Intel 660p NVMe SSDs with QLC NAND spotted at ‘breakthrough’ price

German today discovered that the first online retailers in Germany are listing the Intel 660p, the first NVMEe QLC NAND based SSD from Intel. The drive is available in capacities of 512GB, 1TB and 2TB and sells at about $0.25 per GB.

Intel 660p NVMe SSDs with QLC NAND spotted at 'breakthrough' price

Computerbase found the Intel 660p listed on price comparison website Geizhals, where the drive is available for €111.90 for the 512GB model, €218.90 for the 1TB model and €429.90 for the 2TB model. That means the larger capacity 660p drives come at a price per GB of about €0.21 ($0.25). For SATA SSDs a price per GB of €0.21 is common, but for NVMe SSDs it’s a breakthrough.

It’s no surprise that the 660p NVMe SSDs are relative cheap. The lower price is possible because they contain QLC NAND. With QLC NAND, 4 bits can be stored per cell, instead of 3 bits per cell for TLC NAND. More bits per cell, means a higher data density per chip, which means there are less chips required for the same capacity.

A potential drawback is that storing more bits per cell can have a negative effect on durability. However, with smart algorithms in the firmware and by making use of over provisioning, this should not be an issue for regular users.

The Intel 660p series are the first consumer SSDs based on QLC NAND. They were expected to become available in the second half of this year and have not been officially announced yet. A Canadian company lists the expected release at the 25th of August this year on its website, a German online retailer states it will take about 4 weeks before the drive will be shipped.