Intel SSD 660p 1TB Review: QLC Goes Mainstream

Conclusion

Although Intel based the SSD 660p on inherently slower and lower-endurance QLC flash, the company managed to squeeze out very respectable performance and decent endurance.

In our testing, the 660p smashed through the benchmarks and kept pace with some of the fastest SSDs we have tested to date, largely due to the intelligent dynamic SLC caching feature. The 660p's 1.9 GB/s of throughput surpassed its sequential read performance spec of 1.8 GB/s. The 1TB 660p delivered 160,000 random read IOPS and 240,000 random write IOPS, which also exceeds the specifications.

The Intel SSD 660p provided solid performance during our real-world application test and delivered a user experience that thoroughly outperformed its predecessor and matched or beat the WD Black. It also proved to be one of the most power efficient SSDs in our test pool, which is an important factor to consider for mobile use.

Intel released the original 600p back in 2016 for nearly twice the price-per-GB as the 660p is today, but the drive was barely faster than the much cheaper SATA-based competition. The 660p changes that.

Intel's 660p is just $0.20-per-GB. That value is hard to ignore when the drive is the same price, if not cheaper, than the SATA-based competition. The 600p has half to one-third of the endurance of some competing drives, so its low price point does come at the cost of endurance. In reality, most consumers don’t need that much endurance if their average use case involves mostly office applications, web browsing, and content streaming. For heavier workloads, like frequent large file transfers or productivity applications, it is best to select an SSD with more endurance, like the NVMe Adata XPG SX8200 or the SATA Crucial MX500.

The 660p's included SSD Toolbox and five-year warranty are icing on the cake. The inclusion of 256-bit AES hardware encryption with Pyrite 1.0 and 2.0 support enables fast performance and tough security for the mobile market, and the thin single-sided M.2 2280 profile assures broad compatibility with laptops.

The 660p is a refined and welcome update to Intel's SSD 6 series. The 660p proves that Intel’s QLC NAND is ready for the mainstream and easily earns our top value recommendation for the low-endurance/budget segment. If you haven’t upgraded to an SSD yet and your workloads tend to be mundane, Intel’s SSD 660p is a good fit.

MORE: Best SSDs

MORE: How We Test HDDs And SSDs

MORE: All SSD Content