660p-series-qlc-with-box-16x9.The Intel 660p M.2 SSD replace the earlier 600 series SSD. MSRP are $99 for 512GB, $199 for 1TB and $399 for 2TB.

  • M.2 2280 form factor
  • 512MB, 1024MB, 2048MB
  • PCI Express 3.0 x4
  • 64-layer QLC logic design
  • SMI controller
  • 1800 MB/s read/write
  • Random 4KB Reads: Up to 220,000 IOPS, Random 4KB Writes: Up to 220,00 IOPS
  • 100 TBW endurance per 512 GB
  • over 1.6 million hour MTBF
  • end to end data protection
  • Active: 100mW, Idle: 40mW
  • 5 year warranty

Intel has a foundation in innovation leadership, our complete product life cycle support that extends from ecosystem enabling to design-in to post-sales support, and the quality of our supply chain.

Our foundation results in drives with robust and lasting data integrity, reliably effective performance, and increased platform confidence through our unique position as a platform provider. Intel knows workloads, and we architect our products to excel in real world use.

The SSD 660p hits the marks that matter for client SSDs. This drive is tuned to deliver a capacity optimized NVMe performance and deliver an intelligent storage option for mainstream and entry-level computing. Intel has much experience with corporate  hardware so this SSD will not be a problem as it is designed for a very heavy workload that is well above consumer needs.

Paired to the NAND chips is a DRAM cache chip and a native NVMe PCI Express controller built by Silicon Motion (SMI), with input from Intel.  Using an on-board SLC NAND cache, the 660p is quoted to deliver sequential read/write of 1800/1800 MB/s. Random read/write 4K IOPS are also balanced at 220k/220k.

The SMI controller has some firmware developed by Intel which is intended to take advantage of the mix of SLC and QLC to handle read and write to the cells. The SLC cache is designed to make writes faster and solves the problem of slow QLC writes. The amount of SLC cache that is available for use depends on the used capacity of the drive. So, the more data that you have on the drive lowers the amount of QLC NAND Flash that is available and therefore you have a smaller SLC span to access.

The Intel 660p manage to offer about 19 to 20 cents per GB based on MSRP. This makes the 660p very cost effective. The premium over hard disks has narrowed considerably with the new QLC designs.

The new QLC offers double the capacity over TLC products while making them even cheaper to manufacture. The QLC has manage to revolutionize the SSD with lower prices and a big bump in capacity. The speed of QLC however is a bit slower as the controller has more work to do.

Using the 512 GB model as a reference, it is rated for around 100 TB of write endurance (lower endurance). If you are using this drive for five years every day for around 1,800 days (since the included warranty is five years), you will need to write 50 GB every day for 1,800 days (5-year span) to kill the drive in 5 years. Testing of SSD drives show many could tolerate even more TB written than manufactures claim so do not worry about the durability of the 660p series.

The PCI Express 3.0 x4 lanes can reach 4GB/s which few devices can saturate. The Intel 750 SSD drives are faster but they are not as affordable. The Samsung 970 SSD prices are insane but they are fast for corporate workloads.

While competitive SSD products may be faster, the Intel 660p is designed for peace of mind. Intel has a lot of experience with SSD products so their consumer hardware will not disappoint. For consumer uses the 660p will be surprisingly good.

As with other SSD products, leaving 20% or more free space makes the SSD much more durable. This is an artifact of the technology generally. The more free space the better. This way the rewriting can be spread around more evenly more quickly and effectively.

At the end of the day the Intel 660p is not a super fast SSD but it does deliver a product that is aimed more at users transitioning from hard disks to flash storage. QLC SSD are not designed for performance, they are designed to give GB for less. For a consumer the low cost of the Intel 660p is affordable and the product does deliver better results than hard disks.

Word of warning – it does not include the necessary mounting screw, so unless you’re replacing an existing drive, you’ll need to run to your local hardware store for a CM2x3-3.3 screw to mount it.