Intel has released the series 530 SSD, and we review it. This is the arrival of the new 20nm MLC based 530 series for consumers, with more 530 models to follow later this quarter. Starting today the new SSD debuts in storage capacities of 80 up-to 480 GB. It will be based on the M.2 interface, mSATA and regular 2.5" SSD formats using the (LSI) SandForce SF-2281 controller. The biggest change is to be found in the transition of using newer NAND flash memory which now is 20nm based on MLC, coming from 25nm.
Now, we've been testing NAND Flash based storage ever since the very beginning. And I've stated it a couple of times already, it really is surprising to see where we have gotten. The SSD market is fierce and crowded though. While stability and safety of your data have become a number one priority for the manufacturers, the technology keeps advancing in a fast pace as it does, the performance numbers a good SSD offers these days are simply breathtaking. 450 to 550 MB/sec on SATA3 is the norm for a single controller based SSD. Next to that the past year NAND flash memory (the storage memory used inside an SSD) has become much cheaper as well. Prices now roughly settle just under 1 USD per GB. That was two to threefold two years ago. As such SSD technology and NAND storage has gone mainstream. The market is huge, fierce and competitive, but it brought us where we are today ... nice volume SSDs at acceptable prices with very fast performance. Not one test system in my lab has an HDD, everything runs on SSD while I receive and retrieve my bigger chunks of data from a NAS server here in the office. The benefits are performance, speed, low power consumption and no noise. You can say that I evangelize SSDs, yes Sir .. I am a fan, an SSD addict if you will.
For today's review we'll put the successor of the Intel 520 series under the microscope. Intel’s new 530-series SSDs will slowly replace all 520 and 525 series SSD drives that are available on the market. The 530 will become available in three form factors, the standard 2.5-inch 7mm, you will also see an mSATA version, and then there's NGFF M2. Choice is good, and as such you'll have plenty. The SSD 530 ships in capacities up to 480GB depending on the form factor. The 2.5" form factor SSD 530 delivers the greatest array of capacity options with 80, 120, 180, 240, 360 and 480GB offerings, and from that list, M.2 drops the 240 and 480GB options, while mSATA drops the 480GB model. The drives also feature power modes to reduce power consumption and are quoted with very low active (typical) rates at just 140mW for M.2 and mSATA and 190mW for the 2.5" form factor. But nuff said .. let's startup the review shall we ?
Intel 530 SSD with 20nm NAND and the LSI SF2281 controller