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


The Intel 540s seems to be an average performing TLC based product. It was able to achieve speeds of over 560MB/s read and 500MB/s write while QD1 random performance was also good with over 30MB/s read results and 150MB/s writes. In AS SSD it was also able to achieve over 75K IOPS read and 80K IOPS write, which is nearly inline with Intel’s specification ratings. Reaching over 87K points, its PCMark Vantage results placed it with many other good performing drives. PCMark 8’s extended on the other hand revealed results that, while strong and consistent, were just average compared to other SSDs we have tested.

Intel 540s 480GB Main

Furthermore, though the Intel 540s showed decent performance during our battery of synthetic tests, it didn’t do too well during our file transfer test. In this test it reached an average of just 130MB/s, which places it in a performance category below that of even a hard drive, but still ahead of the Crucial BX200. Finally, with a transfer power consumption of just 3.2W, a max of 4.3W, and idle of just 51mW, the Intel 540s’s power consumption was well regulated during testing.

Intel 540s 480GB Angle


Intel’s choice to release a TLC based drive was obvious with the value segment blowing up in the past few months. With pricing becoming more and more cut throat, it doesn’t seem like the Intel 540s Series will fair too well in sales compared to everyone else. With average performance and Intel’s typical luxury tax, the Intel 540s Series isn’t your best bet when looking for a new value based TLC SSD. Its 5-year warranty and AES 256-bit encryption, while definitely key differentiators, don’t fully make up for the steep price point that puts it too far above the competition. Intel 540s Series SSD is just another TLC option out there in the sea of SSDs. Many of which are a much better value. However, if you are a die-hard Intel fanboy, want that 5-year warranty, need AES encryption, or if by chance this SSD is one that just turns you on, be sure too…

Check out the Intel 540s Series SSD at Amazon Today!

Intel 540s Series SSD Report

Build and Components
Features and Accessories
Price and Availability

Just another TLC SSD

With average performance and Intel's typical luxury tax, the Intel 540s series doesn't look to be your best bet when looking for a new value based TLC SSD. It's 5-year warranty and AES 256-bit encryption doesn't fully make up steep price point puts it too far above the competition for the performance it offers. Intel 540s Series SSD is just another TLC option out there in the sea of SSDs. Many of which are a much better value.

User Rating: 2.05 ( 19 votes)


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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.

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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

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        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………………………………………….

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    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.

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      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!

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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 🙂

  3. blank

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

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      Benjamin Hojnik

      It would make the drive look bad 🙂

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        Nothing is harder than the truth 😉

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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.

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        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.

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      Because that’s a likely use case. /s

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        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

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        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.

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        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

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

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

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    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…

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

  5. blank

    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.

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