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The drive is great, but what's interesting is that Intel is also a price leader.
on October 17, 2013
Intel is now a price leader in the 5-year warranty consumer space. This drive was (at Amazon's introductory price) almost the same price as the Samsung 840 Pro 128GB (before provisioning). Intel was giving 50% more space than the Samsung 840 Pro for nearly the same price. Even with the higher price, it's still a better deal per GB than the Samsung 840 Pro.
I have 5 SSDs on my personal computers. 3 of my 5 SSDs are Intel, my other 2 are Samsung 840 (Pro and non-Pro) drives. I have an Intel 330 120GB and 2 of these new 530 180GB drives. Synthetic benchmarks can show the advantages and disadvantages of all my different drives, but for all practical purposes, I can't tell the difference in my daily use. My backups show a small difference, but since my backups are automated weekly, it doesn't make any difference.
Both Intel and Samsung have excellent software packages.
Reliability and price rule my choices. Since flash drives wear out through the process of programming and erasing cells, and use wear-leveling to make the drives last longer, I did a search for these statistics.
A simple search of the reviews of my various drives shows my SSD's different program/erase (p/e) cycles. This is what I found:
Samsung 840 ~ 1,000 p/e cycles;
Samsung 840 Pro ~ 3,000 - 5,000 p/e cycles;
Intel 330 ~ 3,000 p/e cycles;
Intel 335 ~ 3,000 p/e cycles (I don't own this drive, but included it for comparative purposes);
Intel 520/525 ~ 5,000 p/e cycles (I don't own either of these drives, but included them for comparative purposes);
Intel 530 ~ I couldn't find any numbers on p/e cycles, but I would expect the drive to have between 3,000 - 5,000 p/e cycles.
I wouldn't be surprised if Intel is having difficulty keeping up their 520/525's 5,000 p/e cycles benchmark on the 530; Intel's 520/525 uses 25nm NAND and the 530 uses 20nm NAND.
I haven't seen any reports of Samsung moving to sub-20nm NAND, but Micron (Intel's partner in flash memory) has reported that IMFT (Intel Micron Flash Technologies) is already moving to 16nm production as I write this. I doubt if Samsung can keep up with Intel's semiconductor process technology; the Samsung 840 (non-Pro) uses TLC (triple level cell) NAND, and is already at 1,000 p/e cycles.
Although my Samsung 840 and 840 Pro have class leading controllers in the consumer space, the 840's (non-Pro) durability remains hugely questionable given that it's rated at 1,000 p/e cycles; I use this drive on my 85 year old father's computer -- he only uses his computer to browse the internet, and Win8 only uses about 35GB of space.
Samsung has a notorious customer service record. Even now, recent reviews on the Samsung 840 Pro show that there are plenty of conflicting reports on whether the 840 Pro has a 3-year or a 5-year warranty -- Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware), especially on the Samsung 840 (non-Pro) drive.
While Samsung may find it difficult to scale it's NAND process technology lower, consumers are benefiting from Intel's lower prices.