Intel is updating its line of enterprise-class solid state storage offerings today, with a new more cost-effective drive that targets datacenter and cloud-computing applications. The Intel SSD DC S3500 as it is known, is similar in a number of ways to the SSD DC S3700 we evaluated a few months back. The new drives, however, are built around more affordable NAND flash memory than the previously released DC S3700-series drives. Regardless, data integrity and consistent performance remain key differentiators for Intel’s datacenter-targeted “DC”-branded drives, but the SSD DC S3500 will do so at much more mainstream price points than the higher-end DC S3700-series drives.
We’ve got the full list of features and specifications for Intel SSD DC S3500 series listed below. Please note that the chart lists data for two different form factors, since these drives will be released in both 2.5” and 1.8” flavors. Take a gander at the specifications and then we’ll tear one of the drives down and see how it performs versus a handful of other competing drives...
The Intel SSD DC S3500 will be offered in 80GB - 800GB capacities in both 2.5” and 1.8” form factors, but a number of capacities, like the 120GB, 160GB, 300GB, and 600GB drives, will only be offered in 2.5” versions.
We’ve got a 480GB, 2.5” drive on deck for you here. As you can see, the SSD DC S3500’s enclosure looks much like previous Intel-built solid state drives. It’s a basic, metal case with a 7.5mm Z-Height, adorned with a couple of decals detailing the drives capacity and a few specifications. If you’ve seen any of Intel’s recent SSD offerings, the DC S3500 will probably look familiar.
Inside the SSD DC 3500’s enclosure there are few noteworthy items worth pointing out. First, is the controller. The Intel-built controller used in the DC S3500 family of SSDs supports 8 NAND channels, AES-256 encryption, and has a native SATA 6Gbps interface. The controller is paired to 256MB or 512MB of DDR3-1333 DRAM cache and there are also a couple of capacitors on-board designed to power the drive just long enough to write any unsaved data to the NAND in the event of a power failure.
The actual NAND used in the drive is Intel 20nm MLC (Multi-Level Cell) NAND, with total capacities that vary from drive to drive. The 480GB model pictured here is outfitted with a total of 528GB of NAND, with the additional capacity used for wear leveling, bad block replacement and other proprietary and maintenance-related features.
Although the controller used in the new DC S3500 family has a SATA 6Gbps interface, Intel’s focus wasn’t on maximum sequential throughout with these drives. Instead, Intel’s focus was on, reliability, consistency and low latency. Intel claims total IOPS shouldn’t vary by more than a few percentage points, regardless of the drive’s state, and that it’s able to service 99.9% of 4K random IO request in .5ms (QD1). The drives are also able to handle 450TB of written data based on the JESD218 standard, using the JESD219 workload. More data about the JEDEC SSD endurance workloads and test procedures is available on the JEDEC website.