Intel has just launched its SSD 545s, which is the first shipping product to use 64-layer 3D NAND flash storage. Intel says that this allows it to offer high-end performance at entry-level prices. The company is targeting builders and upgraders who have a budget or are replacing a spinning hard drive, and touts lower battery drain, 256-bit encryption, and cost effectiveness.
The 64-layer TLC NAND used in the SSD 545s is manufactured by Intel itself, not sourced from a third-party manufacturer as is the case with some of its previous models. It is unrelated to Intel’s Optane storage and memory product lines which are based on a different memory architecture called 3D Xpoint, developed jointly with Micron. The 64-layer 3D TLC flash chips use Intel’s second-generation floating-gate architecture on. The company claims that it has achieved a new world record for areal density, which allows it to get higher capacities from each silicone wafer, leading to lower costs.
Sequential reads and writes are rated at 550MBps and 500MBps respectively, while 4K random reads and writes come in at 75,000 IOPS and 85,000 IOPS respectively. Power consumption is 4.5W when active and less than 50mW when idle, on average. Endurance is rated at 1.6 million hours MTBF. The controller in use is a Silicon Motion SM2259.
At launch time, the SSD 545s is available only in 512GB and in the 2.5-inch SATA form factor, though Intel says that it plans to roll out models ranging from 128GB to 2TB and will also use the M.2 standard. It is listed for sale in the US at an MSRP of $179 (approximately Rs. 11,550) though street prices will be lower, and has a five-year warranty. Intel has also said that it will use the same 64-layer TLC in its data centre and embedded products by the middle of 2018.