When your PC needs a bit more speed to stay current and fresh, getting an SSD is one of the most cost-efficient upgrades available. Unless, of course, your computer is something that belongs in a museum. SSDs cut down on that one constant thing in our lives; load times. They are the ubiquitous thorn in the side of a generation where waiting is absolutely the worst thing ever. Load times lead to moments of boredom as our fleeting attention spans starve within seconds of having no distractions. If this sounds like you, or perhaps you refuse to reboot your computer because it takes far too long, you need an SSD. So is the Intel 730 240GB the drive you need?
AS SSD shows pretty much what is expected of this drive. Compared to the older ForceGT drive, it should be superior in every aspect. But what is going on during 4K writes? Let’s see what happens when we use other testing software.
Crystal Disk Mark’s synthetic benchmarks look impressive in these charts, but it is being compared to a much older Corsair Force GT. If we look at stats for the OCZ Vertex 460, which was released in January this year, which has a phenomenal 496.6 MB/s sequential write speed. This makes the 299,1 of the Intel 730 look a tad sluggish in comparison, a fact that is exacerbated by the lower price of the OCZ. [Note that the graphs only include drives tested by SA Techie, as testing methodologies and testing environments can result in differing test scores.]
The reason for this lack in speed from a premium Intel device? That 4K write speed issue is in this test as well. It appears that the 240GB version of the 730 is not fully interleaved, making the Intel X25 Gen 3 controller work really hard to keep performance near optimal levels. While the DRAM cache and X25 controller really do well in all other departments, you can see how the lack of interleave lets it down in the 4K write department.
This loss of speed is not completely doom and gloom though. Two large capacitors on the drive allow this SSD to have Flush in Flight. This means that the drive has time when power loss occurs to flush data in the cache to flash. This is a feature generally reserved for enterprise and workstation class drives, but is a welcome feature for anyone who has lost data due to random power loss. It is also worth remembering that a 7,200RPM mechanical drive will write at 140 MB/s meaning that the speed increase from migrating to mechanical to SSD will still be well worth it.
In the end, buying this drive will depend on what it is you hold most important: If the fastest possible speeds and lowest price per GB are your deciding factors, you might want to wait to see how the Intel 730 480GB fares, and how Intel is going to flesh out the 730 range. If you need a quality product with a sturdy warranty and the ability to look after your data, especially with power cuts, then this drive has you covered.
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