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Intel SSD 530 240GB preview: Updated SandForce SSD with 20nm NAND

Earlier this month, Intel launched the SSD 530 series, that will take the place of the existing 520 SSDs (and in a way also the 335 series of Intel SSDs). The SSD 530 series is also built around the popular LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller, and like the other 500 series SSDs, you again get a five-year warranty. What's different is the use of 20nm flash memory, and that the new SSDs come in different formats: 2.5in, mSATA and M.2. We tested the 2.5in 240GB model.

The new 530s are not aimed just at the traditional SSD market of deskops and laptops. The entire series, except for the 240GB and 480GB versions, is available in mSATA and M.2 form factors as well. The M.2 SSDs, the mSATA and 2.5in models all use the Serial ATA 600 interface. The 2.5in version comes in 80GB, 120GB, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB and 480GB capacities. The mSATA and M.2 models are limited to 80GB, 120GB, 180GB and 360GB.

The SSDs are based on the commonly-used LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller, despite the fact that the chip has a different print and Intel type number. Like the previous series, Intel has improved and optimised the SandForce firmware, and claims that the reliability is of a very high level. And we have to admit, we rarely hear complaints about the reliability of Intel SSDs. The 520 SSDs were manufactured with 25nm ONFI NAND flash memory, but for the 530 series Intel has transitioned to 20nm Intel/Micron chips. They're likely 20nm chips with 64Gbps and a page size of 8KB, but we don't know for sure.

All Intel SSD 530 models have a maximum specified read speed of 540MB/s and a write speed of 490MB/s. That write speed is a bit low compared to other SandForce-based SSDs, so it appears that Intel may have tuned the new SSD series more for normal consumer use than for the maximum possible transfer rates. You can read the rest of Intel SSD 530 240GB preview on