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Intel SSD 730 480GB Full Review - Overclocked Data Center SSD for the Enthusiast

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel
Tagged: SSD 730, ssd, Intel

PCMark

For these tests, we use RankDisk, an application developed and copyrighted by Intel. In our testing, we found RankDisk to be suitable for a neutral benchmark. RankDisk is used to record a trace of disk activity during usage of typical applications. These traces can then be replayed to measure the performance of disk operations for that usage.

RankDisk records disk access events using the device drivers and bypasses the file system and the operating system's cache. This makes the measurement independent of the file system overhead or the current state of the operating system. In replaying traces, RankDisk always creates and operates on a new dummy file. This file is created in the same (or closest possible) physical location of the target hard disk. This allows the replaying of traces to be safe (does not destroy any existing files) and comparable across different systems. Due to the natural fragmentation of hard disks over time, they should be defragmented before running these tests.

The traces used for each test were created from real usage. The traces contain different amount of writing and reading on the disk; total ratio in the HDD test suite disk operations is 53% reads and 47% of writes.

The following input traces are used:

Windows XP Startup: This is the Windows XP start trace, which contains disk activities occurring at operating system start-up. The test is 90% reading and 10% writes. This trace contains no user activity.

Application Loading: This is a trace containing disk activities from loading various applications. It includes opening and closing of the following applications:

Microsoft® Word        
Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 5        
Windows® Media Player        
3DMark®2001SE        
Leadtek® Winfast® DVD        
Mozilla Internet Browser

The application loading trace is 83% reads and 17% writes.

General Hard Disk Drive Usage: This trace contains disk activities from using several common applications.

These are:

Opening a Microsoft® Word document, performing grammar check, saving and closing        
Compression and decompression using Winzip        
Encrypting and decrypting a file using PowerCrypt        
Scanning files for viruses using F-Secure® Antivirus.        
Playing an MP3 file with Winamp        
Playing a WAV file with Winamp        
Playing a DivX video using DivX codec and Windows® Media Player        
Playing a WMV video file using Windows® Media Player        
Viewing pictures using Windows® Picture Viewer        
Browsing the internet using Microsoft® Internet Explorer        
Loading, playing and exiting a game using Ubisoft Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon

The General Usage trace is 60% reads and 40% writes.

Virus Scanning: Virus scanning is a critical task in today's PC usage. As the major bottleneck of scanning viruses is in hard disk activity, it is reasonable to include virus scanning as a HDD test. The test consists of HDD activity of scanning 600MB of files for viruses. The Virus Scanning test is mostly disk reading (99.5%).

File Write: This trace contains disk activities from writing 680MB files on the hard disk and no read operations are involved in this test.

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PCMark replays a pre-recorded trace of IO back on the drive under test. This is one of the more real-world ways of testing, its weakness being that it is more of a short-term test and might not represent long-term usage of an SSD. We mitigate this somewhat by pre-conditioning the SSD prior to the test.

Scaling from the 730's overclock is fairly apparent here, with evcen gains over the DC S3500.
February 27, 2014 | 12:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That lel so gamer skull is killing me.

February 27, 2014 | 12:29 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I like the Intel Skull logo! They haven't used it on a lot of things outside their desktop boards, but I think it's awesome.

February 27, 2014 | 01:24 PM - Posted by Esso (not verified)

Allyn, your reviews are the bee's knees. <3's

February 27, 2014 | 02:52 PM - Posted by eddie (not verified)

So can I OC this drive past what intel has already done. I would like that.

February 28, 2014 | 08:15 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Nope. I wouldn't want to push this any further. Intel can guarantee no data loss due to the overclock but only at as high as they have chosen to clock it. 

February 27, 2014 | 09:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks Allen. Count me still in the same boat with firmware should be solid out of the box *cough* OCZ *cough* where flashing shouldn't be necessary, and overclocking storage solutions being a bad idea.

Enthusiasts may find some fun out of this, but I can't get it out of my head that its just a bad idea to do it on storage. That's taking overclocking a little too far lol.

February 28, 2014 | 08:14 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

You're right in that SSDs with user selectable over clocks are a bad idea and would be difficult to implement well / safely. As such, Intel chose to set these overclock speeds from the factory. They are not adjustable. It also means those speeds are covered by the same 5 year warranty. 

February 28, 2014 | 10:42 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Actually I tend to trust Intel as far as the overclocking goes. I don't mind this, no different than overclocking anything else. Then again, I may be wrong. The Intel of today is not quite in the same position as the Intel of 10 years ago. Who's to say they aren't willing to gamble a bit.

March 1, 2014 | 01:19 PM - Posted by G5 (not verified)

Crucial M500 480GB

March 1, 2014 | 07:54 PM - Posted by PhoneyVirus

Really at 122F that is kinda warm, three years from now if that the drive will be dead. That's of course depending on the amount of tear the cells go through before then.

Nevertheless nice review and still thinking about the Samsung EVO 256GB for the new system build.

Also where did you get that Digital Infrared Thermometer?

March 3, 2014 | 11:59 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Harbor Freight :)

March 1, 2014 | 11:12 PM - Posted by CrisisHawk

At 16:58 in the video, why did Ryan say the most popular SSDs are "unfortunately" the 840 evo? I was under the impression that that was a pretty good drive, what is wrong with it?

March 3, 2014 | 11:58 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Not a thing! It's 'unfortunate' for the SSD 730.

March 10, 2014 | 05:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Not to be mean here ... but I am trying to decide on this vs. an 840 evo. Why would I buy this when the spec's are better on an evo and the price is much lower? It seems like such a price hike for a 730 for marginally better performance. Or am I completely missing something?

March 17, 2014 | 01:36 PM - Posted by ExploitedPixels (not verified)

So - it wouldn't advisable to put this in an Icy Dock? It would have a fan on the side of it and I had planned on getting this drive. but the heat is a little worrisome.

March 28, 2014 | 11:17 PM - Posted by sarasota (not verified)

Well it think Mobile data centers offers numerous benefits over regular data centers such as makeshift storage, disaster management, colocation alternative, and competitive costs. source .. http://www.cloudwedge.com/

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