Multiple computer hardware online retailers from Europe have started to list Intel's upcoming 660p M.2 NVMe SSD online with an attractive price tag that will make everyone's eyes light up.
The Intel 660p is the chipmaker's first QLC (quad-level cell) NAND-based consumer SSD built with 64-layer 3D memory. The SSD abides by the standard M.2 2280 form factor and utilizes a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. According to a leak from earlier this year, the Intel 660p features sequential read speed of up to 1,800 megabytes per second (MB/s) and sequential write speed of up to 1,200 MB/s. The drive delivers up to 150,000 IOPS in terms of random access read and write performance.
In contrast to conventional TLC (triple-level cell) NAND that's limited to 3 bits per cell, QLC NAND is capable of storing up to 4 bits per cell and thus increases the data density of a single chip. Therefore, SSD manufacturers are able to deliver the same capacity with fewer chips, which, in the end, helps to reduce pricing on the final product. As a matter of fact, the Intel 660p will only be available in 512GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities.
Geizhals, an Austrian online price comparison platform, revealed that the Intel 660p 512GB costs €112.90 ($131.11), while the larger 1TB and 2TB models go for €218.90 ($254.17) and €431.90 ($501.48), respectively. If we do some simple mathematics and divide the price by the capacity, it comes down to $0.25 per a gigabyte, which puts it right in the price range of a typical SATA SSD.
Intel hasn't announced the availability of the Intel 660p. Online speculation suggests the SSDs should launch in the second half of this year. PC-Canada expects to have them in stock by August 25. This year's installment of The Flash Memory Summit will take place on August 7. We'll be at the show, and it's possible that Intel could take the opportunity to officially present its 660p SSD lineup at the event (if so, we'll let you know).
Let's not forget that Toshiba and Western Digital are also participating in the QLC race. Needless to say, 2018 will be a very interesting year for SSD storage.