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HomeReviewsTeamGroup T-Force Z540 1TB Review: Next-Generation Speeds

TeamGroup T-Force Z540 1TB Review: Next-Generation Speeds

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The TeamGroup T-Force Z540 sits among the fastest storage offerings from the Taiwanese brand. It can reach up to speeds of up to 12GB/s thanks to its utilization of the PCIe 5.0, which doubles the transfer rate of PCIe 4.0. But can it really perform as one of the fastest drives in the market? Let’s find out.

TeamGroup T-Force Z540 1TB

TeamGroup T.Force Z540 1TB Review (6)

Capacity 1TB
Interface PCIe 5.0 x4
Sequential Reads Up to 11,700MB/s
Sequential Writes Up to 9,500MB/s
Controller Phison E26
Flash 2048MB LPDDR4
Shock Resistance 1500G/0.5ms
Formfactor M.2 2280
Endurance (TBW) 600TBW
Weight 13g
Operating Temperature 0˚C – 70˚C
Storage Temperature -40˚C – 85˚C
Warranty 5-Year Limited Warranty

Unboxing and Accessories

TeamGroup T.Force Z540 1TB Review (3)

The T-Force Z540 comes in an unassuming box with its name and brand embossed at the front. The drive comes protected in a plastic frame. It doesn’t have much in the way of accessories, though it does come with a separate sticker with a graphene sheet to help with cooling. No external cooler bundled with this variant.

Design and Features

TeamGroup T.Force Z540 1TB Review (2)

The TeamGroup T-Force Z540 comes in a standard 2280 formfactor making it compatible with most rigs, the PlayStation 5, and some notebooks in the market.

There’s no built-in heatsink on the drive, so it bares for all to see. It is powered by the Phison PS5026-E26 controller. The controller is designed for the PCIe 5.0 x4 interface and could theoretically reach up to 14GB/s of sequential performance.

There’s a LPDDR4 chip for the controller to store mapping tables to improve performance. The specific model is “H9HCNNBKUML XRNEE 307Y” and quick search reveals that it is a 2GB LPDDR4 chip running at 4226Mbps from SK Hynix.

Aside from the controller and memory, the M.2 sports four 3JC2D NY195 3D TLC chips from Micron. There are a few vacant mounts for other chips, presumably for higher capacity versions.

Software

TeamGroup T.Force SSD ToolBox 1

TeamGroup does offer software for its SSDs, but it’s pretty bare. It’s essentially a reskin of CrystalDiskInfo. You can check out SMART information here like temperature, health status, and total host read and writes. You can also run your own performance benchmarks and see the specifications of your PC.

TeamGroup T-Force Z540 1TB Review – Benchmarks

TeamGroup T.Force Z540 1TB Review (1)

We ran the TeamGroup T-Force Z540 1TB through a couple of benchmarks to see if it pumps out the numbers that the brand claims. See the list below for the components used for this review:

Sequential Performance

TeamGroup T Force Z540 1TB Sequential Performance

CrystalDiskMark confirms that the T-Force Z540 can reach its desired speeds for both sequential reads and writes. Taking advantage of the PCIe 5.0 bus, puts it miles ahead even from the fastest PCIe 4.0 storage solutions in the market – an important point to think about if you’re planning to get a shiny new SSD for your rig.

Random 4K Performance

TeamGroup T Force Z540 1TB Random 4K Performance

Its Phison controller does show some of its weakness when it comes to single queue, single thread workloads. While fast for larger workloads, its Random 4K performance could be better. Random 4K reads are just slightly faster from last generation while other drives can match it when it comes to Random 4K writes.

SLC Cache Size

TeamGroup T.Force Z540 1TB SLC Cache

Most SSDs in the market use an SLC Cache to increase performance for burst workloads, and the same is true for the T-Force Z540. According to our testing, the drive has around 116GB of cache that takes advantage of max performance. After it fills up, the drive will then write to its 3D TLC banks that maxes out at around 1,000MB/s. Performance will come back once the controller has time to migrate its data to the 3D TLC.

Temperature

TeamGroup T.Force Z540 Write x Temp v2
Read Rate (Top), Temperature (Bottom)

 

This is one of the shortcomings of the T-Force Z540. Even when the graphene sheet is on, temperatures will max out at 85°C before throttling. The drive will slow down and even stop until it reaches safer thermals.

It seems that it would be better if TeamGroup bundled a cooler with the drive especially if you’re after long and sustained workloads.

TeamGroup T-Force Z540 1TB Review – Conclusion

TeamGroup T.Force Z540 1TB Review (4)

The TeamGroup T-Force Z540 1TB fast components in a fairly competitive package at USD 149. Thanks to its Phison E26 controller and support for PCIe 5.0, it can be a speedy storage solution for those needing quick transfer and read speeds.

One downside, however, is its thermals. It is true that it’s fast reaching more than 9,000MB/s on its sequential write. Once it reaches its thermal limit, performance will be lacking which makes sustained workloads a problem unless you apply an aftermarket cooler.

The TeamGroup T-Force Z540 offers a compelling performance to most gamers and enthusiast with PCIe 5.0-compatible hardware. Though it does have its problems, they can easily be managed with aftermarket solutions. It also doesn’t hurt that TeamGroup is offering a 5-year warranty on the drive. If you’re eager to experience next generation speeds, this might be an option for you.

TeamGroup T-Force Z540 1TB Price and Availability

The TeamGroup T-Force Z540 1TB is priced starting at USD 149. It will come with in two variants: 1TB for USD 149 and USD 249 for 2TB.

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The TeamGroup T-Force Z540 offers a compelling performance to most gamers and enthusiast with PCIe 5.0-compatible hardware. Though it does have its problems, they can easily be managed with aftermarket solutions. It also doesn’t hurt that TeamGroup is offering a 5-year warranty on the drive. If you’re eager to experience next generation speeds, this might be an option for you.TeamGroup T-Force Z540 1TB Review: Next-Generation Speeds