Intel 540s Series Review
Intel 540s Series Review
New Intel 540s Series SSD drives were released end of March 2016 and were designed for ultrabooks and desktop usage. They offer good value as Intel’s first TLC-based drive in the SSD 5 Series family. With the new architecture combining single cell (SLC) cache and triple level cell (TLC) NAND Flash memory, the 540s Series offers good value/performance ratio. The 540s Series drives are available in 2.5″ as well as M.2 80mm form factors. With storage capacity of 120GB, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB, 480GB and 1TB in both form factors. When it comes to sequential transfer speeds, the 540S Series should deliver up to 560MB/s read and up to 480MB/s write speeds, and random 78K IOPS in read and up to 85K IOPS in write speed respectively, as Intel claims. The 540S Series is optimized for typical utilized workloads of 70% read and 30% write as in most common application used.
On the other side we have Intel’s 535 Series that were released in February 2015. Also available in M.2 form factor with storage capacity of 120GB, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB and in typical 2.5″ form factor with capacity of 56GB, 120GB, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB and 480GB. It features 16nm NAND Flash Memory Multi-Level Cell (MLC) architecture. When it comes to bandwidth, the 535 Series should deliver up to 540MB/s read and up to 490MB/s write speeds for both form factors. By random transfer speeds up to 48K IOPS in read and up to 80K IOPS in write speed, also for both form factors.
Let’s find out together if the new 540s Series meets all requirements of typical user and can beat the 535 Series SSD. For this review we are going to compare 2,5″ drives as well as M.2 drives with capacity of 120GB and 1TB.
Intel SSD product comparison table:
Test results by Intel 540s Series (120GB) M.2 vs. (1TB) 2,5″ – ATTO Disk Benchmark v3.05:
Test results by Intel 540s Series (120GB) M.2 vs. (1TB) 2,5″ – Crystal DiskMark 5.1.2 x64:
When it comes to maximal temperatures under full load the Intel 540s Series M.2 drives seems to produce less heat than its predecessor Intel 535 Series M.2 drives.
Left: Intel 535 Series (120GB) M.2 vs. Intel 540s Series (120GB) M.2 (right)
As we can see the new Intel 540s Series M.2 drive is reflecting 10°C less heat as the older brother 535 Series. You may wonder if these temperatures do not damage the M.2 drive? Well, the true is that these high temperatures were achieved during copying of 60GB big files, and we took the highest peak temperatures we could achieve. That means, that this high temps last only for a couple of second. The average temps during normal usage are approx. 40-60°C which is not dangerous at all. Although, using the M.2 drives of higher capacity at full loads very often, over longer period of time, may decrease their lifespan.
AS SSD Benchmark 1.8 comparison table:
Intel’s new Solid State Drive 540S Series has beaten the 535 Series just slightly, but in all factors, even with less heat radiation. Considering its interesting price, it looks like Intel is offering balanced price and speed ratio as well. So, the Intel 540s Series SSDs are value oriented consumer drives without any doubt, but offering an decent performance. With the 1TB capacity, your ultrabook or desktop will get just the right speed kick as well, should you consider to upgrade your drive. For this operation, Intel has its own software tool called Intel® Data Migration Software which will take care of migration of your older drive to your new SSD drive making it bootable. There are also other tools like Intel® Solid State Drive Toolbox or Intel® SSD Firmware Update Tool that can be very helpful. Intel backed up their new SSDs with 5-year warranty which is just an icing on the cake. It may not be the best performing SSD on the market, but it offers reliability, AES 256-bit encryption and finally competitive price.
Intel 540S Series 2,5″ (1TB): €280
Intel 540S Series M.2 (120GB): €50
Intel 535 Series M.2 (120GB): €55
Lower operation temps
lower write speeds than competition