Intel 600p 1TB NVMe SSD Review

At launch, the Intel 600p was a controversial SSD. The largest model alleviates endurance concerns and delivers the highest performance in the series. The 600p 1TB SSD sells for hundreds less than other 1TB NVMe products, and that makes it very attractive for gamers that require high capacities to accommodate large game libraries.

There isn't a shortage of low-cost NVMe solutions--you can get a taste of NVMe performance for as low as $75. The companies churning out products reads like a who's who of the storage industry, and new products seem to surface every few weeks. Unfortunately, there aren't many high-capacity NVMe SSDs on the menu. Low-cost high-capacity NVMe SSDs are rare as companies struggle to balance a NAND shortage with the limited space available on the M.2 form factor. At the time of writing, the Intel 600p is the only sub-$400 1TB NVMe SSD on the market.

This isn't the first time we've tested the 600p series. When the 600p came to market, our initial review was derailed with misleading product specification data and outdated end-of-life behavior. The worst part? We had confirmation to all the above--even though it was wrong. Over time, we peeled back the 600p's layers to get to the facts. We learned that the first entry-level NVMe SSD is a tantalizing upgrade option if you have the other pieces in place to run the next generation NVMe storage protocol. However, we should have realistic performance expectations. The saying "you get what you pay for" applies to the 600p. The low-priced model offers weak NVMe performance but sells at a SATA price point. The two high capacity models blow well past the limits of SATA but cost only slightly more than a high-performance SATA SSD.

Technical Specifications

Intel released the SSD 600p series in four capacities, but we are focusing on the 1TB model. We've already tested the 256GB and 512GB options and provided a few updates after the initial review.

The 600p ships with the M.2 2280 (22mmx80mm) form factor. Intel managed to pack all of the surface mount components on one side. That doesn't mean much for most of us, but it means quite a bit if you have a notebook that requires a single-sided M.2 SSD.

The 600p 1TB delivers the highest performance and endurance of the series and delivers up to 1,800/560 MB/s of sequential read/write performance. Random performance peaks at 155,000/128,000 read/write IOPS. The 600p's performance sits on the lower end of the scale compared to other 1TB NVMe products, but we shouldn't compare it to high-performance NVMe SSDs.

The Samsung 850 Pro and SanDisk Extreme PRO are the two fastest SATA SSDs ever made. At one time, you could find these drives for as low as $225. Those days are long gone. The supply of high-performance MLC NAND has largely disappeared. You may be surprised to learn that the Samsung 850 Pro 1TB now retails for $465 and the SanDisk Extreme PRO sells for an astounding $649! I don't see those prices coming down anytime soon. SATA isn't at the end of its life for the industry, but for enthusiasts, it's already in the ground as a boot drive. The Intel 600p is one of the products that put it there.

The 600p 1TB uses an odd controller alignment. The Silicon Motion, Inc. SM2260 is a dual-core eight-channel controller, but due to IMFT's odd 384Gbit NAND density, Intel was only able to utilize six of the eight available channels.

Pricing And Accessories

The Intel 600p 1TB currently sells for $349.99 online, which is half the price of some high-performance 1TB-class NVMe SSDs. Other 1TB products fill the gap between $350 and $700, but the 600p is the cheapest NVMe option available.

Intel provides a number of free software management tools, such as the SSD Toolbox and Data Migration Tool.

Warranty And Endurance

The Intel 600p 1TB ships with a five-year warranty limited by the amount of data you write to the drive. Endurance numbers vary by the type of data written, but JEDEC has developed methods and tools that define the industry standard. The 600p 1TB features a 576 TBW rating. The 600p transitions into a read-only state when the SSD exhausts the spare area, which we covered in this article.

Packaging

Intel doesn't print much information about the product on the package. The information doesn't give retail shoppers a reason to choose the 600p over other products. Inside the package, we found the drive, a cardboard filler that keeps it in place, and a paper manual.

A Closer Look

The Intel 600p 1TB employs an odd configuration that confines components to one side of the PCB. The six-channel controller addresses three NAND packages that house the Intel 384Gbit TLC NAND die.

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