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Intel SSD 545S Series 512GB Review - IMFT 64-Layer TLC

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction

Today Intel is launching a new line of client SSDs - the SSD 545S Series. These are simple, 2.5" SATA parts that aim to offer good performance at an economical price point. Low-cost SSDs is not typically Intel's strong suit, mainly because they are extremely rigorous on their design and testing, but the ramping up of IMFT 3D NAND, now entering its second generation stacked to 64-layers, should finally help them get the cost/GB down to levels previously enjoyed by other manufacturers.

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Intel and Micron jointly announced 3D NAND just over two years ago, and a year ago we talked about the next IMFT capacity bump coming as a 'double' move. Well, that's only partially happening today. The 545S line will carry the new IMFT 64-layer flash, but the capacity per die remains the same 256Gbit (32GB) as the previous generation parts. The dies will be smaller, meaning more can fit on a wafer, which drives down production costs, but the larger 512Gbit dies won't be coming until later on (and in a different product line - Intel told us they do not intend to mix die types within the same lines as we've seen Samsung do in the past).

Specifications

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There are no surprises here, though I am happy to see a 'sustained sequential performance' specification stated by an SSD maker, and I'm happier to see Intel claiming such a high figure for sustained writes (implying this is the TLC writing speed as the SLC cache would be exhausted in sustained writes).

I'm also happy to see sensical endurance specs for once. We've previously seen oddly non-scaling figures in prior SSD releases from multiple companies. Clearly stating a specific TBW 'per 128GB' makes a lot of sense here, and the number itself isn't that bad, either.

Packaging

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Simplified packaging from Intel here, apparently to help further reduce shipping costs.

Read on for our full review of the Intel 545S 512GB SSD!


June 27, 2017 | 04:29 AM - Posted by Dark_wizzie

What am I missing here? It seems like lower perf than 850 Evo while costing slightly more.

June 27, 2017 | 04:41 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

It beats the EVO in the mixed workload test and comes very close to it in the others.

June 27, 2017 | 06:56 PM - Posted by Dark_wizzie

I would hope for more... given that 850 Evo was released a long time ago, and it's halfway in 2017 already.

July 2, 2017 | 04:20 PM - Posted by Crookid (not verified)

You hoped wrong. Not much has changed in the SSD space and the technology has plateaued due to sata limitations. What was hoped here is slightly better performance at a similar price point. This was achieved.

People reaching for the Intel hate from a cloud of ignorance and inexperience is getting old fast. Let alone the preaching from users who don't know what they're talking about.

July 23, 2017 | 05:51 AM - Posted by Dark_wizzie

Cool story?

No need to bring in a totally irrelevant point into the discussion. I dunno what the hell the last paragraph was about, but at least you let your inner struggles out. Or maybe in your world expecting or hoping for more is Intel hate.

Sata limitations limit bandwidth, randoms don't saturate that much.

If you can't beat performance you win in price.

Hoped wrongly? Lol okay buddy.

Higher performance... in one test, mixed? Not a clear cut win.

June 27, 2017 | 04:31 AM - Posted by Techtoday (not verified)

Agreed, Dark wizzle. Would go Samsung 960 Evo PCIe over this every time.

June 27, 2017 | 04:39 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

The 545S is meant for those upgrading an HDD-equipped laptop or desktop (which might not have an M.2 slot), and the 960 EVO costs $40 more, which not everyone can afford, despite the better performance.

June 27, 2017 | 04:56 AM - Posted by Techtoday (not verified)

Fair enough. But in that scenario I'd just grab an ADATA SU800 which is $140 with promo code right now on Newegg.

July 2, 2017 | 04:21 PM - Posted by Crookid (not verified)

You aren't every user.

What is so challenging for people to understand about this product and review?

June 27, 2017 | 05:16 AM - Posted by Moyeni (not verified)

So that's nice and all, but where's consumer Optane ? Take my money Intel !

June 27, 2017 | 09:26 AM - Posted by Dark_wizzie

I think it was supposed to be late this year.

June 27, 2017 | 06:27 AM - Posted by John H (not verified)

More fast sata competition is a good thing - we need nand prices to resume their historical downward trend..

June 27, 2017 | 02:15 PM - Posted by Mutation666

Meh, if you have to put "(for an Intel SSD)" then its not a good deal. Not feeling to gold award on this, maybe bronze or silver.

June 27, 2017 | 03:45 PM - Posted by pdjblum

more substandard tlc shit for way too much money

should be 10cents/gig for this shit already

June 27, 2017 | 05:16 PM - Posted by Jim Survak (not verified)

To make sure I'm understanding correctly: do you actually fill the drive with data for each of your % testing? Like, you just throw large files/large amounts of files on the drive such as movies or something?

Just wanting to make sure I'm fully grasping the testing methodology.

June 27, 2017 | 05:22 PM - Posted by jim_survak

(Sorry, logged in now)
And would you recommend this testing methodology for older SSDs that are only MLC? I've got a PNY XLR8 Pro 480GB SSD that's about 1.5 years old that I'd be interested in testing using your method.

June 28, 2017 | 10:28 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Yes, the drive is filled with actual files during the sequence. They are large files meant to replicate bulk media being stored over time. The random portion remains the same size and in the same location during the test. This is all to get as close as we can to what actually happens to an SSD in real world use.

June 27, 2017 | 08:15 PM - Posted by John Barksdale (not verified)

I'm still rocking Intel first generation client SSDs and Intel SSDs are the only vendor I use. I've never had one fail yet. Awesome and detailed review Allyn!!

June 27, 2017 | 09:08 PM - Posted by Xebec

If you mean still using X25-M's -- a modern "good" SSD will be very noticeably faster..

June 28, 2017 | 12:11 AM - Posted by goosegrease

I'm still using 320 series. I can't believe it's already 6 years old, but it's still going strong (according to Intel's SSD Toolbox, still 100% life remaining, which I don't fully trust).

Why did I ever worry about SSD endurance?

July 2, 2017 | 01:13 AM - Posted by Paul A. Mitchell, B.A., M.S. (not verified)

We do LUV you, Allyn.

However, does your new test suite mean
that we won't be seeing ATTO numbers for
Intel's upcoming 2.5" NVMe Optane? :)

p.s.
Bumper sticker seen in Oregon:
CONSTANT CHANGE IS HERE TO STAY.

July 2, 2017 | 05:14 AM - Posted by HERETIC (not verified)

Pleasant surprise,as this year has been the-
"race to the bottom in SATA SSD's"

Seems to have fixed the latency problems of first gen(MX300)
Be interesting to see if Crucial brings this NAND to us
with a Marvel controller.

A 850EVO killer it's not but it's close enough to consider
if it's priced right..................

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