[nextpage title=”Introduction”]
We tested the Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD, that uses M.2 form factor, PCI Express 3.0 x4 interface, and NVMe protocol. While 2.5″ SSDs are still the most popular ones, M.2 form factor is becoming more common. The main reason is that M.2 format allows, besides the SATA-600 connection, the PCI Express x4 standard, which has a far higher maximum transfer rate.
There is also a difference related to the protocol: while traditional SSDs use the AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface), which was developed for mechanical hard disk drives, the most recent drives, like the Intel 600p and the Samsung 960 EVO, use the NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory express) protocol, which was developed for SSDs, thus allowing higher speeds and lower latencies.
The Intel 600p SSD is different from most of the drives we already tested: besides using the NVMe protocol like some high performance SSDs, it is an entry SSD, being not significantly more expensive than entry SSDs with similar capacity like the WD Green, the Corsair Force LE, the Kingston SSDNow UV400, and the SanDisk SSD Plus.
Just like most new SSDs, the Intel 600p uses TLC (triple level cell) memories. This kind of memory stores not two, but three bits per cell. It allows a higher data density and, thus, a smaller manufacturing cost for a same capacity chip.
In the table below, we compared the tested units. Except for the 600p, all of them use SATA-600 interface and the 2.5” form factor, with 7 mm height.

Manufacturer

Model

Model #

Nominal capacity

Price

Intel

600p

SSDPEKKW128G7X1

128 GiB

USD 76

Kingston

A400

SA400S37/120G

120 GiB

USD 48

Western Digital

WD Green

WDS120G1G0A

120 GiB

USD 55

Corsair

Force LE

CSSD-F120GBLEB

120 GiB

USD 50

Kingston

SSDNow UV400

SUV400S37/120G

120 GiB

USD 53

SanDisk

SSD PLUS

SDSSDA-120G

120 GiB

USD 60

In the table below, we compared technical specs of the tested drives.

Model Controller Buffer Memory TBW
Intel 600p Silicon Motion SM2260 SKHynix H5TC2G63GFA 2x 65 GiB Micron 29F32B2ALCMG2 72 TiB
Kingston A400 Phison S11 4x 32 GiB Kingston FH32B08UCT1-OC 40 TiB
WD Green Silicon Motion SM2258XT 4x 32 GiB SanDisk 05497 032G 40 TiB
Corsair Force LE Phison PS3110-S10C-12 256 MiB Nanya NT5CC128M16IP-DI 4x 32 GiB Toshiba TT58G51ARA 30 TiB
Kingston SSDNow UV400 Marvell 88SS1074 256 MiB Nanya NT5CC128M16FP-DI 8x 16 GiB Kingston FT16B08UCT1-0F 50 TiB
SanDisk SSD PLUS Silicon Motion SM2246XT 2x 64 GiB SanDisk 05446 064G N/A

[nextpage title=”The Intel 600p 128 GiB”]
Figure 1 shows the box of the Intel 600p 128 GiB.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD

Figure 1: the Intel 600p 128 GiB package

On Figure 2, we see the Intel 600p 128 GiB, which uses M.2 2280 form factor.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD

Figure 2: the Intel 600p 128 GiB

There are no chips on the solder side, as seen in Figure 3.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD

Figure 3: solder side

Removing the id sticker, you see the SSD components: the controller chip, a cache RAM chip, and two flash memory chips.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSDFigure 4: component side of the PCB

The Intel 600p 128 GiB uses the Silicon Motion SM2260 controller, in a specific Intel version. It is shown in Figure 5.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSDFigure 5: controller chip

There is a SKHynix H5TC2G63GFR 256 MiB DDR3L-1600 RAM chip that works as a cache.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSDFigure 6: cache memory chip

The flash memory chips are 3D TLC from Micron, but we were unable to find more information about them.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSDFigure 7: flash memory chip

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”] During our testing procedures, we used the configuration listed below. The only variable component between each benchmarking session was the SSD being tested.

Hardware configuration

  • Processor: Core i7-6950X @ 3.8 GHz
  • Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty X99 Extreme6/3.1
  • Memory: 64 GiB DDR4-3000, four HyperX Predator 16 GiB modules
  • Boot drive: Kingston HyperX Predator 480 GiB
  • Video display: Samsung U28D590D
  • Power Supply: Corsair CX750
  • Case: Thermaltake Core P3

Software Configuration

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home

Benchmarking Software

Error Margin We adopted a 3% error margin in our tests, meaning performance differences of less than 3% cannot be considered meaningful. Therefore, when the performance difference between two products is less than 3%, we consider them to have similar performance.
[nextpage title=”Compressible Data Test”] As you will have gathered from the previous page, we measured the performance of each drive using CrystalDiskMark.
First, we set CrystalDiskMark to “All 0x00 Fill mode” to evaluate the performance of the SSD when dealing with compressible data.
Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD
On the sequential read benchmark, the Intel 600p was 25% faster than the Kingston A400.
Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD
On the sequential write benchmark, the Intel 600p was 34% slower than the Kingston A400.
Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD
On the random read test with 512 kiB blocks, the Intel 600p was 15% faster than the Kingston A400.
Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD
On the random write test with 512 kiB blocks, the Intel 600p was 39% slower than the Kingston A400.
Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD

On the random read benchmark with 4 kiB blocks, the Intel 600p was 77% slower than the Kingston A400.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD

On the random write benchmark with 4 kiB blocks, the Intel 600p was 31% faster than the Kingston A400.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD

On the random read benchmark with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the Intel 600p was 63% slower than the Kingston A400.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD
On the random write benchmark with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the Intel 600p was 15% slower than the Kingston A400.
[nextpage title=”Incompressible Data Test”] For this test, we set CrystalDiskMark to the default mode, which uses incompressible data.
Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD

On the sequential read benchmark, the Intel 600p was 38% faster than the Kingston A400.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD

On the sequential write benchmark, the Intel 600p was 28% slower than the Kingston A400.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD

On the random read test with 512 kiB blocks, the Intel 600p was 70% faster than the Kingston A400.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD

On the random write benchmark with 512 kiB blocks, the Intel 600p was 32% slower than the Kingston A400
Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD

On the random read benchmark with 4 kiB blocks, the Intel 600p was 18% slower than the Kingston A400.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD
And on the random write benchmark with 4 kiB blocks, the Intel 600p was 59% faster than the Kingston A400.
Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD

On the random read benchmark with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the Intel 600p was 57% slower than the Kingston A400.

Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD
On the random write benchmark with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the Intel 600p was 8% slower than the Kingston A400.
[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
Analyzing the data obtained on our tests, the first conclusion is that the Intel 600p 128 GiB has the same performance with compressible and uncompressible data, which means its controller does not use compression to speed up operations.
Compared to its competitors, we were expecting the 600p would be a lot faster on many tests, because PCI Express 3.0 x4 used by it supports a far higher bandwidth than the SATA-600 interface used by the other drives. It also uses NVMe protocol, which is usually found on high-performance SSDs.
However, we saw a performance that was faster only on the sequential read and random read with 512 kiB blocks. On the other tests, it performed similarly to most of the tested drives.
So, we can say the Intel 600p 128 GiB SSD presented a cost/benefit ratio that was similar to most SSDs of the same capacity: it costs a little more, and it is a little faster on some tasks. However, it has two advantages: the M.2 form factor, which is easier to install and avoids more cables inside the computer, and also its endurance (measured by its TBW) that is higher than the other tested models.