Looking for a good internal drive? Check out the Intel SSD 730 Series, but be warned – there may be other options that perform a bit better for a bit less. The drive is very durable and features a five-year warranty, but falls short in terms of performance, as compared to other SSDs that are in the same price range.
What's more, the drive doesn't support encryption.
That said, it is still a viable choice for its durability alone. You'll probably want to wait for the price to come down first, or just choose a drive that outperforms it. It is a fast drive, but there are many that are faster.
Offered in a 7mm chassis, it looks a whole lot like other Intel SSDs. The case is made of aluminum, making it lightweight yet solid. It is the standard 2.5-inch internal drive, meaning it will be a perfect fit for just about anyone, as long as your computer or laptop supports the latest SATA 3 standard. This ensures it performs at its best. However, you can use it in SATA 2 systems – it also brings a performance improvement.
The 730 Series SSD supports RAID configurations, performing twice as good in RAID 0 in Cnet testing. If you're looking to increase the battery life of your laptop, this is not the drive to get the job done. If you rely on your desktop's hard drive to store most of your stuff, it will improve performance significantly.
The 730 Series SSD features a factory overclocked SSD controller and NAND bus speeds – 600Mhz controller clock and 100Mhz NAND bus speed – and firmware is optimized for the general public rather than server applications. This is the main reason the drive doesn't support hardware encryption – that process requires the motherboards relied upon in enterprise applications in order to work.
This drive shines in terms of endurance. You probably know that all SSDs have a specific life measured in program/erase cycles (P/E cycles), also known as write cycles. You can only write to the drive so many times before it starts to perform poorly. This drive boasts 70GB per day, each and every day, for five years! That probably won't happen for most public users, so it stands to reason you won't be replacing this for unreliability!
Intel plans to sell this drive for a little more than $1 per gigabyte. Their 240GB model will retail for $249, while the 480GB drive will be $489. That makes it the most expensive SSD on the market, though it's just the suggested retail price. We'll see what Intel does after the release date of March 18.
Some wonder why it is not user-customizable. Insiders at Intel say the reason lies in the warranty. Basically, they wanted to offer a full warranty, but can't see doing so for a drive that the user could manipulate. The company is even planning on educating basic users in RAID configurations, and plans to offer help in figuring out the optimal setup. But will users choose the most expensive option over others that perform just as well, if not better? Only time will tell. We'll see what happens when this SSD hits the market.