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)

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)
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

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)
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

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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