Conclusion, Pricing, and Final Thoughts

Conclusion

PROS

  • Highly competitive cost/GB (see below).
  • Outstanding random performance for a mainstream/budget SSD.
  • Generous dynamic SLC cache.
  • 5-year warranty (high for a budget product).

CONS

  • Heavy sustained workloads may saturate the cache and result in low QLC write speeds.

Pricing, Endurance, and Warranty (MSRP)

  • 512GB – $100   ($0.20/GB) 100TBW
  • 1TB     – $200   ($0.20/GB) 200TBW
  • 2TB     – $400   ($0.20/GB) 200TBW

The Intel SSD 660p ships with a 5-year warranty, so they are clearly confident in the longevity of their QLC implementation. Endurance figures are lower than what we've seen for TLC parts, but 100TBW on a 512GB part comes to over 50GB per day, every day (including weekends), for five years. Considering a full Windows + Office + driver reinstall results in less than 25GB of writes, that should not be an issue. Professional/power users requiring higher write endurance should opt for the 1TB model (>100GB/day) or look into the 760p or other TLC / MLC products, but 100-200TBW is just fine for the vast majority of users/gamers out there.

Final Thoughts

Intel has planted the QLC flag and has shown it to be good enough to displace TLC for most typical PC users. While QLC writes are slower than prior methods, the impact is effectively mitigated by the use of a large dynamic SLC cache. The SM2263 is showing itself to be a formidable SSD controller, especially after being tuned by Intel to function optimally with their new media. While endurance figures are slightly lower than we are used to seeing, they are still well above a comfortable margin for typical client usage scenarios. The major wins here come in the form of a 5-year warranty and an extremely competitive cost/GB. In short, the Intel SSD 660p is a solid SSD at a cost that significantly undercuts the competition.

NVMe performance at a cost/GB lower than most SATA SSDs. What's not to love?

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