Intel's got a new SSD out today, gerbils. No, don't get excited, it's not an Optane-powered model. The new drive is the SSD 545s, and it's a mainstream SATA drive that uses a Silicon Motion controller and IMFT's 64-layer 3D TLC flash. Intel says the 545s is the first drive in the world to launch using that flash technology. Moreover, in the U.S., the SSD 545s is launching exclusively at Newegg.
The specific controller inside the new drives is the SM2259. Attentive gerbils may note that this model number is just one off from the very popular SM2258 used in the Intel SSD 540, among other offerings. The new controller is so new that it's not even up on Silicon Motion's website yet. For that reason, we're not quite sure yet what the difference is between the SM2259 and the previous-generation chip.
In any case, Intel says the combination of the SM2259 controller and 256-Gbit IMFT flash chips can produce up to 550 MB/s in sequential reads and 500 MB/s in sequential writes. Random performance stands at 75,000 IOPS for reads and 90,000 IOPS for writes. Those numbers put it squarely in the same range as other quality SATA SSDs like Crucial's MX300 and Samsung's 850 EVO. PC Perspective tested the SSD 545s and found that it mostly bore out Intel's claims.
Historically, Intel enjoys a small price premium on its SSDs thanks to the company's perceived reliability advantage. The SSD 545s has a lavish (for a mainstream SSD) five-year warranty. Storage Review found a nasty firmware bug in its testing that hung the whole machine, though. Intel already confirmed the bug's existence and promised a firmware fix, so props to the company for its quick response.
The only drive available right now is the 512 GB model, but the boys in blue intend to extend the range down to 128 GB and up to 2 TB. You can pick up Intel's SSD 545s right now at Newegg for $180, which is apparently a sale price lasting until Monday. Even still, we might hold off for that firmware update.
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