Intel 600p M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review (Page 1)

Intel 600p M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review

Intel goes after the value segment with its 600p M.2 NVMe SSD. Just because something is cheap and has a brand name, doesn't mean you should buy it.

| Nov 28, 2016 at 6:16 pm CST
Rating: 70%Manufacturer: Intel



Intel designed their 600p series SSDs to introduce a value segment into the consumer NVMe market. At this time, Intel's 600p is one of only two TLC-based consumer NVMe SSDs on the market. Intel's 600p series was first on the scene, and now Samsung has injected their 960 EVO into the market. Both SSDs utilize 3D TLC NAND flash arrays. TLC (3-bit) NAND flash inherently lowers the cost per bit of storage to the consumer. 3D TLC lowers it even further. TLC NAND flash is inherently cheaper, but it is at the same time inherently lower performing than 2-bit (MLC) flash.

Intel's 600p is selling like hot cakes because it is the cheapest consumer NVMe SSD on the market. Value-oriented users are willing to settle for decent sequential read performance and SATA-like sequential write performance to jump on the NVMe train. Intel didn't design their own NVMe controller for the 600p - instead, they collaborated with Silicon Motion. The 600p pairs SMI's 8-channel Gen3 x 4 SM2260 controller with Intel's own IMFT 3D 384Gbit flash. Intel utilizes their own custom firmware in conjunction with the SMI controller. Intel backs the 600p with an industry best five-year limited warranty.

Intel's 600p is a single-sided design. A 2280 single-sided design is most desirable because it will fit into just about any laptop on the market with an M.2 PCIe slot. Additionally, a single-sided design is easier to cool which allows system designers more flexibility for thinner and lighter systems or more space for other components.

As with all current TLC-based SSDs on the market today, the 600p employs a dedicated part of the drive's flash array for caching. This caching area is programmed to operate in SLC mode to help boost burst performance. As long as what you are doing fits within the cache layer, the drive will operate at advertised speeds. If the cache area is exceeded, then lower than advertised performance will be induced.

Currently, Intel does not offer a dedicated NVMe driver for their 600p series. The 600p runs on the in-box Windows NVMe driver. This is good for ease of installation, but bad for overall performance. As we've seen from numerous NVMe drives, a proprietary driver can boost overall performance significantly. On the software front, Intel's Solid-State Drive Toolbox now fully supports the 600p. With the revamped version of Intel's award winning SSD software, you can clone, update firmware, TRIM, and monitor the health of your 600p.

Intel's 600p is driving the cost of consumer NVMe SSDs down, and that's good news for consumers; however, is price alone enough to earn Intel's 600p a TweakTown recommendation? Let's take a close look.


Intel 600p M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review 02 |

Intel's 600p M.2 x 2280 NVMe SSD is available in four capacities: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB.

  • Sequential Read: up to 1,800 MB/s
  • Sequential Write: up to 560 MB/s
  • Max 4K Random Read Speed: up to 155,000 IOPS
  • Max 4K Random Write Speed: up to 128,000 IOPS
  • Endurance: 72-576 TBW
  • MTTF: 1.6 Million Hours
  • Warranty: 5-Year Limited Warranty
  • Active Power Consumption: 100mW Typical
  • DevSlp: 5mW
  • Data Security: AES 256-bit self-encryption
  • TRIM
  • Garbage Collection
  • Software: Intel SSD Toolbox

At time of writing, these are the lowest prices listed at Intel's product center: 128GB = $104.99, 256GB = $115.55, 512GB = $139.99, and 1TB = $269.99

The pricing of the 512GB and 1TB models are considerably lower than at launch. In fact, they are priced similarly to SATA SSDs at similar capacity points.

We believe this massive price cut is Intel's response to Samsung's 960 EVO and MDD's BPX value oriented NVMe SSDs hitting the market. This is an appropriate response because both the EVO and BPX are far better performing SSDs.

Last updated: Nov 15, 2019 at 01:16 pm CST

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Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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