Intel 540s SSD Review (480GB) – SMI Controller With SK Hynix Memory

TSSDR TEST BENCH AND PROTOCOL

SSD testing at TSSDR differs slightly, depending on whether we are looking at consumer or enterprise SSDs. For consumer SSDs, our goal is to test in a system that has been optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide. To see the best performance possible the CPU C states have been disabled, C1E support has been disabled, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) has been disabled. Benchmarks for consumer testing are also benchmarks with a fresh drive so, not only can we verify that manufacturer specifications are in line but also, so the consumer can replicate our tests to confirm that they have an SSD that is top-notch. We even provide links to most of the benchmarks used in the report.

Sean Consumer Test Bench Core V51

SYSTEM COMPONENTS

This Test Bench build was the result of some great relationships and purchase; our appreciation goes to those who jumped in specifically to help the cause. Key contributors to this build are our friends at ASRock for the motherboard and CPU and be quiet! for the PSU and cooling fans. Also, a big thank you to Thermaltake for the case and Kingston for the RAM. We have detailed all components in the table below and they are all linked should you wish to make a duplicate of our system as so many seem to do, or check out the price of any single component. As always, we appreciate your support in any purchase through our links!

PC CHASSIS: Thermaltake Core V51
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock Z97 Extreme6
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K
CPU COOLER: Corsair H75
POWER SUPPLY: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W
SYSTEM COOLING: be quiet! Silent Wings 2
MEMORY: Kingston HyperX Beast 2400Mhz
STORAGE: Samsung 850 Pro
IRST DRIVER: 13.1.0.1058

BENCHMARK SOFTWARE

The software in use for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of Crystal Disk Info, TRIMcheck, ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Mark, AS SSD, Anvil’s Storage Utilities, PCMark Vantage, and PCMark 8. AS well, we will complete ‘Real World File Transfer’ testing along with a bit of power testing.  We prefer to test with easily accessible software that the consumer can obtain, and in many cases, we even provide links. Our selection of software allows each to build on the last and to provide validation to results already obtained.

CRYSTAL DISK INFO VER. 6.7.3

Crystal Disk Info is a great tool for displaying the characteristics and health of storage devices. It displays everything from temperatures, to the number of hours the device has been powered, and even to the extent of informing you of the firmware of the device.

Intel 540s 480GB CDI

CDI’s SMART data reveals a good amount of values for us to look at. At first glance the temperature sensor seems like it may be giving a false reading as it is below ambient temperature. CDI states TRIM, NCQ, AND DevSleep are supported and there are total host read and writes attributes as well as Total NAND writes which you can monitor. The firmware version we will be testing on today is LSBG200 as well.

TRIMCHECK

We’ve covered TRIMcheck in the past. It is a great tool that easily lets us see if TRIM is actually functioning on a SSD volume in your system.

Intel 540s TRIMCheck

As can be seen in the screenshot above, TRIM may or may not be working. However, based on Intel’s SSD Toolbox we were able to successfully run SSD Optimizer which forces TRIM.

ATTO DISK BENCHMARK VER. 3.05

ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.

Intel 540s 480GB ATTO
ATTO shows us strong initial results. Reads reach the 560MB/s specification just as writes, which actually outperform the specification. Peak speeds were 563MB/s for read and 517MB/s for write.

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Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

>ut why Intel would not be relying on their own fabs for memory is more than a bit curious.

Not really. Intel didn’t invest in 16nm NAND, so they have to source it somewhere else to be price competitive.

Les@TheSSDReview
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It is the bigger question with respect to memory in Intel’s future that we elude to…just adding an air of suspense. lol

HERETIC
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HERETIC

Guess-Just a stop-gap until they can get their 3D out..
They couldn’t go to their partner Micron-their TLC is borderline LEMON.

For the average Joe that don’t regularly transfer large files-as long as it’s responsive enough it’ll be fine.

TLC has benefited us all-bringing down the cost of owning a SSD.
The sooner everyone goes 3D can’t come quick enough-we can then send planer TLC into history………………………………………….

dzezik
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dzezik

I cant understatnd the overprovisioning. The drive is RAW 512GiB, usable space is 480GB, it means 447GiB. How do You calculate 7%. There is 7% overprovisioning and another 7% is gone. please use proper GiB and GB then everything will be clear.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Trying to explain the difference between GB and GiB to the typical person wanting this drive would make the report extremely confusing and would serve no purpose but to turn away the reader. GiB has no purpose in a consumer/client report and, IMO, really has no place whatsoever in current day reports, regardless of the target audience intended. Thanks for the input!

Gary Barnet
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Gary Barnet

Easiest way to explain GB and GIB is that they are my initials 🙂
Keep smiling

Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

Actually, internally NAND dies are even bigger than 128Gbit (so drive even has more than 512GiB flash) but thats just getting way too technical 🙂

Scour
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Scour

Hm, no sequential write speed test all over the capacity?

Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

It would make the drive look bad 🙂

Scour
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Scour

Nothing is harder than the truth 😉

Les@TheSSDReview
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Our report is the same format that we have used for some time and is actually very telling of the drives ability.

Scour
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Scour

Well, on my Laptop with USB2.0 the write speed of the SSD is not that important.

But for some other usecases the sequential write speed with large files is a criteria for me which says: Buy or buy not.

I mean files which are larger than the SLC-caches.

Spunjji
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Spunjji

Because that’s a likely use case. /s

Scour
Guest
Scour

In most cases 30GB is enough to see the real write speed with SSDs that uses SLC-Cache-tricks.
It seems that all SSD-manufacturers choose the write cache size which is enough for standard-benchmark-tools.

And yeah, I use SSDs also for my movie-cutting-PC and copy more than 100GB in a row, so it´s a usecase for me

Spunjji
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Spunjji

That’s fair, although surely as that’s highly sequential SATA III SSDs over a certain size are going to hit the interface ceiling regardless of the use of TLC?

I guess what I’m getting at is that I’d have thought that if the use case is mission critical and speed is /required/ then the investment in MLC PCIe drives would be justified.

Scour
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Scour

Well, I use external USB3.0-drives to copy my DVB-S(2)-recordings for cutting to my PC. It depends on the external case how fast I can copy. Some TLC-drives like the 850 Evo or Sandisk Ultra 2 offer speed >200MB/s with 500GB/480GB-versions, thats still OK as far I don´t start more than one copy at one time

But TLC-drives like Crucial BX200 which going down to ~75MB/s (960GB-version) are shitty for that usecase

Spunjji
Guest
Spunjji

Oh wow. Yeah, that’s a pretty substantial difference and knowing that comparison between drives would obviously be useful. Fair enough!

Spunjji
Guest
Spunjji

Incidentally the Crucial MX300 looks like it would be more your style. PC Perspective have a review including full drive writes and latency measurements.

ghccalanzani
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ghccalanzani

What are the SSD’s better than this for the same price? I don’t have much knowlegde about it and in my country (Brazil) I don’t have too much options…

OG
Guest
OG

Sandisk x400 512MB — better performance, lower price.
Samsung 850 EVO 500MB — best performance in class, about the same price.

kozaki
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kozaki

Nice test: inducted me to buy the 120GB for a Linux-powered netbook given 1. Its idle consumption, 2. Price and 3. Perfs vs HDD.
Before proper set-up (e.g. pcie_ASPM and so on) the little box total consumption was the *same* than with a 5400 Momentus. After set-up, I got a very slightly lower consumption when systems idle. And to my surprise, a 10-15% lower battery consumption when surfing, (or even with just the wireless chipset On and connected) reapeatedly on two OS.