For the most part, solid state drive pricing has continued to trend downward, so it was a bit surprising to see Intel's SSD 670p series for "mainstream gaming" come out of the gate on Monday with unusually high MSRPs for what they are—SSDs based on quad-level cell (QLC) NAND flash memory. They have already received a price cut, though, and here's hoping it is a permanent one.
You typically find QLC memory in less expensive SSDs. Cramming four bits per cell paves the way for larger capacity drives at lower price points, albeit at the expense of durability, and in some instances, performance. Intel's new drive partially addresses some of the shortcomings.
The SSD 670p series is based on Intel's latest QLC technology, employing 144-layer 3D NAND chips featuring 128 gigabytes per die with a bolstered controller (Silicon Motion SM2265). As such, Intel pitches up to twice the sequential read performance, 38 percent faster random read performance, and up to 50 percent better latency compared to the 660p. Not too shabby.
Just as importantly (if not more so), Intel's 144-layer QLC memory significantly increases write endurance—to the tune of 23 percent compared to the 665p, and 85 percent compared to the 660p. That amounts to 740 TBW (terabytes written) for the 2TB model, 370 TBW for the 1TB drive, and 185 TBW for the 512GB offering, each backed by a five-year warranty.
Save for the initial "crazing pricing," our friends at Anandtech were generally impressed with the 2TB SSD 670p drive they reviewed.
"During ordinary consumer use and even some fairly heavy workloads, there won't be any of the performance problems that used to be a dead giveaway that a drive was using QLC NAND. The corner cases where performance plummets still exist, but they are getting harder to trigger with each generation," Anandtech wrote.
The caveat was pricing, though fortunately it's already been slashed across the board. Here's how it looks right now at Newegg, the only place that is selling these SSDs at the moment:
- 2TB Intel 670p SSD:
$330$250 ($0.125 per gigabyte)
- 1TB Intel 670p SSD:
$155$130 ($0.13 per gigabyte)
- 512GB Intel 670p SSD:
$90$70 ($0.137 per gigabyte)
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In just a couple of days, they have plummeted in price by up to 24 percent, to around $0.13 per gigabyte. Pricing is now closer in line with the competition. For example, a 1TB Addlink S70 SSD, which we rank as the best SSD for gaming, sells for $128.
Rated performance is fairly close, too. Intel's drives are rated to deliver up to 3,500MB/s of sequential read performance and up to 2,700MB/s of sequential write performance. Meanwhile the S70 is rated to hit sequential reads and writes of up to 3,400MB/s and 3,000MB/s, respectively.
The SSD 670p series still finds itself wrestling against tough competition. WD's Black SN750 in 1TB form is a little bit faster and costs the same, and is what I'd lean towards in this price range. Still, the SSD 670p looks to be at least worth keeping on your list of potential drive candidates when shopping for an SSD, given that pricing often fluctuates with storage.