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Intel SSD 660p: 512GB Of NVMe Storage For $99 USD
If you have held off on switching over to NVMe solid-state storage due to the associated costs, times are certainly changing. This week Intel introduced their 660p SSD series that yields 512GB of NVMe storage for $99 USD or 1TB for $200 USD.
The Intel 660p series achieves this significantly lower price-point for consumers in large part due to its use of QLC NAND memory or quad-level cell where there are four bits per cell. QLC NAND is significantly cheaper than TLC NAND and while that will still be in use for high-end solid-state drives, QLC NAND allows Intel to introduce this entry-level NVMe storage solution. Even with QLC NAND, the Intel 660p series still should perform much faster than SATA 3.0 SSDs and older NVMe drives.
The Intel SSD 660p series makes use of a Silicon Motion SM2263 controller, the drives are sized at M.2 2280 and single-sided, support NVMe 1.3, 256MB of DDR3 DRAM, and Intel backs these drives with an impressive five-year warranty. Not a bad offering at all with the 512GB version (the lowest capacity 660p model) costing just $99 USD or the 1TB version at $199. Intel will also soon be launching a 2TB version of the 660p.
Intel rates the 660p line-up as capable of delivering sequential reads and writes up to 1800MB/s and random reads/writes up to 220k IOPS across all the 660p capacities (with SLC write caching).
Curious about the Linux performance out of these new entry-level Intel 660p NVMe SSDs, I purchased the 512GB model (SSDPEKNW512G8) on launch-day and indeed was able to get it in-stock and for the suggested retail price of $99 USD from NewEgg.com. Given I've just had a few days so far with this drive, in this article are just the initial performance benchmarks. Linux compatibility with NVMe SSDs obviously isn't a problem assuming you are on any semi-recent Linux kernel release. Obviously the newer the kernel the better, especially with file-system advancements too. For my initial benchmarking it was done from an Ubuntu 18.04 LTS installation with the Linux 4.17 kernel and using an EXT4 file-system across all of the tested drives.
Tested drives for this comparison included a mix of M.2 NVMe SSDs, SATA 3.0 SSDs, and also a few SATA 3.0 HDDs for reference:
- ADATA SU700 120GB
- Corsair Force MP500 120GB
- Crucial CT525MX3 525GB
- Intel 530 120GB SSDSC2BW12
- Intel 600p 256GB SSDPEKKW256G7
- Intel 660p 512GB SSDPEKNW512G8
- Intel 760p 256GB SSDPEKKW256G8
- Intel 800p 120GB SSDPEK1W120GA
- Intel 900p 280GB SSDPE21D280GA
- Kingston SV300S3 120GB
- OCZ Vector 150 120GB
- Samsung 850 PRO 256GB
- Samsung 950 PRO 256GB
- Samsung 960 EVO 500GB
- Samsung 970 EVO 250GB
- Samsung 970 EVO 500GB
- Seagate ST2000DM006-2DM1 2TB
- Toshiba RC100 240GB
- Toshiba RD400 256GB
- Toshiba TR150 120GB
- WD Blue WD5000AAKX-0 500GB
- WD Green WD5000AZRX-0 500GB
- WD VelociRaptor WD1500HLHX-0 150GB
Via the Phoronix Test Suite a wide range of storage benchmarks were carried out across all of these drives on Ubuntu Linux from the Core i9 7980XE test system.