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Intel NAS Performance Toolkit

Intel NASPT is another disk sub-system test that employs real-life usage scenarios. Like PCMark 8, Intel NASPT reproduces predefined disk activity traces and measures how fast they are executed. However, the default traces are designed for network attached storage devices rather than for SSDs. Therefore during our test session we replace them with the specially developed SSD Benchmarking Suite which offers more relevant usage scenarios such as compressing and decompressing files, compiling large projects, copying files and folders, loading 3D game levels, installing software, batch-processing photos, searching a digital library for data, mass-launching applications, and transcoding video.

Like PCMark 8, this benchmark gives us a true-to-life illustration of disk subsystem performance. Here the SSDs are again tested in their “steady” state.

Intel NASPT uses more write operations than PCMark 8, so its results are different and not in favor of the Intel 730 series. The fast 480GB version is in between the Samsung 840 Pro and SanDisk Extreme II, which is good enough, but the 240GB version is at the bottom of the diagram, only outpacing the old SandForce-based Intel 530 model. Unfortunately, SSDs with 128-gigabit NAND devices are slow in their below-480GB versions, which is a design limitation that might only be avoided by additional data caching or some other techniques.

Besides the average benchmark score, we would also like to offer you the results of individual usage scenarios, which explain the overall results of the Intel 730. Take note that the data-transfer rate is higher than the SATA interface bandwidth in some subtests. That’s because INASPT is a high-level benchmark that uses standard Windows functions to access the disk subsystem. The OS’s caching mechanisms come into play then.

The Intel 730 480GB looks good enough in its competition with the other SSDs. Although overall slower than the leader Samsung 840 Pro, it occasionally delivers higher performance, e.g. when installing software or copying folders with files to the SSD. But in some scenarios the Intel 730 480GB is downright slower than expected, like when copying large files from the SSD or batch-processing RAW photos.

The 240GB version of the new drive is good enough at archiving files, compiling programs, copying folders, gaming, searching data and starting applications. However, there are loads which it finds hard to handle, e.g. exporting photos and copying large files.

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