Intel SSD 600p Test and review: cheap SSD format M. 2 with NVMe support

Intel SSD 600p Test and review: cheap SSD format M. 2 with NVMe support

Once Intel boasted a decent share of Intel X25-M in the consumer SSD, but in recent years a chip giant is almost exclusively oriented to the corporate segment. However, with a line of SSD 750 Intel today also offers storage for the home user. But the SSD 750 line stands out not only performance, but also high costs. New Intel SSD 600p belongs to the category PCI Express SSD, but for the price we get the level of SATA devices. In this article we will look at Intel SDD 600p in more detail. Can you get the highest level of performance at a low price?

Once popular Intel X25-M family has already expired, the last few years in the consumer SSD Intel behaved fairly quiet. The company abandoned development of its own controller for the consumer segment by clicking on Hardware Marvell and SandForce. New Intel SSD 600p line is based on the controller from another manufacturer, namely Silicon Motion (SMI). In principle, Silicon Motion company – has long been known contract manufacturer, SMI controllers used in many entry-level SSD.

Actually, the SMI controller fits into Intel SSD 600p drive, given the budgetary orientation of the SSD. Just in this case we are talking about the PCI Express segment, rather than SSD SATA. Intel SDD 600p drive is available with a small capacity of 128 GB, for this model in Europe will have to pay 55 euros. Available and other options up to 1TB.

The table shows the technical specifications of new items.

Manufacturer and modelIntel SSD 600p
Pricefrom 150 €
The manufacturer’s websiteIntel SSD 600p
The technical specifications 
Form factorM. 2
InterfacePCIe 3.0 x4
ProtocolNVMe
FirmwarePSF
Capacity (manufacturer’s information)512 GB
Capacity (after formatting)477 GiB
Capacity options128, 256, 512 GB, 1 TB
Cache512 MB LPDDR3
ControllerSilicon Motion SM2260
The memory chipsTLC 3D NAND (Intel)
Read speed (manufacturer’s information)1775 MB/s
Write speed (manufacturer’s information)560 MB/s
 
Manufacturer warrantyFive years

 

Intel SSD 600p: In detail

In addition to the Intel SSD 600p basic level, the chip giant offers and E Pro 6000p 6000p. The difference between the families lies mainly in the software. All three lines support AES encryption, but only Pro 6000p can be used for BitLocker (eDrive) at the hardware level. For E 6000p Intel indicates greater long-term reliability and optimization for IoT applications. Performance differences between the three families there, since the hardware is the same.

Intel SSD 600p Test and review: cheap SSD format M. 2 with NVMe support

The drive relies on the controller Silicon Motion SM2260. It supports NVMe 1.2, the connection is established through the PCI Express interface of the third generation, there are up to four lines. Controller SM2260 supports almost all the modern technology of flash memory, including MLC and TLC 3D NAND, working with them is via eight channels. Planar memory chips are used in the structure size up to 1y/1z. Drive Intel SSD 600p is based on the memory of the Intel/Micron 3D, which stores three bits per cell (TLC). The controller is complemented by 512 MB cache-LPDDR3.

To improve performance, drive Intel SSD 600p is equipped with a SLC cache. Under the SLC cache allocated portion of the flash memory that is programmed one bit per cell that is much faster programming three bits (SLC). The graph below the impact of the SLC cache. We conducted the test with additional radiator to avoid overheating and trottling.

After about 20 seconds or about 10 Gbytes of recorded data, the performance decreased to 33 MB/s for a small period. Then the performance for some time to recover, but after 37 seconds (or 15 GB) cache SLC were emptied and filled again, the drive is switched to the recording mode in the memory of TLC. Therefore, the average performance was only about 146 MB/s. it is clearly seen that the Intel SSD 600p is not designed for long-term workload record.

Due to the compact format M. 2 drives usually have problems with heat dissipation under load, which leads to throttle the SSD thus avoids excessively high temperatures. Intel SSD 600p is no exception, as evidenced by the graphics below. To avoid overflow of the cache, the SLC test was carried out in a memory region of 512 MB.

After about a minute of constant-load starts trottling. Will be a little more than half a minute, and then write performance begins to seriously sink periodically so that the drive kept in the temperature range from 70 to 75 °C. Thus, SSD PCI Express can not be a long time to keep the maximum performance during sequential recording, you can record about 30-40 GB at maximum speed.

For comparison, the Samsung SSD 960 PRO we were able to record about 66 GB of data before it lost a significant part of performance, but a significant drop was only after 300 GB. Of course, the 960 PRO is focused on a different segment of performance than the Intel SSD 600p, so the comparison is not quite fair.

Intel SSD 600p Test and review: cheap SSD format M. 2 with NVMe support

Cooling Intel SSD 600p can be significantly improved if you install the drive on a PCI Express Board and add a heat sink. Then we can avoid performance degradation due to the throttle.

On the Intel SSD 600p given a five-year guarantee, it’s not very usual to SSD, based on the mass market. Samsung on your EVO 960 drives, which can be considered the closest opponent 600p, gives a guarantee of only three years. There are differences and under the maximum load of the recording, which limits the warranty period of a top strap. In the following table we just brought the data.

Have Intel SSD 600p, we get a 44% greater load record compared to Samsung EVO SSD 960. Of course, of the practical significance of TBW can argue, as even enthusiasts are unlikely to exhaust such a reserve over the life of the drive. On the other hand, the TBW value indicates how many write operations can withstand cell SSD in the future. The value of TBW, many manufacturers deliberately restricted to cut off a segment of SSDS for servers and workstations.

Intel SSD 600p: Testbed configuration and testing methodology

Hardware

  • ASRock Z97 Extreme6 (BIOS 2.10)
  • Intel Core i5-4570, 4x 3,20 GHz
  • 2x 4GB Kingston DDR3-1333
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580
  • Corsair Force LS 240 GB (system)

Software

  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional 64-Bit
  • AS SSD Benchmark 1.7.4739.38088 (Download)
  • Iometer 1.1.0 (Download)
  • Futuremark PCMark 8 v2.0.228 (Download)

Other settings and notes

Unless otherwise specified, all drives were tested on the SATA ports 6GB/s Z97 chipset. To minimize the random variations in performance, we turned off BIOS SpeedStep and all C-States and Turbo mode. In addition, we disabled LPM (Link Power Management) through the registry.

Intel SSD 600p Test and review: cheap SSD format M. 2 with NVMe support

Intel SSD 600p Tests: Iometer

Iometer can be called a universal test that evaluates the net performance of the drive in almost all conceivable access scenarios. The latest version of the test also had the opportunity to choose which data to use. In particular, an interesting option is “Repeating bytes/duplicate bytes” and “Full random/completely random”. The first option always uses the same repetitive data, so that the controller can significantly compress the data. Data compression is performed, not all the controllers, but some controllers (the same SandForce) implemented transparent compression system, which, depending on the data used, allows to increase throughput. The second option creates a data buffer to 16 MB, high entropy, and compression of such data is very difficult (if even possible). All this enables you to perform controller with integrated compression the two tests run, one of which operates completely random data (“Full random”). Run is the default mode with a repeating byte (“Repeating bytes”) corresponding to the manufacturer’s instructions.

For desktop systems, characterized by a minimal queue (depth of the command queue, QD). Sometimes it can slightly increase, but still remains within single digit percentages. Tests with a queue depth of 32 QD allow SSD to reach their full potential. This queue depth commands are possible in ordinary situations, but only in a multi-user or server environment.

Test 4K uses about 8 million of the logical sectors of 512 bytes; the test is sequential read/write uses almost the full capacity of the drive.

The performance of an Intel SSD 600p is not impressive. It is closer to the category of SATA SSD, rather than PCI Express.

Intel SSD 600p Test and review: cheap SSD format M. 2 with NVMe support

Intel SSD 600p Tests: AS SSD

AS SSD test was developed, as you can guess from the name, especially for SSD. It uses completely incompressible data, so this test refers to the worst-case scenarios for controllers with compression technology. Sequential test and test blocks are 4K single queue depth. Again, for desktop test 4K single queue depth to QD 1 of the most important, and the test with QD 64 depth again demonstrates the maximum capability of the SSD (with active NCQ).

Except for the sequential read performance, the Intel SSD 600p is a ranking closer to the SATA SSD.

Intel SSD 600p Tests copying data

Test copy of the data, as you can guess by the title, shows how fast you can copy data. We performed tests of typical scenarios: ISO (two large file), program (many small files), games (a mixture of small and large files).

Drive Intel SSD 600p has much higher sequential read performance compared to the SATA SSD to copy the data results is also higher.

Intel SSD 600p Tests: PCMark 8 – Storage (part 1)

Synthetic tests represent extreme cases. In everyday conditions the computer uses different patterns of access, from small blocks to large sequential data transfers. We simulated such a burden, by recording the pattern during use of the system. We recorded the pattern during a run test of PCMark 8, which includes several applications, each reads and writes a certain amount of data, as can be seen from the following table. Test data are not compressible.

Unlike the previous test, Futuremark PCMark 7 the new version was removed the compression at idle time (idle time compression), so the pattern corresponds better to the real applications. Earlier we published the result in PCMark points, now we move to the theoretical bandwidth. It is calculated by dividing the amount of read and written data (see table) while processing the query. Higher throughput means that the waiting time of the drive is smaller, the response time of an application is also reduced.

Among disk drives PCI Express and the new Intel SSD 600p is in last place. But he’s still faster than the fastest SATA SSD.

The previous chart shows the throughput of disk drives while performing the test run, consisting of individual applications. We continue with two game tests, starting with entering the game, the reader saves in Battlefield 3 and ending the game.

To test the performance of drives in office applications, we used PowerPoint, Excel and Word from Microsoft Office. In this case the document was opened, edited, saved, and then the app closed.

Office applications are not so demanding on the storage subsystem, which is not true of Adobe. In particular, in a test of “Adobe Photoshop (Heavy)” generate large amounts of data, open the PSD file, edit and save in different formats.

Intel SSD 600p Tests: PCMark 8 – stress load

Test PCMark 8 “Expanded Storage” consists of two parts, a “Consistency test” (test of integrity) and “Adaptivity test” (test of agility). The latter shows how well the storage subsystem can adapt to a certain load. Interesting for us is the first test showing the performance loss of the drive. We used for the same purpose was used the stress HDTach and Iometer: we measured serial performance of the new SSD, then put an extreme load Iometer, after which the performance of many drives fell by 50% or even more. This test allows to evaluate the performance in the worst case.

Procedure PCMark 8 is much closer to the everyday conditions: in the first phase the capacity of the drive is filled twice, the second pass ensures that the memory is full, unavailable to the user. The second phase (Degrade) the drive is loaded eight times the random write operations, the first pass takes 10 minutes, each subsequent pass is performed for five minutes longer. After each passage is measured by performance. In the third phase (Steady State) performed five runs instead of a 45 minute run, parallel performance is measured. On the last phase (Recovery) performance is measured after a period of inactivity of five minutes. This measurement is repeated five times, including the period of inactivity to give the drive the ability to recover.

The following two graphs show the latency of reading or writing at different phases of the test drives. We did not carry out a large number of tests, and chose the profile “Photoshop Heavy” where 468 is read and written MB 5640 MB. Of course, this test and our previous tests with HDTach and Iometer are interesting, but for everyday working conditions these results are still more relevant.

The following chart shows the throughput that we measured on the previous two pages. It was calculated at all profiles.

The results of the test stress load drive Intel SSD 600p applies closer to SATA SSD than to the PCI Express models. Under heavy load read latency significantly increases, overall performance decreases very much. But since the Intel SSD 600p is focused on the mass segment, similar results can be called acceptable. Of course, Intel didn’t want to compete with itself, so the distance to the Intel 750 SSD is quite significant.

Intel SSD 600p: Conclusion

Drive Intel SSD 600p is not bad: the new M. 2 SSD from Intel closes the gap between fast but very expensive drives PCI Express, such as Samsung PRO SSD 960, Toshiba RD400 OCZ or Intel SSD 750, and the traditional SATA SSD.

Performance Intel SSD 600p in many of the tests closer to the (faster) SATA drives than PCI Express. Is that in the sequential read tests, the drive is not limited to a SATA interface, so it reaches speeds up to 1,600 MB/s In the test daily performance PCMark drive Intel SSD 600p managed to bypass all SATA SSD, though the gap was not so big.

Unfortunately, the Intel SSD 600p is still impossible to give a full recommendation over SATA SSDS for the mass market such as Samsung 850 EVO SSD, as the Intel drive has two drawbacks. The controller supports hardware encryption AES, but the 600p is no support eDrive/TCG Opal. This function is left for the more expensive Intel SSD Pro 6000p. In addition, after the cache is populated SLC write performance 600p is significantly reduced. Still drives Intel SSD 600p is not suitable for long-term workload record. If you are willing to accept the mentioned disadvantages, the Intel SSD 600p – a very worthy NVMe SSD for the price of a SATA SSD.

Advantages Intel SSD 600p:

  • Not limited to the bandwidth of the SATA interface
  • High daily performance
  • The price SATA SSD

Disadvantages Intel SSD 600p:

  • The drop in performance after the cache is populated SLC
  • Support for TCG Opal/eDrive only in Pro version

Source: intel

Intel SSD 600p Test and review: cheap SSD format M. 2 with NVMe support was last modified: November 2nd, 2016 by Tomas Shellby