Intel SSD 660p brings QLC and NVMe to the masses

Samsung announced yesterday that it's mass-producing QLC SATA SSDs for consumers, but Intel has beaten the NAND giant to the punch with a QLC drive of its own. The SSD 660p launching today offers SATA-like prices for NVMe gumsticks in 512-GB, 1-TB, and 2-TB capacities.

Intel SSD 660p
Capacity Price Max sequential (MB/s) Max random (IOPS)
Read Write Read Write
512 GB $99 up to 1800 MB/s up to 220K IOPS
1 TB $199

According to Anandtech's report on the drive, the SSD 660p uses Intel's 64-layer, 1-Tb 3D QLC NAND to achieve its high densities at relatively low prices per gigabyte for NVMe storage. The uniform performance specifications in the table above come from the fact that the SSD 660p uses a massive pseudo-SLC caching scheme in tandem with 256 MB of DRAM to hide the native performance of the underlying NAND.

The 512 GB drive can use anywhere from 6 GB to 76 GB of its capacity for caching; the 1-TB drive, 12 GB–140 GB; and the 2-TB drive, 24 GB–280 GB. The effectiveness of the SLC caching mechanism will apparently decrease as the drive fills.

Intel warrants the SSD 660p for five years. The 512-GB drive is specced to endure 0.1 DWPD or 100 TB of writes. The 1-TB drive can stand up to 200 TB of writes over its lifetime. Finally, Intel rates the 2-TB drive for 400 TB of writes.

At about 20¢ per gigabyte, these drives are priced competitively with comparable SATA products and will likely get cheaper as the discount winds blow. That's good news for consumers who want a little PCIe in their SSDs. Newegg already has the 512-GB 660p in stock, so expect the rest of these drives to hit retail and e-tail shelves soon.

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