The Intel DC S3700 400GB SSD is one that has been known since its release to be a consistent performer. The Intel DC S3700 has proven to be both a reliable drive with consistent performance and high write endurance. OEMs such as HP, Dell, Lenovo, Supermicro and others have used the Intel DC S3700 400GB drive in their servers. STH also uses several S3700’s in the colocation and the lab. We use a slightly different test methodology than many other sites, since we use the LSI / Avago SAS 3008 controller and a 24 hour conditioning workload. We decided to take a look at the performance of the Intel DC S3700 400GB compared to some higher-end competition.
As a quick note, these drives were originally produced starting in 2012. Their multi PB write endurance and excellent performance has made them great candidates for purchasing on the secondary market and one can often find them on the STH “Great Deals” forum for under $1/GB with under 1% of total writes used. The Intel S3710 and S3610 successors to the S3700 and S3500 have been released and we have the Intel DC S3610 400GB model’s testing hopefully completed by next week.
In this review we are going to setup a fairly difficult comparison set including newer drives such as the Samsung 845DC Pro 400GB and a few high-quality SAS drives.
Since we are going to assume the use of already released hardware, we are using a legacy system for testing across the test suite:
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-7PESH3
- Processors: Dual Intel Xeon E5-2690 (V2)
- SAS Controller: LSI SAS 3008
- RAM: 64GB DDR3L-1600MHz ECC RDIMMs
- OS SSD: Kingston V300 240GB
We are using a SAS controller so one cannot compare our SATA results directly to consumer-driven setups where a SATA SSD is connected to an Intel PCH port. There is a latency penalty for going over the PCIe bus to a controller to SAS. It also is a reason NVMe is going to be a game changer in the enterprise storage space.
Intel DC S3700 400GB SSD Quick Benchmarks
For our quick tests during this part of the series we will just provide the quick benchmarks with only a bit of commentary. The results should be fairly straightforward and we have added a few results for comparison purposes.
AS SSD Benchmark
AS SSD is a solid benchmark that does not write compressible data to drives. The result is perhaps one of the best workstation SSD benchmarks available today.
AS SSD shows that the Intel DC S3700 400GB drive generally provides middle-of-the-pack performance for the SATA and SAS2 comparison set we have here. The SLC based Pliant/ Sandisk lb406s 400GB drive is out performed by the DC S3700 in virtually every metric.
CrystalDiskMark is another benchmark which gives non-compressible read/write numbers. This is in contrast to the ATTO Benchmark used by LSI/ Sandforce and its partners when they market a given solid state drive.
In the QD32 read/ write tests the DC S3700 was able to out perform the Samsung 845DC Pro, a much newer drive. Overall though, the Intel DC S3700 provides good performance throughout the range.
The value of the ATTO benchmark is really to show the best-case scenario. ATTO is known to write highly compressible data to drives, which inflates speeds of controllers that compress data like LSI/ SandForce does prior to writing on a given solid state drive.
One can see that the architecture is getting a bit older at this point. There is a steady ramp in read performance as the transfer sizes get larger but the performance is below many of the other drives we test.
Here we can see the pattern that below 4K the S3700 struggles in terms of write performance and then at 4K provides better than average performance. There is a clear impact of tuning here.
We have many S3700 400GB drives in use at any given time, along with S3700 200GB and S3700 100GB variants. The drives are so plentiful that they are a constant feature in the STH Forums “Great Deals” section and are on the recommended list for the used enterprise SSD buyer’s guide. Compared to many other SAS and SATA SSDs we test, including the much newer Samsung 845DC Pro 400GB it certainly compares well in terms of performance and endurance. In terms of reliability the Intel DC S3700 400GB drive is rated at 10DWPD for five years so there is certainly quite a bit of headroom and the S3700 line have an extremely good reputation for reliability. While not the fastest drives out there, they do have a strong value proposition based on reliability.