Final Words

The vast majority of PCIe SSDs have been disappointing up to this point. We either saw poorly implemented designs that offered SATA RAID on a PCIe card or high priced, proprietary PCIe designs. The arrival of NVMe gives SSDs the breathing room they need to continue to grow. We finally get a low latency, low overhead interface and we get to shed SATA once and for all.

Intel's SSD DC P3700 gives us our first look at an NVMe drive, and the results are impressive. A single P3700 can deliver up to 450K random read IOPS, 150K random write IOPS and nearly 2GB/s of sequential writes. Sequential reads are even more impressive at between 2 - 3GB/s. All of this performance comes with very low latency operation thanks to an updated controller and the new NVMe stack. CPU efficiency is quite good thanks to NVMe as well. You get all of this at $3/GB, or less ($1.4975/GB) if you're willing to give up some performance and endurance. As an enterprise drive, the P3700 is an excellent option. I can't imagine what a few of these would do in a server. At some of the price points that Intel is talking about for the lower models, the P3xxx series won't be too far out of the reach of performance enthusiasts either. 

Intel's P3700 launch deck had a slide that put the P3700's performance in perspective compared to the number of SATA SSDs it could replace. I found the comparison interesting so I ran similar data, assuming perfect RAID scaling from adding together multiple DC S3700s. The comparison isn't perfect (capacity differences for one), but here's what I came up with:

A single P3700 ends up replacing 4 - 6 high performance SATA drives. If you don't need high sustained 4KB random write performance, you can get similar numbers out of the cheaper P3600 and P3500 as well. This is a very big deal.

Once again we see Intel at the forefront of a new wave of SSDs. What I really want to see now however is continued execution. We don't see infrequent blips of CPU architecture releases from Intel, we get a regular, 2-year tick-tock cadence. It's time for Intel's NSG to be given the resources necessary to do the same. I long for the day when we don't just see these SSD releases limited to the enterprise and corporate client segments, but spread across all markets - from mobile to consumer PC client and of course up to the enterprise as well.

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  • extide - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    They finally did it, a bad ass no-compromises SSD. Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    Dissappointed you didnt run the 2013 Destroyer on there, with that amazing low-queue depth performance, it will probably blow everything else away on that chart. Reply
  • smartypnt4 - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    I mean really... For $1.50/GB, this could be purchased by a desktop enthusiast, so it's completely valid to test this against other consumer drives to see how it'd do. I'd be very interested in the results. Reply
  • B3an - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    I agree, needs consumer drive comparisons... Reply
  • edward1987 - Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - link

    I found some better use for this pcie ssd drive. You can use it in qnap TVS-1282 or TDS-16489U for hot data. They do tiered storage functionality. Its £600 to get this ssd, but if you want VMs this is great. (https://www.span.com/product/Intel-SSD-DC-P3700-PC... Reply
  • TelstarTOS - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    absolutely, but wait until they have a 3600 or 3500 in their hands. Reply
  • NCM - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    It would also be useful to compare to the PCIe consumer SSD's that Apple has been shipping in the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and iMac lines for quite some time now. Given its sales volume and early adoption of PCIe drives, I'd have to imagine that Apple may have shipped more of them to users than anyone else. (These drives are supplied by both Samsung and SanDisk, and perhaps others.)

    Yes this new Intel product is for a quite different market, but comparison is how one comes to understand what those differences are and mean.
    Reply
  • Marthisdil - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    No one really cares much about Apple's offerings. Mainly because they are such a small percentage of the Marketplace.... Reply
  • easp - Monday, June 9, 2014 - link

    You miss the point. They are one of the largest players in the consumer market. Moreover, most of their sales are a premium price points and include SSDs. Put the two together, and they almost certainly ship more consumer SSDs than any one else by far. What's more, many of their lines are already on PCIe SSDs.

    So, please explain why Apple's shipping PCIe SSD options aren't a significant point of comparison against an aftermarket SSD that just arrived in the market.
    Reply
  • SeanJ76 - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - link

    Casue Apple is shit! Reply

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