Intel SSD 730 Series review: A reliable, fast, and pricey HDD substitute

In comparison, however, many other SSDs on the market are significantly cheaper. The Samsung 840 Evo, for example, costs close to just 50 cents per gigabyte; it's also faster and offers up to 1TB of storage space.

Standard internal drives' cost per GB
(In dollars, based on current street pricing)
Cost per GB  
Intel SSD 730 Series
$1.04 
Intel SSD 730 Series
$1.02 
Seagate SSHD
$0.10 
WD Blue HDD
$0.06 

Performance
Despite the overclocked controller and flash memory, the 730 Series didn't blow me away with its performance. It's by no means slow, however. When tested as a secondary drive, it registered a sustained sequential write speed of 266MBps and a read speed of 267MBps. When used as the main storage device, hosting the operating system and performing both writing and reading at the same time, it scored 190MBps. In all, that's about the average I've seen among other recently reviewed SSDs.

CNET Labs' Data Transfer scores
(In MB per second; longer bars indicate better performance)
As secondary drive (read only)  
As secondary drive (write only)  
As OS drive (read and write)  
Samsung 840 Evo (Rapid Mode)
193.32 
289.32 
378.44 
OCZ Vector
277.84 
286.77 
243.01 
Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme
270.8 
269.78 
236.18 
Samsung 840 Evo
184.45 
266.9 
257.13 
Intel SSD 730 Series
266.04 
265.53 
189.52 
OCZ Vector 150
200.46 
265.32 
231.42 
Seagate 600 SSD
275.21 
259.01 
192.26 
SanDisk Extreme II
203.42 
255.86 
224.27 
Transcend SSD720
269.55 
230.58 
145.26 
WD Black 2 Dual Drive
228.2 
114.66 
174.65 
Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD
84.75 
39.61 
10.57 

I also tested the drive with PC Mark 8, which benchmarks the entire system. The 730 Series received its best score on the Storage test with a score of 4,868. Still, this was below average. For the Home and Work benchmark, which is geared toward measuring the performance for home and work applications, respectively, it registered just 2,748 and 3,729, respectively, among the lowest I've seen in SSDs.

PC Mark 8 scores
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Storage score  
Work score  
Home score  
Samsung 840 Evo (Rapid)
4990 
4605 
3324 
Samsung 840 Evo
4967 
4665 
3339 
OCZ Vector
4958 
4646 
3327 
OCZ Vector 150
4948 
4909 
3437 
Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme
4948 
4658 
3331 
SanDisk Extreme II
4938 
4680 
3306 
Seagate 600 SSD
4896 
4621 
3296 
WD Black 2 Dual Drive
4869 
4935 
3439 
Intel SSD 730 Series
4868 
3729 
2748 
Transcend SSD720
4779 
4658 
3328 
Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD
2512 
4585 
3251 

I did try two units of the 730 Series together in a RAID 0 setup in a anecdotal test, and the performance was indeed significantly improved -- almost double what I got using just a single drive. However, this is to be expected in almost all RAID 0 setups utilizing any supported SSDs.

Overall, don't let the numbers bother you. If you're still using a hard drive on your computer, switching to the Intel SSD 730 Series will definitely bring the system to a much higher level.

Conclusion
The new Intel SSD 730 Series doesn't have much that impresses in terms of performance, but it has an excellent endurance rating, and the included five-year warranty means that Intel is really behind the drive's quality. If you're looking for a reliable SSD to build your own system or to upgrade a desktop that still runs on a hard drive, this new SSD will make a great choice, especially once its price drops below $1 per gigabyte.

If battery life is also a concern, however, I'd recommend a drive with better power consumption, such as the Samsung 840 Evo, which is also currently a lot more affordable.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Intel SSD 730 Series (240GB)

Part Number: SSDSC2BP240G4R5 Released: Feb 27, 2014
Low Price: $132.98 See all prices

Quick Specifications

  • Release date Feb 27, 2014