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Intel Quietly Increases The 600p SSD Series Endurance Ratings

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 128GB600p 256GB600p 512GB600p 1TB
Old Endurance (TBW)72 TB72 TB72 TB72 TB
New Endurance (TBW)72 TB144 TB288 TB576 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.

  • captaincharisma
    hopefully next they will take the death timer off there value SSD drives
    Reply
  • jtd871
    I think you mean MWI (Media Wear Indicator) instead of WMI in the next-to-last paragraph. It is my understanding also that MWI is an Intel-specific SMART attribute.
    Reply
  • synphul
    I'm sure the new numbers are more in line with what we've come to expect but the statement seems a little odd. Makes sense, if you get x amount of write endurance from a given number of chips that it will increase as the amount of nand increases.

    "With further testing" seems like a load of bull lol. More like someone said yep, our numbers for 128gb were accurate. Ok, multiply it accordingly.

    I'm sure they knew ahead of time the write endurance for the 128gb or they wouldn't have just grabbed a number out of a hat. They just simply equated 72tbw = 128gb and every time capacity doubled so did tbw. Doesn't come off as 'further testing' but rather a quick stab with a calculator.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    18688417 said:
    It is my understanding also that MWI is an Intel-specific SMART attribute.
    Media Wear Indicator shows up as SMART register #230 on my SanDisk SSD and currently reports 5.26%.
    Reply
  • PaulAlcorn
    18688417 said:
    I think you mean MWI (Media Wear Indicator) instead of WMI in the next-to-last paragraph. It is my understanding also that MWI is an Intel-specific SMART attribute.

    Good eye, typo fixed. There are MWI-equivalents, such as the wear leveling count, that you can use to calculate wear on other SSDs.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    Patlmmm,
    I didn't follow most of what you said, but the "what does it matter?" point is that TBW related to WARRANTY.
    Reply
  • Uniblab
    ...nice to know that you go beyond "just enough information" to get an article out by testing products even though a review is posted. Please, since you have the 600p in the labs, let us know how it performed. Maybe even as the drive passes various milestones.

    I still like what samsung is doing with their ssd's better. Intel though, will always have a place in consideration - especially at a discount.
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    I'm working on an update for the review.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    18690024 said:
    I still like what samsung is doing with their ssd's better. Intel though, will always have a place in consideration - especially at a discount.
    Intel has multiple price points and reliability/performance levels.

    The main reason I've bought Intel drives is the reliability features found in their 500-series and data center products. Crucial is the only brand in whose consumer drives I've found comparable features.

    Samsung offers great performance, but their reliability has traditionally been a step down (just going by product reviews on Amazon and Newegg, every time I've bought SSDs).
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    “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.”

    You got caught trying to screw buyers of higher capacity models. Now you are backpedaling. It'll take many years until I trust an Intel SSD product again. Whomever thought this up should be fired along with any higher level executive who approved it.
    Reply