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Intel SSD 545s Review

Conclusion

Intel isn’t trying to break any speed records with the new 5-Series SSDs. As a mainstream product, the 545s just needs to be good enough rather than the best. Companies will buy this product at a discount to fill notebooks and other systems based on Intel’s reliability record alone. I would only use Intel SSDs if reliability were my main concern. More informed users may opt for the Samsung 850 EVO due to its increased performance, but we are the minority compared to the millions of units that go to large corporations.

Intel prices the 545s 512GB at $179 right out of the gate. This isn’t a magic number for SSDs, but Intel didn't pull if from a hat, either. Newegg lists the Samsung 850 EVO 500GB for $179 at the time of writing. The EVO is an elusive target that has led the market unscathed for years while other SATA products took shots. Intel will have to adjust 545s pricing lower than the 850 EVO or increase performance through firmware optimizations for our readers to choose this drive over the status quo. However, lowering prices goes against Intel's core philosophy. Intel isn't known for chasing the market.

Intel’s follow-up product may be what we need to put the 850 EVO, and SATA for that matter, behind us for good. According to the leaked roadmaps that hit the web last year, an updated 600p should come to market under the 610p name. The drive should feature an updated controller and the new 64-layer NAND we saw in action today. Intel made significant performance gains with the 545s over the previous generation, especially in sustained write throughput. An updated 600p with a more powerful controller, new firmware with direct-to-die write technology, and new 64-layer NAND would certainly be compelling. Intel even reduced the price of the 545s compared to the previous generation. We wouldn’t complain if the new 610p comes to market at a lower price than the current 600p.

I think NVMe is the best upgrade path for most of our readers. SATA will remain viable for several more years; it took years to get rid of Parallel ATA ports on motherboards. SATA is still going strong in notebooks and desktops, but power users, enthusiasts and gamers flock to two extremes. The first is a very high-performance SSD for a boot device, and the second is a very high capacity drive to hold applications. The 545s sits right in the middle.

In the coming months, Intel will release the 545s in higher capacities that top out at 2TB. We hope Intel learns from the 512GB and takes a long look at pricing compared to other products on the market. Ideally, we would like to see the 545s 2TB sell for less than the 850 EVO. The 545s becomes exciting with 2TB of flash ready to hold a Steam Library, but pricing will play a large role in our enthusiasm.


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  • hannibal
    Good that other makers Are gaining Samsung! Intel will newer go price war with Samsung because it does not have to. It can always sell a Little bit slover at the same price or even higher, because Intel have very good reputation among users and exspecially corporates. But this means than Sansung does not get everything too easily anymore and other ssd makers will definitely cut down under Samsung, if They just have a chance.
    So competition is coming back to SSD Also! Also in higher level not only on very low end.
    Reply
  • AgentLozen
    It's a shame that a big, well known company like Intel can't develop an SSD that beats a 2 year old competitor.

    What's important to keep in mind is that all modern SSDs are pushing against the SATA bandwidth cap. The benchmarks from this review indicate that every SSD tested performs pretty much the same in real world benchmarks.

    The most important variables right now (in SATA drives) are endurance and price. 3D flash memory should provide enough endurance for any mainstream user, but I would like to see the prices go down. I know we're in the middle of a flash shortage, but I was hoping that by 2017 we would have 1TB drives that cost $200.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    The Real-World Software Performance must have been exceptionally boring to benchmark.

    Wow opened in ... omg 58 seconds again.
    Reply
  • nzalog
    19868910 said:
    It's a shame that a big, well known company like Intel can't develop an SSD that beats a 2 year old competitor.

    What's important to keep in mind is that all modern SSDs are pushing against the SATA bandwidth cap. The benchmarks from this review indicate that every SSD tested performs pretty much the same in real world benchmarks.

    The most important variables right now (in SATA drives) are endurance and price. 3D flash memory should provide enough endurance for any mainstream user, but I would like to see the prices go down. I know we're in the middle of a flash shortage, but I was hoping that by 2017 we would have 1TB drives that cost $200.

    I don't think anyone looking for top performance is going to get a Sata SSD and intel is doing just fine in their NVME PCIE drives. I'd still buy an intel drive over Samsung even if it performed a bit slower.
    Reply
  • DerekA_C
    Ya you do that support the Intel agenda that breaks laws all over the world just like Microsucks and gets a slap on the wrist and business for them continues as usual while others struggle to make even a proper market share due to their devilish practices.
    Reply
  • DerekA_C
    also if manufacturers pushed for this on motherboards sata would be more then fast enough
    SATA revision 3.2 16 Gbit/s 1.97 GB/s
    SATA revision 3.0 6 Gbit/s 600 MB/s
    Reply
  • sillynilly
    What? Borderline incoherent.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    Nothing like a japanese to english google translate bashing.
    Reply
  • nzalog
    19870213 said:
    Ya you do that support the Intel agenda that breaks laws all over the world just like Microsucks and gets a slap on the wrist and business for them continues as usual while others struggle to make even a proper market share due to their devilish practices.

    I'm not sure if that was directed towards me but I'm pretty sure Samsung doesn't scores much better on the ethics scale.
    Reply
  • jtd871
    "2TB of flash ready to hold a Steam Library" This seems a bit overkill because 1) an Optane cache can reputedly make cheap and reliable "spinning rust" sing and 2) who keeps 2TB of games on local storage just in case they might want to play any random one of them?! (Or is that just Skyrim with all the mods? j/k)
    Reply