Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Cardea Z540 SSD Revolutionizes Storage

With claims of breaking performance records, the Teamgroup Cardea Z540 is the second 12 GB/s SSD to appear on our testbench, following the Crucial T700. At the forefront of consumer non-volatile storage, this premium PCIe 5.0, or Gen 5, SSD is made for enthusiasts who want to use the maximum bandwidth for gaming, content production, and other uses. This is intended for high-end desktops and workstations with frequent large file operations and to get ready for future DirectStorage needs; it is not for your laptop or console. The Z540 is one of the newest models in this early adopter platform’s ongoing fine-tuning and optimization.

While still rather fast, several of the first-generation 10 GB/s Gen 5 SSDs they examined were a touch underwhelming. It is challenging to translate benchmarks into practical performance, and current generational advancements in NAND flash have prioritized density enhancement above random I/O performance in order to increase capacity. Undoubtedly, bandwidth has increased, but excluding certain file transfers, it can be difficult to detect. Nevertheless, this advancement in NAND flash technology is required to create better “value” drives; also, enthusiasts who are always on the cutting edge may utilize these speedier drives for the right kinds of applications.

Affordable Teamgroup Cardea Z540

Although they would have preferred a lower price for Gen 5 drives, they are aware that purchasing one is still a possibility only available to early adopters. Sooner or later, cheaper, faster, and more efficient drives will be available. Even still, there’s something about consuming this much bandwidth with non-volatile storage that puts things into perspective and highlights how far we’ve gone from the days of sluggish HDDs. The Z540 is another in a long series of edge-pushers that performs better than anticipated, at least in this instance. Even though the SSD storage industry as a whole has been rocky lately, there is excellent cause to be positive in this area.

The Teamgroup Cardea Z540, sometimes known as Team Z540, is presently offered in 1TB and 2TB capacities; a 4TB SKU is anticipated at a later time. With the exception of the Crucial T700, the drive can achieve sequential read and write speeds of up to 12,400 / 11,800 MB/s and random read and write IOPS of up to 1,500K / 1,500K. With a five-year warranty and a write capacity of up to 700TB per TB, Team stands behind the drive.

Cardea Z540 SSD
Image Credit to Tom’s Hardware

Other than a label that provides information, the Team Z540 is unadorned. It is highly advised to use a heatsink exclusively when operating this drive. Just use the M.2 heatsink on your motherboard or come up with a DIY solution. You can choose to leave the label on or remove it gently, however in the latter case you should definitely save the label for reference. Despite the label’s claim that removal destroys the drive’s warranty, most jurisdictions generally won’t allow you to pursue this.

With an SSD controller, a DRAM package, and two NAND packages on top, the Z540 is a double-sided device. There are two more NAND packages on the rear, but no DRAM. Compared to the Samsung 990 Pro, which is single-sided with DRAM and two NAND packages even at 4TB, this arrangement is standard, but it feels incredibly antiquated.

Teamgroup Cardea Z540 SSD Specifications

Product1TB2TB4TB
Pricing$149.99$259.99N/A
Form FactorM.2 2280M.2 2280M.2 2280
Interface / ProtocolPCIe 5.0 x4PCIe 5.0 x4PCIe 5.0 x4
ControllerPhison E26Phison E26Phison E26
DRAMLPDDR4LPDDR4LPDDR4
Flash Memory232-Layer Micron TLC232-Layer Micron TLC232-Layer Micron TLC
Sequential Read11,700 MBps12,400 MBps12,400 MBps
Sequential Write9,500 MBps11,800 MBps11,800 MBps
Random Read1,350K1,400K1,500K
Random Write1,400K1,500K1,500K
SecurityN/AN/AN/A
Endurance (TBW)700TB1400TBN/A
Part NumberTM8FF1001T0C129TM8FF1002T0C219TM8FF1004T0C219
Warranty5-Year5-Year5-Year

The flash bears the same branding, NY181, as the Seagate FireCuda 540. The Z540 is rated at 12 GB/s, as opposed to the FireCuda 540’s 10 GB/s. This is where the differences lie. The Crucial T700 drive, which can also reach 12 GB/s, uses NV053 flash, which is available in a different form factor than this one. This indicates that in order to attain faster I/O rates, there may be some grappling going on with the controller, the flash, or both.

To assess the values of transmitting data precisely, higher I/O rates necessitate more accuracy. Techniques for increasing peak and average power demand or decreasing efficiency can be used to improve signal quality or value determination. Naturally, Gen 5 drives aren’t exactly known for their power efficiency, so using this technology to reach and sustain greater speeds might be difficult, especially if you want to keep the drive within a reasonable temperature range.

The DRAM is 32GB or 4GB of SK Hynix LPDDR4 that has been recognized. This is more than plenty for a 2TB drive, and utilizing low-power DDR will only aid in resolving the issue with current Gen 5 SSDs‘ excessive power consumption.

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