Intel have two distinct SSD product lines: the 730 series (aimed at the home or light use consumer) and the DC S series (geared towards the commercial users). In reality, though, the line between business and home use can be extremely thin, which is why we decided to review this model.
This drive, then, is an 800GB, 2.3” form factor SSD, utilizing 20nm MLC NAND and a custom Intel controller, is built for endurance and longevity rather than blistering performance with extreme capacities. Indeed, the projected endurance capabilities of this drive are really quite impressive, when compared to the other drives on test. A two million hour mean time between failures rating, and a lifetime write rating of 450TB certainly speaks of its datacenter heritage. However, the model above this — the S3700 Series — claims a lifetime endurance of 14.5PB (yes, you read that right: 14.5 Petabytes), so considering both share roughly the same kind of technology you can rest assured you’re in good hands and that that’s probably a conservative prediction.
Admittedly its benchmark scores weren’t brilliant. The 8192KB file size test in ATTO scored just 304MB/s read, whereas the write tests were slightly improved at 436MB/s. However, if ‘slow data is better than no data’ as far as you’re concerned, such disappointments could be mitigated somewhat by the fact that there are a pair of integrated capacitors on the 53500 Series that can hold just enough of a charge for the data currently in the cache (of which is there 1GB DRAM) to be written to the NAND flash in the event of a power failure.
Included with this SSD is the management kit that allows you to secure the drive with a 256-bit AES encryption level, perform all manner of tests and upgrade the custom Intel firmware when necessary. Plus, although we didn’t test this, setting this drive and others like it in a RAID array is made easy thanks once more to the advanced management side of things.
The Intel DC S3500 Series isn’t going to most people’s first choice of SSD, but a business user shouldn’t dismiss it, despite the obvious lean toward datacentre applications. Its performance over time is highly rated, while its endurance, reliability and consistency will no doubt appeal to those who aren’t necessarily after breakneck speeds as much as dependability
Saying that, though, the MTBF of the other drives on test isn’t all that far from the numbers quoted by Intel for this model, and they’ll offer more capacity for a better price. Indeed, the Intel DC S3500 Series may well be as solid as a rock, but $700 is a lot of money to part with considering it’s 200GB down on some. A couple of Transcend SSD370s would cost $200 more and you’ll have 2TB to play around with instead of just 800GB.
However, you can’t fail to be impressed with the on-paper claims as to of the drive’s endurance. Indeed, this may mean that from a business perspective, the numbers add up in a way they simply don’t for a consumer customer.