Intel 660p 1TB M.2 SSD NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 Review

Intel 660p 1TB M.2 SSD NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 Review

Buy it at Amazon: Intel 660p 1TB M.2 SSD NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Inexpensive, high-capacity, solid state memory with fast read/write for normal computing applications, though shorter lifespan.

The Intel 660p SSD comes in several different capacities including 1 TB, 2 TB, and 512 GB. The length of this M.2 form factor drive is 80mm with a standard 20mm width and the interface is NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4. Inside the box you’ll find the drive in a plastic shell and a brief multi-language installation manual. The drive has an M-key edge. The drive is quite simple to install. Just make sure you have an empty PCIe M.2 slot in your PC or laptop that can accommodate 80mm length drives with the “M” key connector type and supports NVMe drives. Remove the slot cover screw and lift out the cover plate. If it has a thermal sticker on it, make sure this adheres to the drive. Push the drive into the M.2 slot until it seats fully; it may elevate at a 45 degree angle when installed properly and require the cover plate to apply pressure to lay it flat. Then replace the cover plate and screw.

Installation took about 10 minutes including my laptop housing disassembly, but may be easier or faster on some laptop and desktop systems. After installation, the hard drive was recognized immediately by the BIOS of the laptop, as well as by Windows 10, though it did need to be formatted and the storage space allocated to a primary partition. In several benchmark tests, the sequential read/write speeds were quite good for a budget level M.2 SSD and regularly performed between 1500 and 1800 MB/s, despite this drive using 3D2 QLC quad-level cell (QLC), one of the slowest flash formats. That's because there’s an SLC cache to handle drive writes and boosts its performance. However, because QLC is the least expensive option, it’s also one of the least durable flash configurations, and is only rated to last about 200 cycles, or 200 TB lifetime writes. However, if you’re just using this drive for file storage and aren’t writing or re-writing to it often, then it will likely outlast whatever machine you’re using it on. The drive does come with a 5 year manufacturer warranty, provided you don't go over the lifetime write maximum.

The 660p is best used for common computing activities like web browsing and e-mail. It’s also suitable for workloads that have bursts with idle times in between like spreadsheets light photo and video editing and data storage. For use cases outside of these activities or once the drive reaches 75% full of its capacity, the write performance may fall below 100 MB/s as we see with the final 4K benchmark test. This drive also supports AES 256-bit hardware encryption, though I wasn't able to get my laptop BIOS to set a password on it; this however, may be due to a compatibility issue with my motherboard for that feature.

Overall, for productivity and data storage, the drive works well and is fast, compared to SATA SSDs. It has a decent lifetime when used as intended and was super quick and simple to install. Best of all it has one of the lowest dollar/GB ratios for SSDs on the market today.

Buy it at Amazon: Intel 660p 1TB M.2 SSD NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 [Affiliate Link]

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