Intel quietly changed the endurance rating for three of the four 600p SSDs over the weekend. The first entry-level NVMe SSDs to come to market now share similar endurance ratings with other products shipping from other manufacturers.
|600p 128GB||600p 256GB||600p 512GB||600p 1TB|
|Old Endurance (TBW)||72 TB||72 TB||72 TB||72 TB|
|New Endurance (TBW)||72 TB||144 TB||288 TB||576 TB|
In our detailed review of the 600p, we outlined two potential problems with the series. The low sustained write performance and the endurance rating both stood out as negative aspects of the SSD. Upon release, all 600p NVMe SSDs shipped with a blanket 72TBW (Terabytes Written) rating with every capacity. SSD endurance usually scales with capacity, so larger SSDs will come with more endurance than their smaller counterparts, but the 600p bucked the well-established trend. We also followed up with further information in a detailed article covering the issue.
Most modern consumer SSDs deliver more than 500TBW of endurance at 1TB of capacity, so Intel's 72TBW rating definitely stood out from the crowd. Intel originally published the endurance rating in the ARK pages on its website instead of in the normal product documentation. We shone a light on the low endurance rating in our review to warn shoppers. The SMI 8-channel SM2260 controller dictates performance, and Intel is locked in with that part for this series, but we expected more endurance from the IMFT (Intel/Micron) 3D NAND. We opined that Intel might have used the original endurance rating to limit its exposure to warranty claims (to reduce cost) or to ensure that data centers don’t use consumer SSDs in enterprise applications.
Intel could, and finally did, do something about the endurance. We noticed the change, which came without a formal announcement, and reached out to Intel for clarification. We heard back from David Lundell, Director, Client SSD Strategic Planning and Product Marketing at Intel:
“Based on continued evaluation and review of the 600p, Intel has updated the write endurance specification to better reflect the endurance of the product at each of the capacity points. The initial specification was a conservative figure and with further testing we were able to prove we can increase the endurance limit on higher capacities.”
The new rating should be good news for shoppers and those who have already purchased the 600p. The product now enjoys entry-level status based on price and performance alone, and the endurance is on par with competing models.
Since our review, we've started an endurance test on the 600p 256GB. The drive just cleared 30TB of data written to the flash. At the current pace, we project the MWI (Media Wearout Indicator) meter (which is the only true measure of SSD endurance) should reach 1% around 100TB written. We suspect the upcoming Intel SSD Toolbox will come with a firmware update that will adjust the MWI counter ratio to reflect the enhanced endurance profile.
The new endurance rating and good-enough performance, in tandem with the excellent price point, goes a long way to solidifying the Intel 600p's position at the front of the value-NVMe class.