Subject: Storage | April 7, 2015 - 06:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Plextor M6e, XP941, Samsung, DC P3700, Intel, PCIe SSD, M.2
The Tech Report have updated their storage testbed to properly benchmark PCIe SSDs, the M.2 versions as well as ones such as Intel's DC P3700 which takes up a full slot. They contrast the performance with 10 popular SATA drives to give you an idea of the difference performance a PCI SSD will give you. The rather expensive DC P3700 dominates almost every test they performed, apart from boot times in Windows 8.1 which are still well under 1 minute. Read through the review with your own usage patterns in mind, in many cases a SATA SSD is still a great choice for many gamers and are much more affordable. Then again, if you can afford a $2500 SSD, Intel's offering is definitely king.
"SSDs have been bumping up against the limits of the Serial ATA interface for a while, but they don't have to be stuck behind the 6Gbps link. Native PCIe drives with way more bandwidth have made their way onto the market over the past year. We've tackled a trio of them—Plextor's M6e, Samsung's XP941, and Intel's server-grade DC P3700—with a fresh slate of benchmarks to see how the new breed stacks up against the SATA incumbents."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Intel's 750 Series @ The Tech Report
- The Intel SSD 750 Series Performance Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Intel 750 PCIe @ The SSD Review
- Intel SSD 750 Series 1.2TB PCIe NVMe @ Kitguru
- Samsung 850 EVO mSATA @ The SSD Review
- Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA @ Benchmark Reviews
- Silicon Power S80 240GB SATA @ The SSD Review
- Seagate Seven Steel External USB 3.0 Drive Review @ NikKTech
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Intel has a nasty habit of releasing disruptive technology, especially in the area of computer storage. Among the first of those releases was the X25-M, which was groundbreaking to say the least. At a time where most other SATA SSDs were just stopgap attempts to graft flash memory to a different interface, Intel's SATA SSD was really the first true performer.
With performance in the bag, Intel shifted their attention to reducing the cost of their products. The next few generations of the Intel line was coupled with leadership in die shrinks. This all came together in the form of SSD releases of increasingly reduced cost. Sure the enterprise parts retained a premium, but the consumer parts generally remained competitive.
Now Intel appears to have once again shifted their attention to performance, and we know it has been in the works for a while now. With the SATA bottleneck becoming increasingly apparent, big changes needed to me made. First, SATA, while fine for relatively high latency HDD's, was just never meant for SSD speeds. As SSD performance increased, the latencies involved with the interface overhead (translating memory-based addresses into ATA style commands) becomes more and more of a burden.
The solution is to not only transition to PCIe, but to do so using a completely new software and driver interface, called NVM Express. NVMe has been in the works for a while, and offers some incredible benefits in that it essentially brings the flash memory closer to the CPU. The protocol was engineered for the purpose of accessing flash memory as storage, and doing so as fast and with the least latency as possible. We hadn't seen any true NVMe products hit the market, until today, that is:
Behold the Intel SSD DC P3700!