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Want a reliable budget SSD? Intel’s new 540s lineup may be what you need

Looking for a budget solid state drive? Intel just released a new line of SATA drives, the 540s series, which might be perfect for you. You can buy them right now.

At 80 millimeters thick, and available in both the M.2 and 2.5-inch form factors, Intel’s 540s series drives starts at $80 for a 120GB drive, and top out at $450 for an entire terabyte.

Related: Don’t have a solid state drive? These five SSDs will help you get with the times, on any budget

If that pricing doesn’t sound competitive to you, that’s because it’s not. Sellers seem to know this: the drive is heavily discounted on NewEgg. Here’s the 480GB drive for $150, for example, a $70 discount over the listed price. Here’s the 1TB model for $300, a $150 discount. We’ve put together a rundown of each drives and its MSRP, but keep in mind that there are already heavy discounts out there.

That read speed of 560 megabytes per second is above average for a budget SATA SSD, assuming benchmarks agree with Intel’s marketing. The write speeds are also typical, though the 120GB drive noticeably loses out its big brothers.

Overall, it seems like a decent range of budget SSDs priced just a little too high, but if the trend of retailers undercutting the listed price continues, we could see these becoming a good option. They’re not the fastest drives we’ve ever seen, and they’re not the cheapest, but Intel is known for making reliable drives.

Related: Solid state drives vs. hard drives: which is right for you?

If you’re still using a mechanical hard drive, upgrading to a solid state drive is probably the best way you can improve your current machine. These drives are significantly faster, meaning things like booting and opening large files is close to instant. Price point has long been a problem, so the more affordable drives that enter the market the better.

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