Intel DC S3700 SSD Review; Home User Edition
Last week we had the opportunity to test Intel’s new DC S3700 (in 200GB and 800GB forms) within its native datacenter environment. When used to the utmost of their abilities, these drives have the potential to offer an extremely capable option for enterprise clients due to a near-perfect combination of reliability and consistent performance. But what about home users? Can they benefit from Intel’s latest SSDs?
The very thought of using a professional-market product within a gaming or content creation system may seem crazy at first but there’s a reasoning behind our madness. Unlike many other SSDs in this segment which are used as straight-up storage devices in multi drive environments, the DC S3700 can be used as a bootable drive. As such, anyone willing to make the substantial investment can install Windows or any other OS onto it.
Naturally, there will be some sacrifices since Intel has equipped their DC S3700 with a custom firmware which is tweaked for deeper queue depths than the typical single user system will ever encounter. These drives’ focus directed towards longevity, data protection and consistency rather than bleeding edge performance of most high end mass market SSDs. However, the Intel’s X25 Gen 3 controller proved it could offer high level I/O numbers so it might be able to cross the boundaries into home user environments.
Regardless of the DC S3700’s extreme flexibility, it is still a drive which targets clients who pay dearly for the best possible data security. In a typical scenario this would lead to an eye-watering price envelope; one which would put these drives far out of reach for most consumers. That hasn’t quite happened.
With approximate price of $2.35 per GB, we certainly wouldn’t call the DC S3700 series affordable when compared against most high end consumer grade devices - which now come in at under $1- but it is not so high as to be outside the realm of possibility. Not that long ago, such prices were considered par for the course for enthusiasts. These facts – and our admittedly insatiable curiosity – warranted a second look.
Unlike the first review of the DC S3700 200GB and 800GB drives, we won’t be focusing in on the Enterprise environment here. Rather, all of our standard tests will be run – except IOMeter - and the data will be compared to everything from an Intel 520 to an OCZ Vector. By the end of this second review we will be able to answer once and for all if the fast response time, massive over-provisioning and excellent long term performance allow the DC S3700 to act as a cross-platform model and interest consumers far outside its intended design parameters.
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