Power Management Features

Real-world client storage workloads leave SSDs idle most of the time, so the active power measurements presented earlier in this review only account for a small part of what determines a drive's suitability for battery-powered use. Especially under light use, the power efficiency of a SSD is determined mostly be how well it can save power when idle.

For many NVMe SSDs, the closely related matter of thermal management can also be important. M.2 SSDs can concentrate a lot of power in a very small space. They may also be used in locations with high ambient temperatures and poor cooling, such as tucked under a GPU on a desktop motherboard, or in a poorly-ventilated notebook.

Intel SSD 660p 1TB
NVMe Power and Thermal Management Features
Controller Silicon Motion SM2263
Firmware NHF034C
NVMe
Version
Feature Status
1.0 Number of operational (active) power states 3
1.1 Number of non-operational (idle) power states 2
Autonomous Power State Transition (APST) Supported
1.2 Warning Temperature 77°C
Critical Temperature 80°C
1.3 Host Controlled Thermal Management Supported
 Non-Operational Power State Permissive Mode Not Supported

The Intel SSD 660p's power and thermal management feature set is typical for current-generation NVMe SSDs. The rated exit latency from the deepest idle power state is quite a bit faster than what we have measured in practice from this generation of Silicon Motion controllers, but otherwise the drive's claims about its idle states seem realistic.

Intel SSD 660p 1TB
NVMe Power States
Controller Silicon Motion SM2263
Firmware NHF034C
Power
State
Maximum
Power
Active/Idle Entry
Latency
Exit
Latency
PS 0 4.0 W Active - -
PS 1 3.0 W Active - -
PS 2 2.2 W Active - -
PS 3 30 mW Idle 5 ms 5 ms
PS 4 4 mW Idle 5 ms 9 ms

Note that the above tables reflect only the information provided by the drive to the OS. The power and latency numbers are often very conservative estimates, but they are what the OS uses to determine which idle states to use and how long to wait before dropping to a deeper idle state.

Idle Power Measurement

SATA SSDs are tested with SATA link power management disabled to measure their active idle power draw, and with it enabled for the deeper idle power consumption score and the idle wake-up latency test. Our testbed, like any ordinary desktop system, cannot trigger the deepest DevSleep idle state.

Idle power management for NVMe SSDs is far more complicated than for SATA SSDs. NVMe SSDs can support several different idle power states, and through the Autonomous Power State Transition (APST) feature the operating system can set a drive's policy for when to drop down to a lower power state. There is typically a tradeoff in that lower-power states take longer to enter and wake up from, so the choice about what power states to use may differ for desktop and notebooks.

We report two idle power measurements. Active idle is representative of a typical desktop, where none of the advanced PCIe link or NVMe power saving features are enabled and the drive is immediately ready to process new commands. The idle power consumption metric is measured with PCIe Active State Power Management L1.2 state enabled and NVMe APST enabled if supported.

Active Idle Power Consumption (No LPM)Idle Power Consumption

The Intel 660p has a slightly lower active idle power draw than the SM2262-based drives we've tested, thanks to the smaller controller and reduced DRAM capacity. It isn't the lowest active idle power we've measured from a NVMe SSD, but it is definitely better than most high-end NVMe drives. In the deepest idle state our desktop testbed can use, we measure an excellent 10mW draw.

Idle Wake-Up Latency

The Intel 660p's idle wake-up time of about 55ms is typical for Silicon Motion's current generation of controllers and much better than their first-generation NVMe controller as used in the Intel SSD 600p. The Phison E12 can wake up in under 2ms from a sleep state of about 52mW, but otherwise the NVMe SSDs that wake up quickly were saving far less power than the 660p's deep idle.

Mixed Read/Write Performance Conclusion
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  • eastcoast_pete - Tuesday, August 7, 2018 - link

    Firstly, thanks for calling me one of the "idiots salivating over elusive real world endurance rating numbers". I guess it takes one to know one, or think you found one. Second, I am quite aware of the need to have a sufficient sample size to make any inference to the real world. And third, I asked the question because this is new NAND tech (QLC), and I believe it doesn't hurt to put the test sample that the manufacturer sends through its paces for a while, because if that shows any sign of performance deterioration after a week or so of intense use, it doesn't bode well for the maturity of the tech and/or the in-house QC.
    And, your last comment about your 80 GB near first gen drive shows your own ignorance. Most/maybe all of those early SSDs were SLC NAND, and came with large overprovisioning, and yes, they are very hard to kill. This new QLC technology is, well, new, so yes I would like to see some stress testing done, just to see if the assumption that it's all just fine holds, at least for the drive the manufacturer provided.
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, August 7, 2018 - link

    If a product ships with a defect that is shared by all of its kind then only one unit is needed to expose it. Reply
  • mapesdhs - Wednesday, August 8, 2018 - link

    Proof by negation, good point. :) Reply
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, August 8, 2018 - link

    That's a big if, though. If say 80% of them do and Anandtech gets the one that doesn't, then...

    2nd gen OCZ Sandforce drives were well reviewed when they first came out.
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, August 10, 2018 - link

    "2nd gen OCZ Sandforce drives were well reviewed when they first came out."

    That's because OCZ pulled a bait and switch, switching from 32-bit NAND, which the controller was designed for, to 64-bit NAND. The 240 GB model with 64-bit NAND, in particular, had terrible bricking problems.

    Beyond that, there should have been pressure on Sandforce's decision to brick SSDs "to protect their firmware IP" rather than putting users' data first. Even prior to the severe reliability problems being exposed, that should have been looked at. But, there is generally so much passivity and deference in the tech press.
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, August 10, 2018 - link

    This example shows why it's important for the tech press to not merely evaluate the stuff they're given but go out and get products later, after the initial review cycle. It's very interesting to see the stealth downgrades that happen.

    The Lenovo S-10 netbook was praised by reviewers for having a matte screen. The matte screen, though, was replaced by a cheaper-to-make glossy later. Did Lenovo call the machine with a glossy screen the S-11? Nope!

    Sapphire, I just discovered, got lots of reviewer hype for its vapor chamber Vega cooler, only to replace the models with those. The difference? The ones with the vapor chamber are, so conveniently, "limited edition". Yet, people have found that the messaging about the difference has been far from clear, not just on Sapphire's website but also on some review sites. It's very convenient to pull this kind of bait and switch. Send reviewers a better product then sell customers something that seems exactly the same but which is clearly inferior.
    Reply
  • southleft - Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - link

    SSDs replaced under warranty by the maker can sometimes have a silver lining, so to speak. Some years ago we had an Intel X25 80GB fail. Intel replaced it with a newer model 320 which was basically the same but updated to SATA III. We also had a Sandisk Ultra 120GB fail, and Sandisk replaced it with an Ultra 2. These newer replacement models are still running OK some 6 years later, for what it's worth! Reply
  • chrcoluk - Wednesday, September 25, 2019 - link

    I agree, this is more important than hitting embargo date for publishing.

    Its the content not the date that matters. If it takes a year to do it, then so be it. I never buy hardware on release date, to me that's just stupid.
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, August 7, 2018 - link

    People trusted Samsung with the 840 and then, oops...

    The real rule is verify then trust.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs - Wednesday, August 8, 2018 - link

    One thing about the 840 EVO issue which was a real pain was trying to find out if the same thing affected the standard 840. In the end my conclusion was yes, but few sites bothered to mention it. Oddly enough, of the many SSDs I have, one of the very few that did die was a standard 840. I never bought an 840 EVO because of the reports that came out, but I have a fair few 840 Pros and a heck of a lot of OCZs. Reply

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