Intel has become the first hardware maker out of the gate with a consumer-level solid state drive based on 64-layer TLC 3D NAND. In layman’s terms, the technology allows for more storage space to be squeezed into fewer chips.

The Intel SSD 545s, initially offered in a 512GB capacity, boasts maximum sequential read and write speeds of up to 550MB/sec and 500MB/sec, respectively, with 4KB random read speeds of up to 75,000 IOPS and 4K random write speeds of up to 90,000 IOPS.

The SSD 545s is packaged in a standard 2.5-inch, SATA-style chassis although we’re told that an M.2 NVMe version is set to arrive later this year. It is one of the first SSDs to use the SM2259 controller from Silicon Motion, features AES 256-bit encryption and comes with a five-year warranty alongside a life expectancy of 1.6 million hours.

AnandTech got its hands on an early production unit and found the 545s to be a much better all-around performer compared to Intel’s own 540s. The publication notes that in some tests, the 545s appears to be the first serious challenger to Samsung’s 850 EVO in terms of performance and power efficiency.

Intel’s latest is available as of writing over on Newegg for $179.99. With any luck, that price point will come down a bit in the coming weeks as availability of the drive broadens.

Images courtesy Newegg