We published our first Intel 530 Series product review back in January, and aside from the release of the 730 Series, Intel has been fairly quiet on the consumer SSD front. The Intel 530 ships with a full accessory package that dwarfs most other company's packages, goes through extensive (and publicly documented) testing before ever coming to market, and in spite of all this, still sells at a low price point.
Today we're testing the largest capacity model in the 530 Series product family, the 480GB.
Specifications, Pricing, and Availability
Intel released the 530 Series in several capacities and form factors. Capacity ranges from 80GB to 480GB. Three form factors came to market as well, M.2 2280 form factor, mSATA, and the more common 2.5" 7mm z-height.
The claimed performance is 540 MB/s sequential read, 490 MB/s sequential write, 41,000 random write, and 80,000 random write IOPS (all numbers rated with 'up to'). We should see some deviation from the claimed performance today, especially in the random write category. The 530 Series uses a SandForce SF-2281 controller. In the 480GB capacity, the drives write random data at high queue depths a little slower than the 240GB models.
Intel covers the 530 Series with a solid five-year warranty. Until Samsung and SanDisk moved to ten-year warranties with flagship consumer SSDs, Intel's five-year warranty led the industry. Intel also ships the 530 Series with one of the best retail accessory packages. We'll take a closer look at the accessory package later in this review.
Last, but not least, Intel was one of the first in the industry to release a software toolkit for the company's SSDs. You can read about every software SSD toolkit in the consumer industry, including Intel's SSD Toolbox in this article.
While shopping online, we found the Intel 530 Series 480GB for as low as $239.99. The lowest priced models in this capacity are down to roughly $210, and the Crucial MX100 ($209.99) are very popular, as is the Samsung 840 EVO ($239.99). None of the ultra-low-cost 512GB capacity drives include accessory packages that equal Intel's package, or Intel's long five-year warranty.
PRICING: You can find the Intel 530 Series SSD (kit) for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Intel 530 Series 480GB SSD kit retails for $253.38 at Amazon, the Intel 530 Series 240GB SSD kit retails for $129.99 at Amazon, and the Intel 530 Series 120GB SSD kit retails for $79.47 at Amazon.
Canada: The Intel 530 Series 480GB SSD kit retails for CDN$431.26 at Amazon Canada, the Intel 530 Series 240GB SSD kit retails for CDN$189.99 at Amazon Canada, and the Intel 530 Series 120GB SSD kit retails for CDN$112.55 at Amazon Canada.
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