It was some time ago that even the mention of TLC NAND flash memory could draw forum confrontations so active that they would inflame contributors, most threads containing language that we definitely wouldn’t want children hearing…or reading in that case. Luckily, NAND flash memory has progressed. In fact, this progression is very ‘consumer-centric’ as today’s SSDs, built on the newest 64-layer 3D TLC memory, push higher capacity SSDs to retail at a much lower price. This is specific to SATA 3 SSDs, as their performance has hit their ceiling some time ago, but for those into PCIe SSDs performance completes that sacred ‘speed-capacity-value’ triangle rather well.
This is the Intel SSD5 545s SATA 3 SSD and it is the subject of today’s report. It is the second such example containing the newest 64-layer 3D NAND flash memory we have tested, our review of the Toshiba 1TB XG5 NVMe SSD published just a few days back. That particular report is a wonderful example of just how far we have come with NVMe and SSD performance. You don’t have to skip to the summary to learn that both of these SSDs are absolutely fantastic renditions of today’ memory marketplace and just how far we have come in the SSD world.
The Intel SSD5 545s SSD is a SATA 3 SSD that is directed to the consumer market, and most specifically, for those upgrading from a hard drive. It is available in capacities from 128GB to 2TB, in both 2.5″ notebook and M.2 form factors, and it comes with a 5-year warranty. We should start seeing drive availability at retailers such as Amazon shortly and Intel’ MSRP for the 512GB capacity is $179US.
Performance is listed at 550MB/s read and 500MB/s write with up to 75,000/90,000 read and write IOPS. The SSD5 also has end-to-end hardware data protection, speaks to 4.5W active average power, <50mW Idle and <2.5mW dev sleep power and speaks to endurance of 72TBW per 128GB of capacity. This would leave us at 288TBW for our sample 512GB SSD. It also doesn’t really highlight this for the new user but there is a free SSD Toolbox compatible with the SSD5 (Download here!) and there is also FREE Data Migration Software which makes ones move from the hard drive a little less painless. (Download Here!).
The Intel SSD5 545s SATA 3 SSD is composed of a very small PCB enclosed within a two piece aluminum casing that is secured by 4 screws, one hidden by security tape. Removing the security tape from your SSD will void the warranty, all the reason for us to get that out-of-the-way in this report.
Although we have removed the thermal paste, it was evident on all NAND pieces and the controller. This helps to provide heat dissipation from the chips to the external aluminum casing. This is how the bottom of the PCB looked before our cleaning:
Taking a closer look on this picture below, we can see that the top of the PCB contains two pieces of Intel’ newest 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory, a SMI 4-channel SM2259 controller and a SK Hynix LPDDR3 512MB DRAM memory chip.
With two memory chips on each side of the PCB and a total capacity of 512GB, each has to be 128GB in size as a RAW value. The total available capacity of the SSD, once formatted, is 477GB.