It's difficult to believe, but we wrote our SandForce SF-2000 Series introduction article at the start of 2011. At the time, the market was ready to move from SATA 3Gb/s to SATA 6Gb/s, and SandForce was our hero. SandForce came on the scene fast, and dominated the SATA 3Gb/s market.
2010 was not only SandForce's breakout year, but it was also the year in which SandForce became an industry leader. In order to do that, SandForce needed to engineer a product that was innovative, and offered a significant increase in performance to the competitions products, while doing so at a lower cost. That is exactly what SandForce managed to do.
The transition from SF-1200 to SF-2200 was swift, unlike the current transition to third generation silicon. We've seen early demos for SF3000 series hardware, but the move from SATA 6Gb/s to NVMe hasn't been as smooth as everyone hoped.
All of this ties into the Intel 530 Series. The benchmark performance showed us that the SF-2281 controller is still competitive, but only in low-cost products. The controller's feature set is competitive though, featuring DEVSLP, encryption, and the most significant feature of all, data compression.
There was a time when Intel used the SF-2281 for flagship performance products, but the 530 Series is priced closer to value-based drives these days. There is still a gap between the Crucial MX100, Corsair Force LS, and their clones, but the 530 brings more to the table. The value SSD market products usually have a two to three-year warranty. Intel covers the 530 Series with a full five-year warranty. Normally value drives ship with the SSD, some cardboard and plastic, but the Intel 530 Series ships with a plethora of adapters, cables, and other accessories, along with Intel's SSD Toolbox that has a slew of features.
If you want a low-cost SSD with high capacity, reliability that only comes from maturity, and a bells and whistles package, the Intel 530 Series 480GB is a good choice. For light use, there are faster SSDs on the market in this capacity, but if you plan to write a lot of data while hammering the drive, the 530 Series is better than most products on the market at this price point.
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.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||93%|
|Bundle and Packaging||93%|
|Value for Money||89%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||91%|
The Bottom Line: Intel's 530 Series may use older technology, but that technology is reliable, efficient and still makes for a great product at a low price point. The 530 480GB costs more than some other low-cost drives on the market, but ships with the components you need to install the drive.
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