How SSD Technology Keeps Getting WORSE! – Intel 660p Review


as SSDs or solid-state drives have evolved some of the components have become much more sophisticated like the controllers on board that have gone from rudimentary single-core Affairs to multi-core processors with huge amounts of RAM and complex algorithms built into their firmware but the foundation of nearly every SSD the NAND flash memory that actually stores your data has actually gotten progressively worse in some big ways we went from high speed and super reliable SLC flash which stores only a single one or zero to each cell to dual er mlc to Triple A or TLC two finally today this is the Intel 660 P the first consumer SSD with qlc flash which is notable for its ability to store four bits per cell that means 16 separate voltage levels this gives it fantastic affordability especially for an nvme SSD but my mama always told me if it seems too good to be true it probably is so let’s take a look at the pros and cons [Music] for today only you can pick up PC building simulator on chrono GG for $15 us so check it and all of chrono GG’s games out at the link in the video description let’s start with the bad stuff first up is that QL cement has lower endurance than PLC which means that all other things being equal it doesn’t last for as long why well I’m glad you asked because it’s science time with pictures this is really important every time a cell gets written to a voltage pulse is sent through the control gate which creates an electric field which agitates the electrons causing them to move through the silicon dioxide layer towards the floating gate that their layer wears out a tiny bit every time a program erase command is sent to the cell causing some of these shifting electrons to get stuck inside of it which means that it will have and more importantly continue accumulating a progressively more negative charge now this gets compensated for by applying ever slightly higher positive voltage to the cell to get it to the desired voltage state now at some point the voltage levels start bordering those required by the adjacent states to the point where it takes too long to distinguish what’s what and that block will get taken out behind the barn old yeller style now the fewer layers that there are inside of a cell the wider the spare voltages in between the states so then as you can imagine with qlc the point of cannot deal with this anymore GD cell come sooner than with TLC and especially mlc or SLC much sooner second bad stuffs qlc is also slower which like wait a second why why is that denser processor transistors are better increasing the areal density of a hard drive platter is better shouldn’t more data density and NAND flash be better unfortunately no it’s actually the opposite you see with hard drives cramming more data into the same surface area increases the read and the write speeds because the platter rotates at a constant speed usually 5400 to 7200 rpm or so which means that the more densely the bits are packed the more of them pass under the head in a given amount of time more bits is more data so denser in this case is better that is as long as you can keep your read error rate under control but that’s a little separate discussion back to SSDs for now when an SSD cell is accessed a distinction between the multiple voltage levels needs to be made and the number of states that you need to sift through goes up exponentially with the number of layers that it holds so the more layers the more states and the longer it takes to get a reading for example it takes 25 microseconds to read for SLC 54 MLC 75 for TLC and a hundred for qlc and it’s the same story with writes except the performance drop off is even worse finally big problem number three here we’re getting into this drive specifically the advertised write speeds are kind of hax because there isn’t really a right way to do it you see this drive treats part of its qlc cells as SLC flash as a kind of cache so remember SLC that’s the fastest kind and the exact size of this cache scales depending on how much you’ve filled up your drive so so then by this point in the video you’re probably thinking all right well then qlc has a severe case of the no bueno x’ and this here 660 P Drive is a no me gusta but know everything that we just said was in theory now it’s time for a little bit of reality so to put those hacks right numbers to the test and see just how bad the whole SLC cache with slower qlc behind it deal affects things we hit this drive with a full range right through HD tune Pro and guess what halfway through the performance plummeted to below that of a hard drive and then stayed there for consecutive runs after a brief spike on each run but then we observed this behavior only after more than half of the drives capacity was written to something that was supposed to happen earlier on in the test which got us thinking maybe the caching algorithm was actually working in the background shuffling data over to the slower key OC cells so we tried running the cache flusher utility from Intel’s SSD toolbox during the test and observed its progress bar actually going backwards while our benchmark was showing throughput spikes when we ran the cache flush after doing a full capacity right it took about 20 minutes total and then restored the drive to its full write speed now when we tested Intel’s own higher tier and noticeably more expensive 760 P we also saw write performance drop during the first run after it ran at a cache and dropped further on consecutive runs but as you’d expect it remained much faster in the same scenarios than its lesser sibling okay so that’s synthetic tests but what about a real life but edge case let’s copy a 250 gig steam folder over to the 660 P there we go same thing it starts off fast then it dips dip dips and plummets like OCC stock before their bankruptcy in 2013 when compared to a similarly priced 840 Evo that they managed to maintain a steady 485 megabytes per second and completed the copy in only 8 minutes and 45 seconds this thing took a staggering 23 and a half minutes remember when I said qlc is slow without a cache well behold the worst case scenario slower than a hard drive meanwhile the TLC equipped 7 6 DP after starting off strong dropped to a more stable 560 megabytes per second and then maintained that completing the same transfer in 8 minutes 20 seconds now let’s get more realistic all of the theory crafting we’ve done so far failed to have any tangible effect on our other tests game load times were about the same between all three drives and when we ran the PC market storage subsystem bench we had to double check that we didn’t accidentally test the same drive twice so a typical LTT video takes up about 24 gigs for a seven and a half minutes which takes about 20 minutes to render so just over one gigabyte per second of right so we wouldn’t have any performance drop unless we were filling up our 660 P to the brim leaving no room for SLC caching which by the way we don’t recommend filling up any SSD also keep in mind that during normal usage your SSD is idle the vast majority of the time so that cache flush algorithm will have all the time it needs to quietly restore your SSD in the background so now that we’ve covered the worst case for qlc performance and how the SLC cache can give it boosts of higher performance let’s talk longevity when compared to intel’s own TLC 760 p drive this thing is rated for 1/3 the longevity but looking closer this actually assumes about a hundred gigabytes of writes per day that is basically equivalent to rendering out a couple of LTT videos and installing doom on your computer every day it’s not a realistic use case for the average consumer so to sum things up if you were to install a 660 p SSD in your system unless you’re using it for something that it wasn’t designed for like as a cache for your nas or your hard drive all things considered you would save a few bucks since this is Intel we’re talking about they’re not generally known for their aggressive pricing this thing out competes other nvme drives on price and you’d probably never notice that you’re running qlc because of the SLC cache and you’d have a five-year warranty to give you peace of mind unless of course the drive hits its total drive rights limit before that five years run zone so the enthusiast in me has some serious misgivings about this move for the nand storage industry but this product wasn’t made for me that’s opting and I haven’t seen anything about this drive to suggest that it won’t do a good job for its intended audience thanks to the firmware and controller trickery that we alluded to earlier I guess that’s okay even if it makes me uncomfortable do you need to create a beautiful functional website without the hassle check out Squarespace their all-in-one platform makes it easy to get up and running quickly they’ve got award-winning templates that you can use as starting points for a wide range of projects and 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100 thoughts on “How SSD Technology Keeps Getting WORSE! – Intel 660p Review

  1. Thanks for this. Newegg currently has on sale for $87. Was considering it until I wanted to know more. 🙂

  2. I was kind of surprised when I went and found the PNY 480GB SATA SSD I had bought was not MLC, but TLC! And so called "3DNAND" is just marketing bullshit meant to distract you from the fact of the matter which is stated pretty well in the video already…
    Save some time and go to a website like Newegg or some other place where you can select the NAND technology used to manufacture the flash chips as a filter. If you want to save money on your storage, don't forget to spend the money you save on a backup solution like CrashPlan or Jungle Disk or something

  3. So what’s the point of having any size of SSD when nobody recommends you fill it up past half? That’s half a drive not being used.

  4. On sale on Newegg right now. Trying to figure out if I should spend the $93 bucks for a 1TB 660p. Thanks for making this video!

  5. fuck…. i was about to order 1 of those 660intel for our office server that does lots of GB of copying every now and then…. damn… i was having it in my busket and YouTube algorithm showed me that video because i was googling for that part last week. 🙄

  6. god mlc tlc and qlc suck so hard… and slc ssd´s are nowhere to be seen under 1000€ good that i bought a 128gb m.2 slc ssd in 2015 for less than 100€.
    if i think about all the crying "flash prices are dumping" 1000€ seem´s way overpriced

  7. I'm confused…can I use my 2 Samsung EVO V-nand SSDs for gaming and/or operating system, or should I use my WD Black drives?

  8. Perfect example why recommendations do not work, Youtube recommends this video AFTER I buy one. Oh well, I mainly using as basic drive and the 800 Mbs rate is better then then -100 ish rate of the hard drive it replaced.

  9. TLC stands for triple level cell, not triple layer. It makes it sound like you're talking about the number of layers in a 3D NAND pillar which is 64, 96 or 128.

  10. We don't need to hear the "science" shit behind it, we know they manufacture them TO FAIL so we buy more

  11. Here's one real world potential problem: If you have a lot of RAM (8+GB) and you liek to hibernate your PC, you can eventually burn up the lifespan of these drives.

  12. Serious workstations cost more because consumer grade parts bring compromises with their accessible prices. Shock, surprise.

  13. Saw this 2TB drive costing the same as the samsung 1TB drives. Now I know why, its garbage. Intel lost a sale from me thanks to this video.

  14. I had a usb 3.0 pendrive that did the same thing,
    It would deliver close to 600 MBps brand new but very soon reduced itself to peak at about 60

  15. I use a 660p 2TB version for games, very little writing other then installing. Works great, would not recommend one for an OS drive or for doing long videos or any frequent writing to the drive.

  16. Got a 1 TB 660p for $90 and am running it in my MacBook pro retina from 2013. Much faster than the drive it replaced!

  17. I have a 512gb 660p intel drive and even though ive onky had it for 3 months i did fill it up over half way and didnt really noticed much a difference in loading in games or anything though im not constantly downloading large files and moving them on and off

  18. Just bought the Intel 660p Series 2TB M.2 SSD, the more I read the more negative the reviews. Still unopened so I can send it back.

  19. I recently bought the 660p 2tb, according to the video it starts slowing down filling half way of a 1tb.

    Does that mean it will be slower than an hdd when I fill it half way? Cuz Im gonna fill it entirely of steam games and some programs

    Or

    Will the 1tb 7200pm the ssd replaced be better or even use the Toshiba 14TB SATA MG07ACA14TE I recently bouth be ok

  20. 10:26 well, that's called "engineering". It's not about necessarily the best technology, not the shiniest materials but about proper planning to achieve the maximum of what you've got and be able to price it reasonably at the end of the day.

  21. hhd still king of storage 🙂
    just go on pcpartpicker and go to storage
    and filter by price per gb and you'll see what i mean

  22. Not "dual layer, triple layer" but dual LEVEL, triple LEVEL. It is about storing more discrete voltage levels inside a single cell.

  23. Update for all my boys out there looking at the 660p for prime day: Don't

    While you will get a 5 year warranty, data loss is of course not covered. As of 2 days ago, my 660p died. No longer recognizable by any OS. I have been putting these in all my customers builds and not I'm really biting myself. Lasted 3 years.

  24. I love intel's 660P 2TB nvme qlc wich more cheaper and faster than a normal 2.5" SSD.
    How if use a Threadripper with Samsung 970 evo 500GB*2 = 1TB Raid as OS to reach 6GB/s
    and use Asus Hyper M.2 X16 with Intel's 660P 2TB*4 = 8TB raid as storage to accumulate 6GB/s?

  25. Weird how obvious it is that señor Linus is reading off a prompter in this video. I haven't noticed that before that I can recall.

  26. The 1tb and 2tb versions of this SSD are the best value mass storage (if you take into account speed, storage and price) at the moment. I snatched a 2tb from Amazon for a cool 190€ and i'm super happy with it.
    I'm basically using it as an archive: the OS, CAD and the few other programs i use are all on the my 860 pro (amazing drive btw) and the 660p serves as temporary storage for finished projects i already backed up, movies, games and all sorts of random stuff i'm not going to upload to a cloud and won't mind losing (unlikely, this is still an SSD, failure rates are very low despite what Linus says).
    If you need bulk storage and don't want to spend much, but still want a fast and hassle free drive, definetely buy this.

  27. The problem is, some laptops model in 2019 comes with Intel 660p SSD as boot drive (and the only drive)🤔

  28. I just just bought this 1TB. It’s been on sale via Newegg ($84?) and on Amazon for a few months now. 🙈 haven’t installed it yet.

  29. Lol I saw this video pop up in my recommended just after getting a 760p (256GB) and I'm enjoying it a lot. Glad its TLC instead of QLC. It was amazing to find an NVMe for almost the same price of a cheap SATA SSD. Paired it with a relatively young Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200rpm I had laying around. Coming from never having an SSD before, it seems to boost the HDDs performance since it isn't competing with OS' I/O when loading a game or something.

  30. Well, you want cheap high capacity ssds.
    That's how that works.

    Single cell terabyte ssds would otherwise be unaffordable and we'd prolly go back towards 3.5 inch drives eventually

  31. I have 660p 1TB and it rocks!!!!! I have only in the beginning when it was empty noticed speed drops (moving like 700GB from other the disk). Now it rocks as a gaming disk!

  32. This is nice but like I still would rather just get 2 of them 2tb Intel ssds and put them in raid cuz Samsung ssds are really expensive

  33. I like it how in the hard drive platter animation, there is the same amount of bits per angular degree. So basically at the same angular velocity, the amount of data read by the head at any given position is the same :))

  34. on desktop TLC for system , QLC for games, but on laptop/console i will put TLC all the time 30€ delta on the 1To

  35. I just bought an Intel 660p M.2 2280 2TB NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 3D NAND Internal Solid State Drive to install on my computer. Should I return it for a Samsung 960 Pro?

  36. I usually like Linus but he missed the mark here: these drives are NOT meant to replace traditional NVME storage for editing and working on large files. Rather, they are designed to replace traditional SATA drives for things like boot drives and game storage. In other words, these drives are not designed for 90% of the use cases he brought up. Seriously at the time of this comment Intel's 660p drives are actually cheaper than most 2.5 inch SATA drives, which is kinda ridiculous.

  37. I would love to go SSD, but the write cycles thing (electron buildup) is what keeps me from it. How long do SSDs last for day to day use? Am i paranoid for no reason?

  38. Basically, I look at it like this: If you have a computer with 16GB's of memory or more AND turn off the page file in Windows (which I do on any computer with SSD's of any form in it)? You will be fine with QLC in most cases because it still has 100TB+ write to the drive before you see issues.

  39. I have worked for a Computer Manufacturer for over 23 years and I have to say Intel Quality on SSD Drive are not as good as you would think. Samsung has had a lot less failure rate. And the Intel SSD Drives are slower..

  40. It's not bad. Imagine a 4TB SSD with even more voltage levels per cell will be the ideal and also cheapest Steam drive in just a handful of years, leaving HDDs barely any room to exist in.

  41. If it wasn't for Linus I would've bought this, I went went the HP EX920 M.2 1TB PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 3D TLC NAND Internal Solid State Drive

  42. Linus (et al), if Nvme pcie M.2 drives can read/write 5-6x as fast as SATA SSDs, why are real-world load times only slightly faster than Sata SSD times?

  43. That's too bad for the SSD's technology : controlers have made some huge evolution, NVMe is great for high performance SSD but the NAND chip is getting worse and worse over the time. It looks like the price has become somewhat the only thing that matters. I only hope that they still care about stability, reliability, endurance and performance. So nowadays ssd great performance is only due to its SLC caching mostly. Manufacturers should have the honesty to mark every model with the kind of flash memory that it has. So that the consumer is aware of what he's buying. I've seen some 240GB SSD with only 40TBW endurance. It might be enough for consumers but it's a little bit scaring on the long run.
    Fortunately my 7 years old SanDisk Extreme 240 is still working fine so far. I'll always keep it as long as it works. I love MLC cells 😂

  44. What exactly is the target for a product like this? I'm looking for a cheap NVME SSD to store my O.S. and some games

  45. I had heard they were going to be used mainly for SSD archive – like Netflix servers. Write once read forever.

  46. So is this drive better as the boot disk with your Windows and most used programs, or work drive for keeping your games and movies on?
    First one would probably have loads of free space for page files because apparently smallest 660p is 512Gb, for the second you'd spring for the 1 or 2 TB model. Either way it would be very cheap compared to other models, question is which drive would be having failures first?

  47. Samsung is the best. They always have been. Intel is a scammer. Sandisk does not hire Americans in their Silicon Valley office – only hb1 visa workers.

  48. So what's the point in having a 500gb or 1tb drive, if you Cant fill it up with games whilst maintaining decent speed. Also what would you reccomend instead of the 660p? Are there any decent performing drives both in storage capacity and speed retention?

  49. I'm using a 1tb 660p just for the sake of no cables. I'm on a Z97 which only has a pcie 2.0 x2 for nvme, which translates to about 800 mb/sec speeds. It's faster than a ssd, but not so much that i notice. It's just easier and cheaper than my old 2x256gb ssd 🙂

  50. Linus: 660p is crap.
    Tech deals: go for 660p, it's cheap and you will not observe any real life performed difference.

  51. in Argentina is sold like if it was a 2tb but is a 1tb … at 200usd .. mechanicals drives of 1tb cost 150usd in mah country.. so the 1tb is in good pricing for 95 usd

  52. get the fuck out here fanboy i can see u didnt talk about the Samsung QVO SSDs that sucks even more balls

  53. An SSD such as this would only ever be used as an storage SSD by me, since only a few of my games actually make effective use of even my SATA SSD (the 3GB/sec read and 2GB/sec write on my boot SSD is useless)

  54. It's insane value for anyone who does casual computing. Anyone who does sequential transfers more than 16gb then this is not for them.

  55. One other thing to remember is that Samsung use ram for caching (lddr4
    Intel 660p does not ! What this mean ? As any ram if your computer turn off you can loose data
    So for cache ? It can create gremlin issue ! With the 660p ? Not a chance since intel is using the nvme it self
    And it’s intended to keep data even if turned off ! This sound stupid ? But I can tell you , for the os ? I would prefer the intel 660p

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