this, of course, is that the Intel P3000 NVMe SSD family will only boot on Windows 8.1, or higher enterprise operating systems such as Windows Server 2008/2012 and Linux Enterprise Server.  As for me personally, my disdain for Windows 8.1 grew with every person that sent me a note asking how they could turn off their system, or where they can store files.  All that has changed now.  After spending about 24 hours trying to get Windows 8.1 installed and booting properly, with countless failed attempts, I will doing a Test Bench rebuild this weekend with the heart and soul of the system being the Intel P3700.  Did I mention that, unlike every other PCIe before this, there is no delay and this SSD boots in about 10-12 seconds flat in Windows 8?

Intel P3700 Open 2

As much as many will point directly to lower latency as the highlighting variable with the SSD DC P3700, the overall performance picture is great.  Looking solely at the consumer/enthusiast/prothusiast/small business picture, we become well aware of the fact that we will most likely not have this drive running with a continuous load 24 hours a day.  As much as we always discount manufacturer specifications that are drawn from highly compressible data, the same can be said by looking entirely at the incompressible data result picture.  This SSD will find its way into the hands of so many outside of the enterprise workspace, where mixed loads and sporadic use paing an entirely different picture than the P3700 was intended; some of this being the result of the P3500/P3600 not being available until well behind the P3700.  460K IOPS, 2.6GB/s throughput, end to end data protection, a five-year warranty, unheard of endurance and very low latency paint a great picture for the future though, don’t you think?

Editors Choice-SSD copy Opt

Review Overview

P3700 Build
Enterprise Features
Price and Warranty

Pure Speed with NVMe!

The Intel SSD DC P3700 is the first of the NVME P3000 family and has displayed all around great marks. 460K IOPS, 2.8GB/s throughput, ultra low latency, a five year warranty and spectacular endurance will ensure great demand for the P3700.

User Rating: 3.71 ( 9 votes)


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    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?

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

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

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    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 🙂

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      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.

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        this would be awesome!!

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        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…

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

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

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

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

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        Thanks Les.
        I did see after posting the question that 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.

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        Hope you used our links and thanks!

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    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. keep in mind this is daily usage on a general purpose workhorse for the last 2 years.

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      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.

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    Reality of Truth

    Awesome stuff, now where can I get mine?

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    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?

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      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.

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

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        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!

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

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    When can we buy these?

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    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?

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      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.

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    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! 🙂

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      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.

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        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! 😉

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

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

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      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

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    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.

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    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)…

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

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    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

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    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.

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      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.

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

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    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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