Intel 730 Series SSD offers good performance

INTEL’S NEW 730 Series of enthusiast-class SSDs come emblazoned with the image of a skull, but they don’t fully live up to a killer image.
The company shipped a pair of 480GB drives to us so we could benchmark them striped as a single volume in RAID 0, which is how a PC enthusiast might deploy them. Theoretically, you should get close to double the performance this way; but because we haven’t tested any other SSDs in tandem, we stuck with one drive for our full bench- marking regimen and ran CrystalDiskMark for the RAID 0 setup.
Plenty of room SSDs in the 730 Series use 20nm MLC (multilevel cell) NAND. Since the SSD is just 7mm high, it will fit in most laptops and even in an all-in-one (if the machine is upgradable), as well as in a conventional desktop rig. It relies on Intel’s PC29AS21CA0 controller, which the company also uses to power its 3500- and 3700 Series SSDs for data-center operators. Intel says that it overclocks the controller by 50 percent and the NAND bus by 20 percent to increase overall performance substantially. Though Intel suggested at its 2013 developers’ conference that it might allow end users to overclock the controller, in the end it decided against doing so. The 480GB model performed well, ranking tenth among 19 drives tested. The drives are available in 240GB and 480GB flavors, respectively. We tested the 480GB model and it performed well, but not superbly, ranking tenth among the 19 drives we’ve tested to date. That said, this SSD does smoke the Intel 335 Series; and the difference between the first and tenth-place drives is statistically insignificant once you exclude Plextor’s new PCIe drive and Samsung’s EVO using its Rapid caching software.
Intel 730 Series SSD
•  Strong 5-year warranty
• Enterprise-class controller
•  7mm height
• Midrange performance
•  High-end price tag
Intel’s 730 Series SSD ought to last a
good long while, but you shouldn’t
imagine that the drive’s skull logo
portends killer performance.
The 480GB Series 730 wrote our 10GB mix of files and folders at 469.1 megabytes per second and a single 10GB file at 461.9 MBps. It also read the files and folders at 384.4 MBps and the single large file at 454.2 MBps.Intel 730 Series SSD offers good performance
I noticed a significant performance jump when testing two of these drives striped in RAID 0, using Intel Rapid Storage Technology. The uptick approaches the 100 percent improvement that Intel claims for it.
CrystalDiskMark’s sequential write number jumped from about 460MBps to 800 MBps, and its read number went from 470 MBps to just over 900 MBps. But the performance gains will vary depending on which RAID technology you use. When I repeated the tests on my own system—a motherboard with an Intel Z77 chipset, an Intel Core i7-3770 CPU, and 8GB DDR3/1600 memory—the performance increase topped out at about 50 MBps. Performance is only part of the 730 Series story: Intel backs the SSD with a healthy five-year warranty. You can tell from the capacities— 240GB and 480GB, versus 256GB and 512GB—that much of NAND is devoted to housekeeping and overprovisioning (memory cells set aside to replace bad blocks, or to swap with deleted-but-not-erased memory in certain situations).
Intel rates both drives at 1.2 million hours mean time between failure, which works out to about 13 years. The claimed 50GB of writes per day (on the 240GB model) and 70GB of writes per day (on the 480GB model) amount to roughly 90 and 125 terabytes written under warranty. Those are decent numbers.
Summing up To judge from our tests of the 480GB model, Intel’s 730 Series SSDs aren’t the fastest solid-state drives you can buy, but they’re very solid.
Intel 730 Series SSD offers good performance
The enterprise-class heritage and five-year warranty are reassuring; and in pairs—coupled with Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology—they make for a very fast storage subsystem.
About our test environment: We benchmark hard drives and SSDs using an Asus Z98 Expert motherboard (Intel Z87 chipset) with an Intel Core i7-4770K CPU, 32GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR3/1600 memory, and a 512GB Toshiba Q Series Pro SSD. The operating system is Windows 8.1 Pro.

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