Conclusion, Pricing, and Final Thoughts
- Excellent performance, especially IOPS at low QD
- Data Center pedigree and reliability
- Data Center grade power loss protection
- Good cost/GB (se below)
- High power draw and corresponding high temps may be an issue for some
Pricing and Availability:
During our press briefing, Intel stated the 240 and 480GB SSD 730 models will be available for "less than $1/GB". That's good pricing considering you're basically getting their Data Center SSD in a consumer wrapper.
As for availability, the SSD 730 will be available for preorder on March 18th. Until then you should be able to check out Intel.com/SSD730Series (due to go live in tandem with this review) for a taste of what's to come.
UPDATE: Amazon.com has pre-order pages live for both retail and OEM versions of the Intel 730 Series SSDs.
- Intel SSD 730 Series 240GB (OEM) – $264
- Intel SSD 730 Series 240GB (Retail) – $239
- Intel SSD 730 Series 480GB (OEM) – $494
- Intel SSD 730 Series 480GB (Retail) – $487
The Intel SSD 730 carries a 5-year warranty, rated at 70GB of writes per day. This is possible as the 730 uses the same High Endurance Technology (HET) MLC flash found in the DC S3500.
Intel firmwares have been rock solid for a long time now. Nothing to worry about here.
Intel has a track record of overlapping parts among their consumer and enterprise lines. They did it with the X25-E / X25-M, with the SSD 710 / SSD 320, and now they've repeated that trend with the DC S3500 and SSD 730. The big difference this time around is that instead of the consumer unit carrying lower specs and warranty, the SSD 730 carries a 5-year warranty matching the enterprise part and actually beats its enterprise cousin thanks to its controller running at a 50% overclock. Unfortunately for the SSD 730, that formula also caused it to inherit the S3500's power consumption, which may lead to uncomfortable temperatures when used in low-airflow environments. The SSD 730 performs very well, with the highest IOPS figures we've seen at low queue depths. That said, we are left wondering if a 7-10x power draw as compared to the closest competitor is worth the marginal gain in performance.
I'm going with our Gold award for this one. Kudos to Intel for bringing such a beefy enterprise SSD to the consumer / power user, but I have reservations about a consumer SSD drawing this much power. We're also unsure of the market cost/GB, which remains to be seen.