Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
The long awaited and often rumored Intel SSD 750 Series is finally here, bring NVMe technology and speeds over 2GB/s for enthusiasts!
Editor's note: We are hosting a live stream event with our friends at Intel's SSD group today to discuss the new SSD 750 Series launch and to giveaway a couple of the 400GB units as well! Be sure you stop by to ask quesitons, learn about the technology and have a chance to win some hardware!!
Intel has a habit of overlapping their enterprise and consumer product lines. Their initial X25-M was marketed to both consumer and enterprise, with heavier workloads reserved for the X25-E. Their SSD 320 Series was also spec'd for both consumer and enterprise usage. Their most recent SSD 730 Series was actually an overclocked version of their SSD DC S3500 units. Clearly this is an established trend for Intel, so when they dominated flash memory performance with the SSD DC P3700 launch last year, pretty much everyone following these sorts of things eagerly waited in anticipation of a consumer release.
While they were hard to find outside of enterprise supply chains, some dedicated users picked up that enterprise part for their enthusiast systems, but many were disappointed as the P3700's enterprise hardware and firmware conflicted with many consumer motherboards' BIOS, rendering it unbootable for some and causing address space conflicts for others. In short, the P3700 was a great product that simply did not function properly with most consumer motherboards. All anyone could do was wait for Intel to spin a consumer product from this enterprise part, and that day is today:
This is the add-in card version of the new Intel SSD 750 Series that brings NVMe technology and insane performance levels to consumers at a cost that is more affordable than you might think.
As with the enterprise variant, Intel chose to launch the SSD 750 Series in the familiar HHHL PCIe x4 form factor as well as a 2.5" SFF-8639 packaging. The 2.5" model contains the exact same set of components, just rearranged into a smaller device.
Despite being 2.5", this is not a SATA device. While the connector may look similar, it is *very* different:
As you can see above, SFF-8639 further extends on the familiar SATA power and data connections, which had already been extended a few times to add additional SAS data lines. The new spec adds a complete row of pins on the back side of the connector to support four lanes of PCIe. This means the SFF variant of the SSD 750 will perform identically to the PCIe half-height card version. Since SFF-8639 was born as an enterprise spec, one question remains – how do you connect it to a consumer desktop motherboard? Well, desktop motherboards are coming with M.2 ports that can support up to PCIe 3.0 x4, so all you really need is a simple way to get from point A to point B:
Pictured above (left) is the ASUS 'Hyper Kit' adapter PCB, which was sampled to us with their new Sabertooth X99 motherboard just for testing these new 2.5" devices. The connector you see at the right may look familiar, as it is an internal Mini-SAS HD (SFF-8643) cable commonly used with high end SAS RAID cards. Intel is basically borrowing the physical spec, but rewiring those four SAS lanes over to the PCIe pins of the SFF-8639 connector at the other end of the cable.
You may be asking 'Why bother?'. Well, enthusiasts like multiple GPU configurations, and workstation systems may have their PCIe slots loaded with other devices. Since many new systems come with a capable M.2 slot, the 2.5" model could be installed on the usual mounting bracket inside a case and simply wired to the motherboard using this special cable.
It is also possible to connect the 2.5" model directly to a standard PCIe slot, but a special (and currently rare) adapter is required. Here is one provided to us by SerialCables.com:
The PCI-AD-x439-01 provided to us by SerialCables.com is a pricy option as this is a very new adapter type, but we suspect prices will come down with simpler adapter designs in the future. While writing this we spotted a lower cost PCI-AD-x439-01HF edition that also includes a cooling fan.
Yeah, you read that right. 440,000 IOPS. The only disappointment in the specs is the lack of an 800GB model. That seems to be a good sweet spot capacity for enthusiasts, with 400GB being too small for some and 1.2TB of flash potentially to expensive for others.
We received early samples of these products, and consumer packaging is not yet available. We will add a photo of their consumer packaging once we have one on hand.
Being an Australian where
Being an Australian where everything, especially broadband is so bloody slow, this would really make my PC sing.
Being an Australian, where
Being an Australian, where everything is a mile behind, especially the internet. This SSD would make me very very happy and my PC sing.
This is the type of
This is the type of thoughtful, in-depth analysis I enjoy when I come to learn about the latest in PC tech. Thanks
this 750 model ssd looks and
this 750 model ssd looks and specs are AWESOME!!!
Very nice, big thanks to
Very nice, big thanks to intel and pc per for keeping up the great work
I think I can hear the
I think I can hear the Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD crying inside of my case…
thanks for the ifo
thanks for the ifo
the specs are awesome
the specs are awesome
WOW what a incredible speed
WOW what a incredible speed these ssd have! change my sansung EVO for this is like going from HD to SSD
I want one for my new rig!!!
I want one for my new rig!!! great review
Good to see manufacturers
Good to see manufacturers supporting reviewers with direct and indirect sponsoring.
My samsung SSD drive now
My samsung SSD drive now working love to try intel SSD 750 Series PCIe / NVMe (400GB)
Great review I really need
Great review I really need one of these.
That would really help my
That would really help my cause….LOL
This is fabulous tech, I just
This is fabulous tech, I just wonder how soon it will become mainstream-enough to easily find hardware.
I hear they’re working on a drive so fast it finishes all your work before the computer boots!
Seriously, though, this is currently just a millionaire’s toy (and since in USA our Corporations are legally individuals, that means their toy).
Great review from the Genius Malventano, and terrific input from the poster’s to the comments, all of whom contribute to learning more about this tech.
Thanks. Keep up the good work, all. Shout out to Shrout also of TWiCH.tv fame.
> Great review from the
> Great review from the Genius Malventano
I second that! Genius indeed!!
I did not like the M.2 slot
I did not like the M.2 slot implementation of the 2.5″ drive. but as we need a new interface, till then I would go for the PCI express version.
hope to win the hardrive
hope to win the hardrive
Allyn and Ryan,
You guys are
Allyn and Ryan,
You guys are THE BEST!
Many thanks for the great video discussion.
It helped a lot to see you simplify the cabling topology with a clear demonstration.
Also, Jeremy wanted me to ask Allyn this next question:
Jeremy, from an architectural point of view, could you compare this device with a compatible add-on RAID controller with support for the usual RAID modes? What happens to this device if one of its component flash chips fails? I admit my bias tilts me towards my past experiences with inexpensive RAID controllers in RAID 0 mode, for MAX SPEED. In your opinion, would it be safer overall to wait for x4 and x8 NVMe RAID controllers and to connect 2x, 4x or more 2.5″ NVMe SSDs, in order to exploit the redundancy obtained by RAID arrays in modes 5 and 6? Thanks! MRFS
In reply, Jeremy wrote:
“Check Al’s review and comments for more indepth that I can really give you. That said there is orders of magnitude of difference in cost between the two solutions, you would have to desperately need this speed to justify the price.”
Lastly, are there presently any x4 or x8 PCIe NVMe RAID controllers with multiple ports for that SFF-8639 connector?
Here’s the cabling topology
Here’s the cabling topology that comes to my mind:
We bought one of these SATA-II 3G RAID controllers several years ago:
(4 per Mini-SAS channel up to 16 (SATA I or II Hard Drives) Internal Connectors)
p.s. is there an easy way to imbed graphics in a Reply here?