The Intel Series 660p M.2 80mm PCIe 3.0 x4 is an affordable way to get started with NVMe drives. Are they worth you’re hard-earned though?
At the time of writing this, New Egg has the 1TB version listed as the lowest priced solid-state drive of any kind, at the 1TB size. It is on sale, however, at the moment. So not sure how much that list will change in the coming days or months. There isn’t a great deal of difference price-wise these days, however, between a standard SSD and NVMe. It’s a great time to be in the market for fast storage that won’t break the bank.
Intel leverages QLC technology to enable high capacity at an affordable price. QLC technology allows for 4 bits per cell, allowing for high-capacity at the cost of endurance. However, the Intel Series 660p M.2 80mm PCIe 3.0 x4 1TB drive I tested comes with a 5-year warranty. So endurance shouldn’t be a huge factor unless your workflow demands large amounts of writes. If that is the case, you may want to look at something more suited to that task. These drives are better suited for use in the average office setting, web surfing, or gaming rig.
This next part is only intended to show how much writes I have done over the last five years.
The image below shows I have used my old Samsung 840 Evo a lot over the last 5 years as my main boot drive. Using my main PC for work and play, has still only racked up 35105GB of writes.
As you can see in the image above, 35105GB of writes, and it’s been powered on for a total of 27734 hours. You can also see that its no longer my main boot drive as I have just replaced it with the Intel Series 660p. So using the past five years as an indicator of how much writes I do with my main boot drive. I feel pretty confident I will get at least 5 years out of my new drive. Barring any abnormal malfunctions of course which could happen to any drive. Intel’s 5-year warranty should cover any of those issues.
|Capacity (User / Raw)||512GB / 512GB||1024GB / 1024GB||2048GB / 2048GB|
|Form Factor||M.2 2280 (single-sided)||M.2 2280 (single-sided)||M.2 2280 (single-sided)|
|Interface / Protocol||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3|
|Controller||SMI 2263||SMI 2263||SMI 2263|
|DRAM||NANYA DDR3L||NANYA DDR3L||NANYA DDR3L|
|Memory||IMFT 64L 3D QLC||IMFT 64L 3D QLC||IMFT 64L 3D QLC|
|Sequential Read||1,500 MB/s||1,800 MB/s||1,800 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||1,000 MB/s||1,800 MB/s||1,800 MB/s|
|Random Read||90,000 IOPS||150,000 IOPS||220,000 IOPS|
|Random Write||220,000 IOPS||220,000 IOPS||220,000 IOPS|
|Endurance||100 TBW||200 TBW||400 TBW|
The Intel Series 660p M.2 80mm PCIe 3.0 x4 1TB version I tested was about 3x faster than my old Samsung 840 Evo. A 1TB version of my old drive is about $100.00CAD more at 1/3 the speed, making the Intel Series 660p a clear winner there, as far as capacity/value is concerned. My Samsung 840 Evo is 5 years old, however, and still going strong.
There are faster M.2 drives on the market, such as the Samsung 970 Evo M.2 (sequential read/write speeds of 3,500/2,500 MB/s2). It uses MLC ( 3 bits per cell), making it both faster and more durable than the
Intel Series 660p M.2 80mm PCIe. The faster speeds and extra durability come at a premium, however, as it is also $160.00 more than Intel’s offering.
Speed Test: Crystal Disk Mark x64
From my testing, Intel’s advertised speeds are pretty accurate. You can see the benchmark results I did while reviewing the 660p in the photo above. They are within the margin of error of what Intel advertises.
The 660p has 2 types of cache that help improve performance. The first is a static SLC cache that is 6GB, 12GB, or 24GB, depending on the capacity of the SSD.
First, the SLC static cache is as stated, it never changes and is dependent on the size of the drive you purchased. The second cache, however, is a larger SLC dynamic cache pool. It changes in size depending on how much of the drive is available. So it shrinks as you fill-up the drive but can also expand in size if you remove files making more room for it to do so.
Final Thoughts On Intel Series 660p M.2
My review sample performed as advertised. Intel has these drives aggressively priced as the most affordable SSD on the market.
If you’re looking for a high capacity, fast storage solution that won’t break the bank. The Intel Series 660p M.2 80mm PCIe 3.0 x4 with up to 2TB of storage and read/write speeds up to 1,800 MB/s are worth a look.
Looking for an operating system for your new M.2 drive? Check out my review of Pop!_OS from system 76.