Intel is refreshing its mainstream NVMe-based solid state storage line-up with a brand new SSD targeting mobile and desktop platforms, that has much higher performance but lower power than its predecessors. The Intel SSD 760P series of solid state drives being introduced today combine the latest Intel 3D NAND with a third-party controller, and some custom firmware, to increase performance versus previous-gen offerings but also bring NVMe SSD pricing closer to SATA.
We’ve got a 512GB Intel SSD 760P series drive in house and have tested it alongside a wide range of NVMe PCIe-based SSDs, including the ultra-high-end Intel Optane 900P. That drive is in a completely different class, but we figured you’d want to see how a few generations of Intel-built SSDs stack up. Take a look at the SSD 760P series specs and then we’ll dive into the juicy stuff...
The Intel SSD 760P will initially be offered in three capacities, 128GB on up to 512GB, with 1TB and 2TB models coming a littler later in the quarter. All of the drives conform to the same M.2 (2280) 80mm ‘gumstick’ form factor, but performance will vary somewhat depending on the capacity. The drive will offer up to 3.2GB/s reads with 1.6GB/s writes, which is a huge step up from the 1.8GB/s and 560MB/s of the previous-gen Intel SSD 600P.
In addition to offering better performance, the SSD 760P also consumes less power than its predecessor. Whereas the Intel SSD 600P was rated for typical active/idle power consumption of 100mW and 40mW, respectively, the Intel SSD 760P comes in at only 50mW and 25mW. Endurance is unchanged, however. The Intel SSD 760P is rated for 72 TBW (tera-bytes written), per 128GB of capacity.
All Intel SSD 760P series drives feature second-gen 64-layer 3D NAND flash memory. Paired to the NAND is a bit of DRAM cache, and a native NVMe PCI Express controller built by Silicon Motion (SMI) – the 2262 – though it is tuned to meet Intel’s requirements, as is the drive's custom firmware.
You'll notice there's not much happening on the back of the 512GB drive pictured here, but the front is home to the controller, NAND, and DRAM cache. Those pads on the back will eventually be used with the higher capacity models hit the scene in a few weeks.
The 8-channel SMI 2262 controller conforms to the NVMe 1.3 spec and has a x4 PCIe 3.0 interface (max bandwidth of 4GB/s). The SSD 760P drives also support all of the things you’d expect from a modern SSD, like TRIM, garbage collection, S.M.A.R.T. self-monitoring and logging, AES 256-bit encryption, etc. And like some other drives that use TLC NAND, Intel configures a portion of the flash memory to act as an SLC cache to boost performance. Depending on the capacity, however, the size of the cache will vary.
Intel warranties the SSD 760P series drives for 5 years, which is on par with other NVMe PCIe SSDs in this class. In terms of the packaging and bundle, everything included is pictured above -- you get the drive, some basic documentation, and that's about it. Support for the 760P series is coming to Intel's SSD Toolbox utility as well, but as of press time, it hasn't been fully enabled just yet.
We should also mention that Intel has a few more NVMe SSDs coming down the pipeline based on this SSD architecture. The Intel SSD Pro 7600P targets business users and features additional security and manageability-related features, whereas the Intel SSD E 6100P is optimized for embedded applications and IoT devices. Intel is also committing to an extended supply life for the SSD E 6100P.