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NVMe? Well, quite. Now Intel, too, is pumping out consumer QLC SSDs

Chipzilla has a few flash drives for the data centre as well

Intel has launched two QLC (4bits/cell) SSDs – one for consumers and one for data centre use.

Intel's Navin Shenoy

Intel: Yeah, yeah, 10nm. It's on the todo list. Now, let's talk about AI...


This follows Samsung's recent announcement of a QLC SSD for the consumer market. Intel, as you'd expect, has noted that these QLC SSDs have the capacity to replace hard drives. Both are built using 1,024Gb 64-layer 3D NAND.

The SSD 660p is a single-sided M.2 format consumer drive following on from the 600p with 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities. The 600p topped out at 1TB. The 660p employs an SLC write cache and has 256MB of DRAM on board. The "up to" performance boost over the 600p reflects this:

  Random Read IOPS Random Write IOPS Sequential Read MB/s Sequential Write MB/s
SSD 660p 220,000 220,000 1,800 1,800
SSD 600p 155,000 128,000 1,800 560

The read and write symmetries are starkly different from the 600p's skewing towards read optimisation.


Intel SSD 660p

It has a PCIe 3.0 x4 and NVMe v1.3. interface, a 0.1 drive writes per day (DWPD) rating and a five-year warranty.

The D5-P4320 holds 7.68TB and is a heavily read-optimised drive in 2.5-inch format with the same PCIe 3.0 x4 and NVMe interface. The performance numbers show bias towards reads:

  Random Read IOPS Random Write IOPS Sequential Read MB/s Sequential Write MB/s
D5-P4320 427,000 36,000 3,200 1,000

That reflects the limited write cycles typical of QLC flash, which the 660p avoids from a performance point of view with its SLC flash cache.

The P4320's endurance is given as 0.9 DWPD for sequential writes and a lower 0.2 DWPD for random writes. It has a five-year warranty and the average read latency is 138 µs.

Micron, with whom Intel shares a flash foundry, introduced its 5210 ION QLC data centre SSD in May, with a 6Gbit/s SATA interface. Its performance is vastly slower than the P4320's:

  • Random reads up to 75,000 IOPS
  • Random writes up to 10,000 IOPS
  • Sequential reads 500 to 540MB/sec
  • Sequential writes 300 to 340MB/sec

It appears Micron and Intel are avoiding occupancy of the same SSD market sectors.

The price for a 1TB 660p is $199.99 and it's $99.99 for a 512GB model on Newegg. ®

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