• Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Intel Builds 10 million QLC 3D NAND Solid-State Drives

btarunr

Editor & Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
38,106 (8.42/day)
Location
Hyderabad, India
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Motherboard ASUS ROG Strix B450-E Gaming
Cooling AMD Wraith Prism
Memory 2x 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000
Video Card(s) Palit GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER GameRock
Storage Western Digital Black NVMe 512GB
Display(s) Samsung U28D590 28-inch 4K UHD
Case Corsair Carbide 100R
Audio Device(s) Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D PCIe
Power Supply Cooler Master MWE Gold 650W
Mouse ASUS ROG Strix Impact
Keyboard Microsoft Sidewinder X4
Software Windows 10 Pro
Last week, Intel's memory and storage group produced Intel QLC 3D NAND solid-state drive (SSD) number 10 million based upon the QLC NAND die built in Dalian, China. Production began in late 2018, and this milestone establishes QLC (quadruple-level cell memory) as a mainstream technology for high-capacity drives.

"Many have talked about QLC technology, but Intel has shipped it, and at scale," said Dave Lundell, director of Client SSD Strategic Planning and Product Marketing at Intel. "We have seen strong demand for the cost-effective capacity of our standalone QLC SSD (Intel SSD 660p) and the performance of our Intel Optane Technology + QLC solution (Intel Optane Memory H10)."





Here are a few quick facts related to the achievement:
  • Intel QLC 3D NAND is used in the Intel SSD 660p, Intel SSD 665p and Intel Optane Memory H10 storage solutions.
  • Intel's QLC drive has 4 bits per cell and stores data in both 64-layer and 96-layer NAND configurations.
  • Intel has been developing this technology over the past decade. In 2016, Intel engineers changed the orientation of the already-proven floating gate (FG) technology to vertical and wrapped it into a gate all-around structure. The resulting 3D tri-cell level (TLC) technology could store 384 Gb/die. In 2018, 3D QLC flash became a reality, featuring 64 layers with four bits per cell, capable of storing a 1,024 Gb/die. In 2019 Intel moved to 96 layers, reducing overall areal density.
  • QLC is now part of Intel's overall storage portfolio, which includes both client and data center products.

View at TechPowerUp Main Site
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2018
Messages
438 (0.86/day)
Location
Canada
System Name I don't care
Processor Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400
Motherboard Asus IPIBL-LB / HP Benicia-GL8E
Cooling DeepCool Gammaxx 200
Memory 8gigs Kingston 4x2gigs DDR2-800
Video Card(s) Zotac GT630 "Fermi" 2gb DDR3 128bits Synergy Edition
Storage Western Digital Green 7200rpm 1tb
Display(s) LG EW234 Super LED
Case HP Pavilion
Audio Device(s) Onboard
Power Supply Thermaltake TR2 430w
Mouse Razer Abyssus Mirror special edition
Keyboard Gonolek Mini Bird
Software Windows 7 Home Premium 64bits
Does it mean that the price will be better with this flooding of the market?
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2008
Messages
1,050 (0.24/day)
Location
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Processor i7-3770K
Motherboard Biostar Hi-Fi Z77
Cooling Swiftech H20 (w/Custom External Rad Enclosure)
Memory 16GB DDR3-2400Mhz
Video Card(s) Alienware GTX 1070
Storage 1TB Samsung 850 EVO
Display(s) 32" LG 1440p
Case Cooler Master 690 (w/Mods)
Audio Device(s) Creative X-Fi Titanium
Power Supply Corsair 750-TX
Mouse Logitech G5
Keyboard G. Skill Mechanical
Software Windows 10 (X64)
Does it mean that the price will be better with this flooding of the market?
Have you not been paying attention to SSD pricing over the last several years?
 
Joined
Mar 7, 2010
Messages
571 (0.16/day)
Location
Michigan
System Name Daves
Processor AMD Ryzen 3900x
Motherboard AsRock X570 Taichi
Cooling Enermax LIQMAX III 360
Memory 32 GiG Team Group B Die 3600
Video Card(s) Powercolor 5700 xt Red Devil
Storage Crucial MX 500 SSD and Intel P660 NVME 2TB for games
Display(s) Acer 144htz 27in. 2560x1440
Case Phanteks P600S
Audio Device(s) N/A
Power Supply Corsair RM 750
Mouse EVGA
Keyboard Corsair Strafe
Software Windows 10 Pro
Does it mean that the price will be better with this flooding of the market?
Prices have never been lower, although they have inched up a bit in the last few months.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2013
Messages
2,911 (1.16/day)
Does it mean that the price will be better with this flooding of the market?
It largely depends on the demand, which has been soaring btw & won't abate anytime soon.
Prices have never been lower, although they have inched up a bit in the last few months.
Likely a seasonal blip, even in this part of the world I've seen prices dip below last year's festive season (Oct-Nov) which rarely happens btw NVMe drives aren't getting as cheap as they could rather should be.
 

btarunr

Editor & Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
38,106 (8.42/day)
Location
Hyderabad, India
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Motherboard ASUS ROG Strix B450-E Gaming
Cooling AMD Wraith Prism
Memory 2x 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000
Video Card(s) Palit GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER GameRock
Storage Western Digital Black NVMe 512GB
Display(s) Samsung U28D590 28-inch 4K UHD
Case Corsair Carbide 100R
Audio Device(s) Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D PCIe
Power Supply Cooler Master MWE Gold 650W
Mouse ASUS ROG Strix Impact
Keyboard Microsoft Sidewinder X4
Software Windows 10 Pro
I guess most of Intel's sales are coming from OEMs (notebooks).
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2008
Messages
1,631 (0.39/day)
System Name Lailalo / Edelweiss
Processor Ryzen 1700 @ 3.8Ghz / i7 3610QM @2.3-3.2Ghz
Motherboard Asus X370 Prime/ Lenovo Y580
Cooling Noctua / Big hunk of copper
Memory 16GB DDR4 3200 Ripjaws with Samsung chips / 8GB Hyundai DDR3 1600
Video Card(s) XFX R9 390 / GTX 660M 2GB
Storage Crucial 1TB MX500 SSD, Segate 3TB, 64GB Synapse SSD as Pagefile drive / Western Digital 1TB 7200RPM
Display(s) LG Ultrawide 29in @ 2560x1080 / Lenovo 15.6 @ 1920x1080
Case Coolermaster Storm Sniper / Lenovo Y580
Audio Device(s) Asus Xonar DG / Whatever Lenovo used
Power Supply Antec Truepower Blue 750W + Thermaltake 5.25in 250W / Big Power Brick
Mouse G602
Keyboard G510s
Software Windows 10 Pro / Windows 10 Home
Prices have never been lower, although they have inched up a bit in the last few months.
And only going to get higher with the PS5/etc when those launch.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2019
Messages
467 (1.26/day)
System Name PowerEdge R730 DRS Cluster
Processor 4x Xeon E5-2698 v3
Cooling Many heckin screamy bois
Memory 480GB ECC DDR4-2133
Video Card(s) Matrox G200eR2
Storage SD Card. Yep, really no other local storage.
Display(s) It's probably a couple of boring Dell Ultrasharps and a sacrificial laptop.
Case 39U 6-rack server room with HEVC and 44KVA UPS
Mouse Maybe
Keyboard Yes!
Software ESXi 6.5 U3
Benchmark Scores I once clocked a Celeron-300A to 564MHz on an Abit BE6 and it scored over 9000.
With SLC-mode cache, whether a drive is 3, 4, 5, or 6 bits per cell will become irrelevant until we reach a point where endurance is so bad that drives fail within a reasonable timeframe.

The old TechReport SSD endurance experiment proved that older drives had two orders of magnitude more endurance than any consumer will ever need. QLC endurance diminished that endurance by an order of magnitude, and the passage of time has increased the endurance that your average consumer requires.

At some point - perhaps 5 bits per cell or even lower-grade QLC, we're going to see drives that last barely long enough for a typical consumer build's lifetime.
 
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
1,681 (0.72/day)
Location
Somewhere, nowhere, anywhere but HERE !
System Name The Big Black Smoked One
Processor i7-9700k, oc'd to 4.9 ghz
Motherboard Asus ROG Strix-E Gaming
Cooling CoolerMaster AIO 280mm push/pull, 8x Corsair 140mm ML RGB Fans (Front, top, sides, rear)
Memory 32GB Corsair Vengence RBG pro DDR4-3200 (4x 8GB) in XMP 2x
Video Card(s) Zotac GTX 2080Ti w/15% o/c
Storage 2x WD Black SN750 1TB nvme + 2x 2TB Crucial SSD
Display(s) 2x Samsung 43" LCD's @4k-1440p
Case Thermaltake Level 20 XT
Audio Device(s) Built-in
Power Supply EVGA G2 SuperNova 850W Modular
Mouse DAS Professional mechanical
Keyboard Logitech MX Master 2
Software Windows 10 pro 64 bit, with all the unnecessary background shiite turned OFF !
Benchmark Scores Quicker than flies on a dung pile
oK, so what do they (intel) want now, a pat on the back for reaching this milestone ?

Seems like a moderate accomplishment , considering their size, revenue & influence...

If this translates into lower prices, greater availability, and more innovation in the flash space, then I'm all for that, but if not, it just seems like grandstanding to me :)
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2017
Messages
2,107 (2.11/day)
System Name Best AMD Computer
Processor AMD TR4 1920X
Motherboard MSI X399 SLI Plus
Cooling Alphacool Eisbaer 420 x2 Noctua XPX Pro TR4 block
Memory Gskill RIpjaws 4 3000MHZ 48GB
Video Card(s) Sapphire Vega 64 Nitro, Gigabyte Vega 64 Gaming OC
Storage 6 x NVME 480 GB, 2 x SSD 2TB, 5TB HDD, 2 TB HDD, 2x 2TB SSHD
Display(s) Acer 49BQ0k 4K monitor
Case Thermaltake Core X9
Audio Device(s) Corsair Void Pro, Logitch Z523 5.1
Power Supply Corsair HX1200!
Mouse Logitech g7 gaming mouse
Keyboard Logitech G510
Software Windows 10 Pro 64 Steam. GOG, Uplay, Origin
Benchmark Scores Firestrike: 24955 Time Spy: 13500
Well in my opinion they hit this mark because of how the 600 series is priced and perceived. For months the 660P 2TB was the cheapest NAND based drive you could buy at that capacity. For me there is also the satisfaction equation that Intel scores high with not just the packaging but also the software you can use. In terms of perception the Intel 600 series is the most polarized NVME drive. As a few others have noted NVME prices have been on the rise as well in the last few months. I don't think this will influence lower future pricing as the 665P is more expensive than the 660P even though it uses 96 layer Nand.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
121 (0.05/day)
With SLC-mode cache, whether a drive is 3, 4, 5, or 6 bits per cell will become irrelevant until we reach a point where endurance is so bad that drives fail within a reasonable timeframe.

The old TechReport SSD endurance experiment proved that older drives had two orders of magnitude more endurance than any consumer will ever need. QLC endurance diminished that endurance by an order of magnitude, and the passage of time has increased the endurance that your average consumer requires.

At some point - perhaps 5 bits per cell or even lower-grade QLC, we're going to see drives that last barely long enough for a typical consumer build's lifetime.
Thing that you don't mention is the heat problem. With QLC, you easily reach 110°C without a heatsink. While most of TLC cap out at 90°C if I remember well.
Next step is a fan on it ? :D

TPU made the test, it's horrifying how it can heat so much so fast. They made a test with a 120mm fan on most of them just out of curiosity.
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2017
Messages
2,107 (2.11/day)
System Name Best AMD Computer
Processor AMD TR4 1920X
Motherboard MSI X399 SLI Plus
Cooling Alphacool Eisbaer 420 x2 Noctua XPX Pro TR4 block
Memory Gskill RIpjaws 4 3000MHZ 48GB
Video Card(s) Sapphire Vega 64 Nitro, Gigabyte Vega 64 Gaming OC
Storage 6 x NVME 480 GB, 2 x SSD 2TB, 5TB HDD, 2 TB HDD, 2x 2TB SSHD
Display(s) Acer 49BQ0k 4K monitor
Case Thermaltake Core X9
Audio Device(s) Corsair Void Pro, Logitch Z523 5.1
Power Supply Corsair HX1200!
Mouse Logitech g7 gaming mouse
Keyboard Logitech G510
Software Windows 10 Pro 64 Steam. GOG, Uplay, Origin
Benchmark Scores Firestrike: 24955 Time Spy: 13500
Thing that you don't mention is the heat problem. With QLC, you easily reach 110°C without a heatsink. While most of TLC cap out at 90°C if I remember well.
Next step is a fan on it ? :D

TPU made the test, it's horrifying how it can heat so much so fast. They made a test with a 120mm fan on most of them just out of curiosity.
I have never seen any of my 660Ps hit that temp. Do you have examples?
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2013
Messages
8,540 (3.52/day)
System Name GPD-Q9
Processor Rockchip RK-3288 1.8ghz quad core
Motherboard GPD Q9_V6_150528
Cooling Passive
Memory 2GB DDR3
Video Card(s) Mali T764
Storage 16GB Samsung NAND
Display(s) IPS 1024x600
I've been testing QLC based drives. Out of the 10 purchased, 2 have already failed. The first failed completely(no power up), the second began to develop bad sectors within a month of testing. The rest are still going, but z-sector usage is close to maxing out in the rest. This is two months of testing. And their slow as molasses. Mechanical HDD's are actually faster once the QLC drives get beyond the write buffer.

Unless someone comes up with a breakthrough in W/E cycle durability, QLC is unacceptably fragile.
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
2,120 (0.51/day)
System Name Budget AMD System
Processor Threadripper 1900X @ 4.025Ghz (100x40.25 @ 1.325V)
Motherboard Gigabyte X399 Aorus Gaming 7
Cooling EKWB X399 Monoblock
Memory 4x8GB GSkill TridentZ RGB 14-14-14-34 CR1 @ 2933
Video Card(s) XFX Radeon RX Vega₆⁴ Liquid @ 1,800Mhz Core, 1100 HBM2
Storage 1x ADATA SX8200 NVMe, 1x Segate 2.5" FireCuda 2TB SATA, 1x 500GB HGST SATA
Display(s) Vizio 22" 1080p 60hz TV (Samsung Panel)
Case Corsair 570X
Audio Device(s) Onboard
Power Supply Seasonic X Series 850W KM3
Software Windows 10 Pro x64
My issue with Intel is the way they brick. One major failure and the drive goes into Read Only mode... once. After that, poof. Data gone. Drive self destructs.

Its why I went with the SX8200 480GB model. USA made Micron flash on it. Fast too when hooked to the NVMe slot going straight to the CPU. (TR ftw) Not a bad deal for I believe it was $54.99?
 
Joined
May 5, 2016
Messages
41 (0.03/day)
I was never a big fan of QLC, but I found the 660p to be a compelling drive for the price.

I use a 1TB 660p in my mission-critical office computer. Of that, usage hovers around 100GB which remains in that sweet SLC territory.

My only complaint is that I'd rather be able to set it to 750GB of capacity and force TLC.
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2013
Messages
8,540 (3.52/day)
System Name GPD-Q9
Processor Rockchip RK-3288 1.8ghz quad core
Motherboard GPD Q9_V6_150528
Cooling Passive
Memory 2GB DDR3
Video Card(s) Mali T764
Storage 16GB Samsung NAND
Display(s) IPS 1024x600
My only complaint is that I'd rather be able to set it to 750GB of capacity and force TLC.
That wouldn't work. The controller would still cycle through the voltage phases to rewrite data. Durability would not change.
 
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
1,681 (0.72/day)
Location
Somewhere, nowhere, anywhere but HERE !
System Name The Big Black Smoked One
Processor i7-9700k, oc'd to 4.9 ghz
Motherboard Asus ROG Strix-E Gaming
Cooling CoolerMaster AIO 280mm push/pull, 8x Corsair 140mm ML RGB Fans (Front, top, sides, rear)
Memory 32GB Corsair Vengence RBG pro DDR4-3200 (4x 8GB) in XMP 2x
Video Card(s) Zotac GTX 2080Ti w/15% o/c
Storage 2x WD Black SN750 1TB nvme + 2x 2TB Crucial SSD
Display(s) 2x Samsung 43" LCD's @4k-1440p
Case Thermaltake Level 20 XT
Audio Device(s) Built-in
Power Supply EVGA G2 SuperNova 850W Modular
Mouse DAS Professional mechanical
Keyboard Logitech MX Master 2
Software Windows 10 pro 64 bit, with all the unnecessary background shiite turned OFF !
Benchmark Scores Quicker than flies on a dung pile
Well, IMHO, if these drives are the best they can come up with, then they can K.M.A...

I've been saying that they are low-end drives for a while now, again especially considering their available resources, volume, and market cap...

There are soooo many far better performing drives with less issues than theirs, so those mfgr's will get my drive money way, way before Intel ever will...
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2014
Messages
225 (0.11/day)
Processor Intel Core i7 5820K
Motherboard Asus X99-A
Cooling Cryorig R1
Memory 16GB Corsair DDR4-2800
Video Card(s) RTX 2080ti FE
Storage 512GB Samsung 951 NVME, 1TB Intel 600P, plus a few older Samsung SATA SSD's
Display(s) LG 34GK950F
Case Corsair Air 540
Audio Device(s) Jolita 502A, Jolita GlassFX DSD tube DAC, SVS Prime Bookshelfs, SVS SB-1000
Power Supply Corsair AX850
I bought my 1TB 600p for $84.00, exclusively for game installs. Performs great for that use case.
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2017
Messages
2,107 (2.11/day)
System Name Best AMD Computer
Processor AMD TR4 1920X
Motherboard MSI X399 SLI Plus
Cooling Alphacool Eisbaer 420 x2 Noctua XPX Pro TR4 block
Memory Gskill RIpjaws 4 3000MHZ 48GB
Video Card(s) Sapphire Vega 64 Nitro, Gigabyte Vega 64 Gaming OC
Storage 6 x NVME 480 GB, 2 x SSD 2TB, 5TB HDD, 2 TB HDD, 2x 2TB SSHD
Display(s) Acer 49BQ0k 4K monitor
Case Thermaltake Core X9
Audio Device(s) Corsair Void Pro, Logitch Z523 5.1
Power Supply Corsair HX1200!
Mouse Logitech g7 gaming mouse
Keyboard Logitech G510
Software Windows 10 Pro 64 Steam. GOG, Uplay, Origin
Benchmark Scores Firestrike: 24955 Time Spy: 13500
Well, IMHO, if these drives are the best they can come up with, then they can K.M.A...

I've been saying that they are low-end drives for a while now, again especially considering their available resources, volume, and market cap...

There are soooo many far better performing drives with less issues than theirs, so those mfgr's will get my drive money way, way before Intel ever will...
Interesting. I have Intel 660P and Adata Sx8200. Out of the 2 I would always pick the 660P as my Adata SX8200 2TB pro just gave up the ghost. I have owned it for exactly 3 months and it is not the first Adata drive to do that. Not only that but Intel sells more than this, the 760P is the big brother and competes with other TLC drives. Intel's Optane are undisputed when it comes to be the fastest drive you can buy. The warranty is also quite nice at 5 years.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2019
Messages
467 (1.26/day)
System Name PowerEdge R730 DRS Cluster
Processor 4x Xeon E5-2698 v3
Cooling Many heckin screamy bois
Memory 480GB ECC DDR4-2133
Video Card(s) Matrox G200eR2
Storage SD Card. Yep, really no other local storage.
Display(s) It's probably a couple of boring Dell Ultrasharps and a sacrificial laptop.
Case 39U 6-rack server room with HEVC and 44KVA UPS
Mouse Maybe
Keyboard Yes!
Software ESXi 6.5 U3
Benchmark Scores I once clocked a Celeron-300A to 564MHz on an Abit BE6 and it scored over 9000.
Thing that you don't mention is the heat problem. With QLC, you easily reach 110°C without a heatsink. While most of TLC cap out at 90°C if I remember well.
Next step is a fan on it ? :D

TPU made the test, it's horrifying how it can heat so much so fast. They made a test with a 120mm fan on most of them just out of curiosity.
That makes no sense at all; QLC drives have lower power consumption.

The Intel 660p, for example, has a peak consumption of just 4W, that's about 30% less than most other NVMe drives. It's average power consumption is incredibly low at just 2.2W - not something I would associate with 110°C temperatures you're talking about. More importantly, it thermal throttles at 80°C, which means it can't get any hotter than that by itself. If it isn't drawing as much power as other drives, the laws of physics say that it shouldn't get any hotter than other drives (of the same physical size)

If there was a 110°C SSD in my laptop, I think I'd feel that on my leg. Surprisingly, I don't because mine is running at a perfectly normal 67°C at the moment as I throw a 25GB CrystalDiskmark cycle at it for science.

Which TPU test are your referring to with these insane temperature claims - can you link it please?
I searched TPU's review database for "660p" and "QLC" and there aren't any matches.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
121 (0.05/day)
That makes no sense at all; QLC drives have lower power consumption.

The Intel 660p, for example, has a peak consumption of just 4W, that's about 30% less than most other NVMe drives. It's average power consumption is incredibly low at just 2.2W - not something I would associate with 110°C temperatures you're talking about. More importantly, it thermal throttles at 80°C, which means it can't get any hotter than that by itself. If it isn't drawing as much power as other drives, the laws of physics say that it shouldn't get any hotter than other drives (of the same physical size)

If there was a 110°C SSD in my laptop, I think I'd feel that on my leg. Surprisingly, I don't because mine is running at a perfectly normal 67°C at the moment as I throw a 25GB CrystalDiskmark cycle at it for science.

Which TPU test are your referring to with these insane temperature claims - can you link it please?
I searched TPU's review database for "660p" and "QLC" and there aren't any matches.
Meh indeed I inverted the two tests in my mind, like Crucial P1 in QLC and any TLC NVMe

The fact is I remembered mainly that :
1581706408555.png

Heat is not well dissipated in a QLC chip because of the +33% density over the same (nearly) heat generated on a lower surface.
So it can't handle it.

Some are downgrading transfer speed, some are making rollercoasters in transfer rate, but the problem exists IMHO. Surely not as deep as I remembered but still :

With a fan it's working ! (sadly)
1581706629637.png


Meanwhile TLC can handle higher temperature before throttling :
1581706731966.png
 
Top