Intel SSD 545s Series Solid State Drive Review: One Of The Best SATA SSDs Available

The Intel SSD 545s With 64-Layer 3D TLC NAND

Much of the current excitement in the consumer storage space involves blazing-fast NVMe solid state drives, but there are still hundreds of millions (if not billions) of systems packing SATA hard drives that would benefit greatly from an SSD upgrade. As such, many manufacturers continue to introduce SATA-based offerings like the recently-launched Intel SSD 545s series, which feature newer technologies in an effort to drive costs down and capacities up.

The Intel SSD 545s series is the first in the company’s SATA-based solid state storage line-up to feature 64-layer TLC 3D NAND. Though this first iteration of the 64-layer TLC 3D NAND features 256Gb die, similar to the previous-generation. Though 512Gb NAND die are in the works as well and will appear on future Intel solid state drives. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the SSD 545s series main features and specifications and then dig in a bit to see how the drive performs...

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Intel SSD 545s Series
Specifications & Features

The Intel SSD 545s series will eventually be offered in capacities ranging from 128GB to 2TB, in the common 2.5” form factor. The first drive in the line-up to ship, however, is the 512GB drive we’ve got on tap for you here.
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As you can see, the SSD 545s series’ enclosure looks much like previous Intel-built SATA solid state drives, though the materials are much lighter-weight. The drive has a basic, metal case with a 7mm Z-Height, adorned with a couple of decals top and bottom detailing the drive’s capacity and a few specifications.
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Inside the SSD 545s’ enclosure there are few noteworthy items worth pointing out. First, is the controller. Unlike the majority of previous-gen offerings, this drive does not feature an Intel-built controller, but rather an SMI (Silicon Motion) 2259, with Intel-specific firmware optimizations. The SMI 2259 supports four NAND channels and has a native SATA 6Gbps interface. The controller is paired to some Hynix DDR3 DRAM (512MB in this drive) and the aforementioned IMFT 64-layer TLC NAND.
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Intel rates the SSD 545s series for 550MB/s and 500MB/s sequential reads and writes, respectively, with 75K / 90K random R/W IOPS. Sustained sequential read / writes are rated for 500MB/s / 90MB/s. Average active power is 4.5w, but idle and DevSleep power states are significantly lower and fall in the single-digit mW range.

Not listed in the spec table is the expected endurance of the drives. Intel rates the drives for 72TBW, per 128GB. So, this particular 512GB drive has a rating of 288TBW and Intel warranties the drives for 5 years.
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There is no physical bundle to speak of included with the Intel SSD 545s series, save for a simple lit-pack, but Intel does offer migration software to ease the installation process for users moving from an HDD to an SSD. However, should you opt for a new solid state drive, do yourself a favor and perform a clean OS and app installation and migrate your personal data over later – most modern OSes like Windows 10 can be installed in only a matter a matter of minutes.

Tags:  Intel, SSD, SATA

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