The 750 Series SSD is enterprise trickle-down elevated to a high art. This descendant of Intel's latest datacenter drives is a rare beast even in PCI Express circles. With a four-lane Gen3 interface backed by the next-gen NVM Express protocol, the 750 Series delivers the future of solid-state storage today.
And oh, what a glorious future it is.
Performance is the real story. The 750 Series may not match Intel's top server SSD in every workload, but it's largely in the same ballpark for a third of the price. There's no contest versus the Samsung XP941 and Plextor M6e, which have slower sequential speeds and much lower random rates. Those drives have a comparable cost per gig, making the 750 Series' premium pricing entirely justifiable on speed alone.
The keys to such a sweet ride come with some strings attached, though. The biggest challenge is finding desktop tasks that can harness all the horsepower. While the 750 Series delivers incredible performance in targeted benchmarks and demanding sequential transfers, it doesn't load big files, applications, or games appreciably faster than older SATA SSDs. Storage-bound workloads are required to get the most out of the drive.
There's also the matter of motherboard compatibility. Although the 750 Series should work in all Z97 and X99 boards, only the latter have enough Gen3 lanes to avoid cannibalizing connectivity to a discrete graphics card. Support for the 2.5" version's fancy cable is spotty right now, too. It feels like the 750 Series is a little ahead of its time, and honestly, that's part of the appeal. One of the best things about co-opting enterprise gear is pushing a system closer to the leading edge.
Another benefit is the additional goodies that tend to come with premium products. The 750 Series' datacenter origins bestow power-loss protection and blinky diagnostic LEDs, and Intel kicks in a five-year warranty with a high endurance rating. The persistent read-only behavior at the end of the NAND's life is a comforting bonus, too, as is compatibility with Intel's excellent Toolbox utility.
As a high-end indulgence, the 750 Series ultimately posts the right numbers, ticks the right boxes, and incites the right emotional responses. It may not provide a palpable improvement for everyday desktop tasks in the same way the first SSDs delivered us from the sluggishness of mechanical drives, but it's truly next-level storage by every other measure.
105 comments — Last by Delphis at 11:18 AM on 05/01/15
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