Intel SSD 750 PCIe SSD Review: NVMe for the Clientby Kristian Vättö on April 2, 2015 12:00 PM EST
For years Intel has been criticized for not caring about the client SSD space anymore. The X25-M and its different generations were all brilliant drives and essentially defined the standards for a good client SSD, but since then none of Intel's client SSDs have had the same "wow" effect. That's not to say that Intel's later client SSDs have been inferior, it's just that they haven't really had any competitive advantage over the other drives on the market. It's no secret that Intel changed its SSD strategy to focus on the enterprise segment and frankly it still makes a lot of sense because the profits are more lucrative and enterprise has a lot more room for innovation as the customers value more than just rock-bottom pricing.
With the release of the SSD 750, it's safe to say that any argument of Intel not caring about the client market is now invalid. Intel does care, but rather than bringing products with new complex technologies to the market at a very early stage, Intel wants to ensure that the market is ready and there's industry wide support for the product. After all, NVMe requires BIOS support and that support has only been present for a few months now, making it logical not to release the SSD 750 any sooner.
Given the enterprise background of the SSD 750, it's more optimized for consistency than raw peak performance. The SM951, on the other hand, is a more generic client drive that concentrates on peak performance to improve performance under typical client workloads. That's visible in our benchmarks because the only test where the SSD 750 is able to beat the SM951 is The Destoyer trace, which illustrates a very IO intensive workload that only applies to power users and professionals. It makes sense for Intel to focus on that very specific target group because those are the people who are willing to pay premium for higher storage performance.
With that said, I'm not sure if I fully agree with Intel's heavy random IO focus. The sequential performance isn't bad, but I think the SSD 750 as it stands today is a bit unbalanced and could use some improvements to sequential performance even if it came at the cost of random performance.
|Price Comparison (4/2/2015)|
|Intel SSD 750 (MSRP)||-||-||$389||$1,029|
RamCity actually just got its first batch of SM951s this week, so I've included it in the table for comparison (note that the prices on RamCity's website are in AUD, so I've translated them into USD and also subtracted the 10% tax that is only applicable to Australian orders). The SSD 750 is fairly competitive in price, although obviously you have to fork out more money than you would for a similar capacity SATA drive. Nevertheless, going under a dollar per gigabyte is very reasonable given the performance and full power loss protection that you get with the SSD 750.
All in all, the SSD 750 is definitely a product I recommend as it's the fastest drive for IO intensive workloads by a large margin. I can't say it's perfect and for slightly lighter IO workloads the SM951 wins my recommendation due to its more client-oriented design, but the SSD 750 is really a no compromise product that is aimed for a relatively small high-end niche, and honestly it's the only considerable option in its niche. If your IO workload needs the storage performance of tomorrow, Intel and the SSD 750 have you covered today.