Internals, Testing Methodology and System Setup


First the front and rear shots:

Whoa, wait a sec, 18 flash packages! Maybe they loaded most of the flash at the rear? Let's see:

Probably one of my more expensive warranty voidance maneuvers, and oh look, 18 *more* flash packages.

Here's a close up shot of the new Intel PCIe NVMe controller. Now in case you're trying to follow traces or do chip / die / capacity math in your head, I'll just give you the answer right up front. This controller has 18 channels to the flash. Compare that to SATA SSDs having 4 (SandForce) 8 (Samsung), or 10 (Intel X25-M through SSD 320/710). Further, this controller pushes that flash at higher speeds than typically seen on SATA parts.

With a few of the thermal pads removed, we see one of the 20nm MLC HET NAND packages, along with necessary DRAM and power circuitry. Large capacitors are present to ensure in-flight data is written to the flash upon power loss events.

Going back to the rear, here's a close in shot of two additional DRAM packages. Lettering is more easily readable on these as there were no thermal pad oils present to darken the print.

Testing Methodology

**NOTE**: We received these test samples only this morning, and in the interest of getting some results out there for you fine folks, we ran the P3700 through some quick comparative tests on our usual testbed. Some benches were pegged as a result of the sheer speed of the P3700, and we will note those discrepancies as we go along. Additionally, we will follow this piece up with additional benches that can greater flex the ultimate throughput and capabilities of this beast of an SSD.

**Another note**: While Windows 8.1 / Server 2012 R2 and up support NVMe devices out of the box, this is akin to using the built-in GPU driver. While it will get you by, the device won't perform the best without the manufacturer's driver installed. Here's a quick look at the difference between those two scenarios on the DC P3700:

Native windows driver:

Intel driver (note the scale change):

**End notes**

Our tests are a mix of synthetic and real-world benchmarks. PCMark, IOMeter, HDTach, HDTune, Yapt and our custom File Copy test round out the selection to cover just about all bases. If you have any questions about our tests just drop into the Storage Forum and we'll help you out! 

Test System Setup

We currently employ a pair of testbeds. A newer ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt and an ASUS Z87-PRO. Variance between both boards has been deemed negligible.

PC Perspective would like to thank ASUS, Corsair, and Kingston for supplying some of the components of our test rigs. 

Hard Drive Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7-4770K
Motherboard ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/TB / ASUS Z87-PRO
Memory Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3-2133 CL9
Hard Drive G.Skill 32GB SLC SSD
Sound Card N/A
Video Card Intel® HD Graphics 4600
Video Drivers Intel
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-650TX
DirectX Version DX9.0c
Operating System Windows 8.1 X64
  • PCMark05
  • Yapt
  • IOMeter
  • HDTach
  • HDTune
  • PCPer File Copy Test
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