TeamGroup T-Force Z540 2TB SSD Review - Fastest Retail SSD to Date

TeamGroup's T-Force Z540 2TB SSD is the second 12,000 MB/s class retail SSD we've tested. This thing is super fast and runs nice and cool.

Published
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Manufacturer: TeamGroup
7 minutes & 22 seconds read time
TweakTown's Rating: 99%
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The Bottom Line

The T-Force Z540 2TB delivers overall the best user experience we've extracted from a retail flash-based SSD.

Pros

  • + Highest throughput
  • + Gaming
  • + User experience

Cons

  • - Not PS5 compatible

Should you buy it?

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Introduction & Drive Details

Phison's E26 controller remains the only consumer PCIe Gen5 controller available. This controller has, since it first appeared on the scene, been redefining consumer SSD performance as we know it. From the very first retail PCIe Gen5 SSD we tested all the way until now Phison has and continues to be the only game in town if you want storage performance at the highest level.

The proliferation of E26-controlled SSDs has come in stages to this point. First came the 10,000 MB/s class SSDs, next and where we are currently at today, 12,000 MB/s class SSDs, and sometime in the future, final stage 14,000 MB/s class E26-based SSDs will come to market. The reason for the mentioned throughput stages comes down to the availability of faster flash. All the flash is, has been, and will continue to be Micron 232Layer B58R flash. The 10,000 MB/s SSDs are arrayed with 1,600MT flash, the 12,000 MB/s SSDs are arrayed with 2,000MT flash, and the future 14,000 MB/s SSDs will sport 2,400MT flash.

Naturally, and as most of you are likely aware, with unprecedented throughput comes unprecedented heat that needs to be tamed with either adequate user-provided cooling or factory-provided cooling. To this point, we've seen various manufacturer-provided cooling solutions, and all have proven to do the job well enough. However, those with active cooling have all been a tradeoff being effective but noisy.

TeamGroup, as they are known to do, has held back from the fray and is only now launching its take on the E26 platform.

TeamGroup has not only skipped entirely the 10,000 MB/s class SSDs, but they've been paying close attention to consumer feedback as it relates to overly noisy actively cooled E26 SSDs and have come up with an optional cooling solution that we really like. TeamGroup's cooler is the first of its kind, at least that we've gotten our hands on, actively cooled SSD tower cooler.

This cooler is effective, as evidenced by the following thermal test, where we heated the SSD up as much as possible, with the T-Force Z540 topping out at a cool 56c.

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We are thoroughly impressed, not only with the cooling capabilities of this unique cooler but also with the way it runs nice and quiet compared to the others we've encountered. Lastly, as it relates to the cooler, we really like the way it looks.

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We liked how our setup looks better with the cooler than without - the first time for that.

TeamGroup's Z540 is the second retail 12,000 MB/s class SSD we've gotten in for testing, with the first being Crucial's T700. The T700 instantly became the fastest and best-performing retail SSD we'd ever tested. Our test subject is arrayed with identical hardware, so we are expecting to extract some great performance from TeamGroup's first PCIe Gen5 offering.

Now that we have a brief overview of what the T-Force Z540 is and what makes it tick, let's dive right in so we can put some exact numbers to this 12,400 MB/s capable powerhouse.

Drive Details

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Jon's Test System Specifications

Intel Test System

AMD Test System

Because we at TweakTown like to be first at everything whenever we can, we will present our storage performance results for the test subject on both 13th Gen Intel and 7000 Series AMD platforms going forward for the foreseeable future. Because Intel still delivers the best real-world storage performance, (Look Here), our running chart will continue to be Intel-based until AMD can deliver better real-world storage performance than its rival.

Buy at Amazon

TeamGroup T-Force Z540 2TB SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$246.99$246.99$246.99
* Prices last scanned on 6/24/2024 at 6:56 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, Anvil, ATTO

CrystalDiskMark

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We employ CDM as our standard measurement for both sequential throughput and Q1T1 random read. TeamGroup specs its T-Force Z540 2TB as capable of up to 12,400 MBs sequential read throughput and up to 11,800 MBs sequential write throughput. This is, as expected, spot on. Additionally, 105 MB/s at 4K Q1T1 random read tells us we are indeed dealing with 2,000 MT B58R flash.

Anvil's Storage Utilities

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The T-Force Z540 2TB manages a new lab record for a flash-based retail SSD by edging out the T700 by one point for the top spot. Impressive.

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We employ Anvil's random read test as our standard for measuring max random read IOPS. This test is very accurate as it at its core is Iometer skinned over. We test at QD128. We come up a bit short of the drive's quoted up to specs being 1.5 million RR IOPS. That said, 1.35 million IOPS here is more than satisfactory considering our more demanding user state.

ATTO

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ATTO gives us a clear picture of what transfer sizes a particular SSD favors in terms of sequential throughput. Our test subject favors sequential transfers of 4MB or larger when serving data to the host (reading) and 128K or larger when programming (writing) data.

Real-World Testing: Transfers, 3DMark SSD Gaming Test, PCM10 Storage

Transfer Rates

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Our 100GB data transfer test is not your ordinary 100GB of data. Ours is a crushing mix composed of more than 62K files. Write performance random or sequential, is an infrequent operation, and as such, we do not consider it to be an important performance metric in the consumer space. An example being how many times is a game installed vs. how many times it's played. New lab record for a retail flash-based SSD.

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Unlike programming (writing) data, serving data to the host (reading) data is always an important performance metric, and here again, our test subject does it at the highest level. It's the second-best ever for a retail SSD running on an Intel-based platform. Impressive.

3DMark SSD Gaming Test

UL's newest 3DMark SSD Gaming Test is the most comprehensive SSD gaming test ever devised. We consider it superior to testing against games themselves because, as a trace, it is much more consistent than variations that will occur between runs on the actual game itself. This test is the same as running the actual game, just without the inconsistencies inherent to application testing. In short, we believe that this is the world's best way to test an SSD's gaming prowess and accurately compare it against competing SSDs. The 3DMark SSD Gaming Test measures and scores the following:

  • Loading Battlefield V from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Call of Duty Black Ops 4 from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Overwatch from launch to the main menu.
  • Recording a 1080p gameplay video at 60 FPS with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) while playing Overwatch.
  • Installing The Outer Worlds from the Epic Games Launcher.
  • Saving game progress in The Outer Worlds.
  • Copying the Steam folder for Counter-Strike Global Offensive from an external SSD to the system drive.
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Gaming is a performance metric that matters to the majority of DIY consumers, especially to the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to. Again, we are rewarded with another lab record, and this time, it's where we want to see it most: gaming. Do you want what is currently the world's best flash-based gaming SSD? This is it. Additionally, and worthy of mention here, the T-Force Z540 has Phison's exclusive I/O+ DirectStorage enhancing technology baked right in, making it a somewhat future-proof choice for gaming duties.

PCM10 Storage Tests

PCMark 10 Storage Test is the most advanced and most accurate real-world consumer storage test ever made. There are four different tests you can choose from; we run two of them.

The Full System Drive Benchmark and the Quick System Drive Benchmark. The Full System Drive Benchmark writes 204 GB of data over the duration of the test. The Quick System Drive Benchmark writes 23 GB of data over the duration of the test. These tests directly correlate with mainstream user experience.

PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark

This particular test writes 204GB data and covers a broad range of common consumer tasks, including booting Windows 10, file transfers, Adobe and Office applications, and startup times for games, including Battlefield V, COD Black Ops 4, and Overwatch. Unlike synthetic numbers, this is comprehensive real-world data, which is why we use it to rank SSDs in terms of user experience.

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The most performance where it matters most. This is really what makes the Z540 and those of its kind stand out as clearly superior to everything flash-based that's come before it. 6K points here is indeed head-turning as it matches the best ever extracted from any flash-based retail SSD. Impressive.

PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark

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8K here is again another milestone that has only been accomplished once before by a flash-based retail SSD. Our test subject rewards us with another lab record for an SSD of its kind. Outstanding.

Final Thoughts

As we see it, TeamGroup has done it again. The performance is on point, being our test subject is dishing out the highest overall user experience we've ever extracted from a flash-based retail SSD. Performance aside, we absolutely love the optional tower-style SSD cooler that the engineers at TeamGroup have created. It runs quiet, cools extremely well, and looks outstanding with its copper and black SteamPunk motif.

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We rank SSDs in terms of overall user experience (performance where it matters most) as expressed by PCMark 10 storage and 3DMark gaming storage tests. We consider a user experience score of 14K or more to verify an SSD as a TweakTown Elite performer. The T-Force Z540 2TB takes the top spot for any flash-based retail SSD we've ever tested. Super-Elite, if you will.

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TeamGroup's T-Force Z540 series will be available for purchase in a few weeks from now. We have no idea what it will sell for in retail channels, but we fully expect it to be aggressively priced if TeamGroup follows the pricing path they are currently on. As it stands at this moment in time, this SSD is the best of the best and well deserving of our highest award. Editor's choice.

Photo of product for sale

Performance

99%

Quality

99%

Features

99%

Value

N/A

Overall

99%

The Bottom Line

The T-Force Z540 2TB delivers overall the best user experience we've extracted from a retail flash-based SSD.

TweakTown award
99%

TeamGroup T-Force Z540 2TB SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$246.99$246.99$246.99
* Prices last scanned on 6/24/2024 at 6:56 am CDT - 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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