Jan 16, 2015

Intel 530 Series SSD Review

Intel launched the SSD 530 series as a progressive update on their SSD 520 line, moving away from the 25nm NAND flash and incorporating new SandForce silicon with 20nm flash for more efficient power consumption. The 530 series also consolidates Intel's various form factors which previously carried different model numbers.14 new products don the SSD 530 brand in a variety of different form factors; standard 2.5", mSATA and M.2. As was the case with their previous series, Intel has optimized the SandForce firmware to deliver a combination of performance and reliability.

Every Intel 530 SSD is quoted to have a maximum read speed of 540 MB/s and a write speed of 490 MB/s. With those performance numbers-- a tad lower than other SandForce-based SSDs--it’s clear that Intel’s new 530 line is catered towards a more mainstream consumer base rather than for the maximum possible transfer rates. Additionally, the maximum 4k random IOPS is 41,000 and 80,000 for reading and writing respectively. The Intel SSD 530 Series also offers key features such as Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit Encryption to protect user data, End-to-End Data Protection, and Data Compression to help improve performance and endurance by automatically compressing information sent to the SSD.

The M.2 SSDs, mSATA and 2.5-models all use the Serial ATA 600 interface. The 2.5-inch version comes in 80GB, 120GB, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB and 480GB capacities. The mSATA and M.2 models are limited to in 80GB, 120GB, 180GB and 360GB. All of the Intel 530 SSDs ship with a five-year warranty. We are reviewing the 240GB 2.5” 7mm unit.

Intel SSD 530 SATA Specifications:
  • Capacities:
    • 80GB
    • 120GB
    • 180GB
    • 240GB
    • 360GB
    • 480GB
  • Performance
    • Sustained Sequential Read: up to 540MB/s
    • Sustained Sequential Write: up to 490MB/s
    • Random 4 KB Reads: up to 41,000 IOPS
    • Random 4 KB Writes: up to 80,000 IOPS
  • Components:
    • Intel 20 nm MLC NAND Flash Memory
    • SandForce SF-2200 Controller
  • AES 256-bit Encryption
  • Form Factors: 2.5-inch
  • Thickness: 7 mm
  • Weight: Up to 78 grams
  • Operating: 0C to 70C
  • Uncorrectable Bit Error Rate (UBER): <1 data-blogger-escaped-1016="" data-blogger-escaped-bits="" data-blogger-escaped-br="" data-blogger-escaped-per="" data-blogger-escaped-read="" data-blogger-escaped-sector=""> Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF): 1,200,000 hours
  • Warranty: 5 Years
    Design and Build

    One of the small things about the new 530 series is that it appears Intel is now taking the design of its consumer-branded SSDs up a notch. As such, the Intel 530 240GB has a very nice, modern look to it in terms of design with its silver colored all metal enclosure, with a dash of color with the faux circuit board sticker.

    Similar to previous Intel SSDs sharing the same case design, its 7mm z-height makes it compatible with thinner notebook designs and other systems needing the smaller form factor.

    Looking at the connectors, we see the standard power and Serial ATA connectors. This drive is SATA3 (6G) and is backwards compatible with SATA2 as well; however, the bandwidth limitation would be capped to approximately 270 MB/sec with SATA2, which is still much faster than HDDs.

    Under the hood, we will see that the Intel 530 makes use of Intel (Micron) 20nm MLC written NAND as well as a cross Intel/LSI-branded SandForce controller.

    The bottom side of the circuit board includes 8 additional NAND packages, making the total sixteen.

    Consumer Synthetic Benchmarks

    All consumer SSD benchmarks are conducted with the mid-range StorageReview Consumer Testing Platform. The comparables used for the review below include:
    • Crucial M500 (480GB, Marvell 9187, Micron 20nm MLC NAND, SATA)
    • OCZ Vector (256GB, Indilinx IDX500M00-BC Barefoot 3, 25nm MLC NAND, SATA)
    • Samsung SSD 840 EVO (250GB, 400MHz Samsung 3-core MCX controller, Samsung 1x nm Toggle NAND Flash, SATA)
    • Seagate 600 SSD (120GB, Link-a-Media LM87800, 19nm MLC NAND, SATA)
    • OCZ Vertex 150 SSD (240GB, Indilinx Barefoot 3 BF3-M10, 19nm MLC NAND, SATA)
    • Corsair Force LS (240GB, 19nm Toshiba MLC, SATA)
    To read more about the comparison of the benchmark testing with IOMeter please visit storagereview.


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