Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC

Solidigm is pushing forward with its QLC superiority. Its newest QLC datacenter SSD dishes out performance and endurance rivaling that of TLC.

Published
Updated
Manufacturer: Solidigm (SBFPF2BU153T)
8 minutes & 13 seconds read time
TweakTown's Rating: 93%
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The Bottom Line

If the workload is conducive, the D5-P5430 presents a value proposition that's hard to ignore.

Pros

  • + TCO
  • + Low QD 8K
  • + Endurance for QLC

Cons

  • - 4K read latency

Should you buy it?

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Introduction and Drive Details

Solidigm, formerly Intel as it relates to solid state storage, has a new QLC datacenter SSD, the D5-P5430. This SSD, like its predecessor, the QLC arrayed D5-P5316, is designed to deliver superior TCO to that of many TLC arrayed datacenter SSDs. The 144-Layer arrayed D5-P5316 has already made inroads into niche datacenter roles by offering read performance similar to that of most TLC SSDs but doing so for lower upfront expenditure and typically with overall higher rack density.

The D5-P5316 is an attractive option, as long workloads are read-intensive with little to no writes thrown into the mix. Enter today's review subject, Solidigm's D5-P5340. The D5-P5430 marks the first time we've gotten our hands-on Solidigm's freshly minted 192-Layer flash. This 4-bit flash is easily the best QLC flash in existence, and in fact, it's so good that it has Solidigm touting its newest datacenter SSD as a drop-in replacement for TLC NAND-based PCIe SSDs.

The company describes its D5-P5430 as follows: "The D5-P5430 is optimized for mainstream workloads (e.g., email/unified communications, decision support systems, object storage, and virtual desktop infrastructure) and read-intensive workloads (e.g., content delivery networks, data lakes/pipelines, video-on-demand). These workloads are typically 80% reads or higher and need to move massive amounts of data at high throughput."

Further, Solidigm is claiming its D5-P5430 can deliver performance and endurance that is on par with most of today's TLC SSDs. Solidigm states its newest QLC offering can reduce TCO by up to 27% with a 1.5X increase in storage density, 18% lower energy costs, and, most astounding of all, can deliver up to 14% higher lifetime writes vs. leading TLC SSDs. Of course, there is a substantial amount of fine print that narrows down the use-case scenarios where these claims bare out, but nevertheless, what we have here is the first-of-its-kind QLC datacenter SSD that rivals its TLC competition.

QLC that rivals TLC? Well, we can't test the endurance part of Solidigm's claims, but we can certainly put it to the test and see exactly how it performs against 9 of its TLC-arrayed contemporaries. Okay, let's see what kind of performance we can extract from Solidigm's D5-P5430 QLC datacenter SSD.

Specs/Comparison Products

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 01
Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 32
Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 33

The D5-P5430 is offered in three form factors and four capacity points. Note the 30.72TB capacity point is not supported with the E1.S form factor due to size constraints.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 U.2 SSD

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 02Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 03

Enterprise Testing Methodology

TweakTown strictly adheres to industry-accepted Enterprise Solid State Storage testing procedures. Each test we perform repeats the same sequence of the following four steps:

  1. Secure Erase SSD
  2. Write the entire capacity of SSD a minimum of 2x with 128KB sequential write data, seamlessly transition to the next step
  3. Precondition SSD at maximum QD measured (QD32 for SATA, QD256 for PCIe) with the test-specific workload for a sufficient amount of time to reach a constant steady-state, seamlessly transition to the next step
  4. Run test-specific workload for 5-minutes at each measured Queue Depth, and record results
Buy at Amazon

Intel SSDPF2NV153TZN1 D5-P5316 15.36TB

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$1657.37$1638.91$1729.99
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Benchmarks - Random and Sequential

4K Random Write/Read

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 04

We precondition the drive for 32,000 seconds, receiving performance data every 2 seconds. We plot this data to observe the test subject's descent into steady-state and to verify steady-state is in effect as we seamlessly transition into testing at queue depth. Steady-state is achieved at 18,000 seconds of preconditioning. The average steady-state write performance at QD256 is approximately 145K IOPS.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 05
Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 06

We hit a max of 146K IOPS sustained, or 18% higher than factory up to specs. Super impressive for a QLC SSD. We note that it is beating four of the TLC arrayed contenders at QD1, again impressive. Additionally, its performance curve looks good, with no hiccups along the way.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 07
Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 08

Solidigm specs the drive as capable of up to 971K pure 4K random read. At 960.6K IOPS, we fall 1% short of factory spec. Across the board, with the lone exception of the D7-P5510 at QD256, the D5-P5430 is substantially outperformed by its TLC competitors.

In terms of TCO, this doesn't look so great, as QLC has a higher power draw than TLC. Additionally, and in comparison, with the TLC arrayed 6500 ION, which is advertised to have upfront cost parody with QLC SSDs and has the density to match, our QLC contender leaves us wanting better latency, especially at low queue depths.

Of course, we don't know how upfront cost will ultimately shake out, especially at volume, but to our way of thinking, the D5-P5430 will need to be significantly cheaper than the ION 6500 for it to make sense in any 4K RR use case scenario and likely needs to be offered at a higher density as well, which as it stands currently it is not.

8K Random Write/Read

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 09

We precondition the drive for 32,000 seconds, receiving performance data every 2 seconds. We plot this data to observe the test subject's descent into steady-state and to verify steady-state is in effect as we seamlessly transition into testing at queue depth. Steady-state is achieved at 18,000 seconds of preconditioning. The average steady-state write performance at QD256 is approximately 72K IOPS.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 10
Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 11

We expect 8K random to track exactly the same as 4K random here, just at a lower rate because it's moving twice the amount of data. Our test subject does beat the CD6-R across the board, but that's to be expected, because that's exactly what we saw at 4K. Nevertheless, 72K here is great for 4-bit flash.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 12
Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 13

Solidigm stated to us that its D5-P5430 excels in an 8K all-read environment, and this is exactly what we are seeing at low queue depths, where it has reversed the tables on the 6500 ION, outperforming its greatest competitor at QD1-2. The 7450 Pro essentially delivers the same at QD1-2 as our test subject, but it cannot match it on the density front, so that's potentially another win for the D5-P5430.

We find this impressive and completely unexpected based on what we saw at 4K. In fact, this may be a niche where the D5-P5430 can indeed offer an overall better value proposition than TLC.

128K Sequential Write/Read

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 14

We precondition the drive for 13,000 seconds, receiving performance data every 2 seconds. Steady-state for this test kicks in at 0 seconds. The average steady-state sequential write performance at QD256 is approximately 3,060 MB/s.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 15
Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 16

Full performance at all queue depths is preferred here, and that's exactly what our test subject is dishing up. Excellent.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 17
Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 18

Solidigm spec's our test subject as capable of up to 7,000 MB/s 128K sequential read. We are hitting a whopping 7,478 MB/s at QD64. Impressive and potentially another niche where the D5-P5430 can offer a better value proposition than many of its TLC counterparts. The drive's performance curve is almost a mirror image of its older TLC arrayed cousin, the D7-P5510, but slightly better. Most impressive is our test subject's QD1 performance, where it's dishing out the second most we've attained from any flash-based SSD.

Benchmarks - Workloads

4K 7030

4K 7030 is a commonly quoted workload performance metric for Enterprise SSDs.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 19

We precondition the drive for 32,000 seconds, receiving performance data every 2 seconds. We plot this data to observe the test subject's descent into steady-state and to verify steady-state is in effect as we seamlessly transition into testing at queue depth. Steady-state is achieved at 31,000 seconds of preconditioning. The average steady-state write performance at QD256 is approximately 285K IOPS.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 20
Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 21

Here again the D5-P5430 has trouble keeping up when the workload is 4K aligned. It does manage a fairly respectable 285.7K IOPS at QD256 and even surpasses what the CD6-R can deliver at QD128 and QD256. However, when compared to the 6500 ION, our test subject can muster only a little more than half the performance of its TLC rival.

Now to be fair, we will again point out that the D5-P5430, for the most part, isn't intended for this type of workload, which is why Solidigm didn't include this commonly quoted performance spec as part of the drives up to performance metrics.

Email Server

Our Email Server workload is a demanding 8K test with a 50 percent R/W distribution. This application gives a good indication of how well a drive will perform in a write-heavy workload environment.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 22

We precondition the drive for 32,000 seconds, receiving performance data every 2 seconds. We plot this data to observe the test subject's descent into steady-state and to verify steady-state is in effect as we seamlessly transition into testing at queue depth. Steady-state is achieved at 22,000 seconds of preconditioning. The average steady-state write performance at QD256 is approximately 114K IOPS.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 23
Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 24

Now that we are back into the 8K aligned territory, things significantly improve for our QLC arrayed contender. At QD1-2, the D5-P5430 matches or exceeds what the 6500 ION is dishing out. This is quite good and somewhat unexpected, as our test here is 50% random writes. Additionally, our test subject again outperforms the CD6-R at queue depths of 16 or higher.

OLTP/Database Server

Our On-Line Transaction Processing (OLTP) / Database workload is a demanding 8K test with a 66/33 percent R/W distribution. OLTP is online processing of financial transactions and high-frequency trading.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 25

We precondition the drive for 32,000 seconds, receiving performance data every 2 seconds. We plot this data to observe the test subject's descent into steady-state and to verify steady-state is in effect as we seamlessly transition into testing at queue depth. Steady-state is achieved at 24,000 seconds of preconditioning. The average steady-state write performance at QD256 is approximately 140K IOPS.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 26
Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 27

The low queue depth 8K aligned outlook here is even better when more read enters the mix. In this case, the D5-P5430 can deliver more than the TLC arrayed 6500 ION at queue depths of 1 and 2. Here again, this is a narrow niche where our test subject can potentially offer an overall better value proposition than TLC.

Web Server

Our Web Server workload is a pure random read test with a wide range of file sizes, ranging from 512B to 512KB at varying percentage rates per file size.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 28

We precondition the drive for 32,000 seconds, receiving performance data every 2 seconds. We plot this data to observe the test subject's descent into steady-state and to verify steady-state is in effect as we seamlessly transition into testing at queue depth. We precondition for this test with an inverted (all-write) workload, so no relevant information can be gleaned from this preconditioning other than verification of steady-state.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 29
Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 30

Better than expected performance here considering what the D5-P5430 is designed to do and even more surprising when we consider that this is the most taxing test we run. At queue depths of 64 and higher, our test subject can compete with some TLC SSDs to the point where if density is in play as a consideration, the D5-P5430 could potentially be a better overall value proposition.

Final Thoughts

Solidigm's D5-P5430 is the first QLC arrayed datacenter SSD we've ever tested. We have to say that overall, we find it to be surprisingly performant and endurant. On the performance front, we were a bit disappointed with what the drive delivers when the data is 4K aligned and read intensive. However, we do need to keep in mind that this drive is tuned for read-intensive low queue depth 8K aligned random workloads and 128K sequential read workloads, where it does excel.

Solidigm D5-P5430 15.36TB SSD Review - When QLC Rivals TLC 31

Solidigm is advertising its D5-P4530 as a legit drop-in replacement for TLC-based SSDs, with the caveat being the type of workload. They are also pointing to density as a means of presenting an overall better value proposition than most contemporary TLC SSDs can offer, again, as long as the intended use case falls into the wheelhouse of the D5-P5430.

Finally, being QLC, it should present the customer with lower upfront expenditure per TB of storage. As far as we can discern, the D5-P5430 delivers as advertised, and we find it worthy of one of our highest awards.

Performance

85%

Quality

95%

Features

100%

Value

90%

Overall

93%

The Bottom Line

If the workload is conducive, the D5-P5430 presents a value proposition that's hard to ignore.

TweakTown award
93%

Intel SSDPF2NV153TZN1 D5-P5316 15.36TB

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
Buy at Newegg
$1399.99$1399.99-
$1657.37$1638.91$1729.99
* Prices last scanned on 2/20/2024 at 2:01 am CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Jon joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new storage products. Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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