Intel SSD DC P3608 AIC NVMe SSD Review


The Intel DC P3608 is a high-performance enterprise NVMe SSD that leverages the add-in-card (AIC) form factor aimed at the database, HPC and real-time analytics. The half-height, half-length (HHHL) cards offer capacities up to 4TB and performance at the top end of 5GB/s sequential read and 3GB/s sequential write, along with 850,000 random 4K read IOPS. The P3608 extends the P3600 series which comes in both 2.5" and AIC form factors. The P3608 effectively combines two P3600s onto one AIC, which yields a doubling of capacity and performance from a single P3600 drive.

The P3608 sits in middle-ground territory within the Intel enterprise SSD portfolio. Where the P3500 family is designed for read-intensive workloads and the P3700 family for write-intensive workloads, the P3600 and P3608 find themselves distinctly targeted to what amounts to the bulk of enterprise use cases, mixed-workloads. As such the P3608 is Intel's multitool, able to handle a variety of applications hitting it at once, a pretty typical scenario in most enterprise environments. The fact that it's an AIC (PCIe 3.0 x8) makes deployment easy too, any modern server will handle the cards without issue, which is not the case for the 2.5" form factor NVMe drives that require a specialized server backplane. We even took the P3608 and used it for testing Dell's latest launch of single-processor servers and found the combination to be quite impressive.

The P3608 is a vertically integrated solution, the NAND, controllers and firmware are all from Intel. The drive uses 20nm MLC NAND with what Intel calls "high endurance technology." This leads to endurance spec of 3 drive writes per day over five years. This translates into roughly 22PB of writes for the 4TB P3608.

The Intel P3608 ships in 1.6TB, 3.2TB and 4TB capacities; our review is of the 1.6TB capacity.

Intel DC P3608 Specifications

  • Capacities: 1.6TB, 3.2TB, 4TB


  • Performance:

    • 4K Random Read IOPS: 850,000

    • 4K Random Write IOPS: 150,000 (1.6TB), 80,000 (3.2TB), 50,000 (4TB)

    • Seq. Read Write MB/s: 5,000/2,000 (1.6TB), 4,500/2,600 (3.2TB), 5,000/3,000 (4TB)

  • Endurance (PBW):

    • 8.76 (1.6TB)

    • 17.52 (3.2TB)

    • 21.90 (4TB)

  • Power (Read/Write):

    • 18/30W (1.6TB)

    • 18/35W (3.2TB)

    • 20/40W (4TB)

  • Power Idle: 11.5W

  • Enhanced Power Loss Management

  • End-to-End Data Protection

  • Dual NVMe Controller

  • Warranty: 5-year

Design and Build

The Intel SSD DC P3608 is certainly a beast of a drive with its half-height, half-length PCIe x4 form factor.  A generously sized heat sink takes up most of the card, as the P3608 does not use any fan-based cooling. The card itself is very well designed with the aluminum cover with a panel on top that consists of the company’s branding.

The x8 PCIe 3.0 interface is located alongside the bottom of the card.

Removing the heat sink shows the NAND packages, each of which leverages Intel’s 20nm NAND technology. The other side of the PCB shows Intel’s new controller.

Testing Background and Comparables

The StorageReview Enterprise Test Lab provides a flexible architecture for conducting benchmarks of enterprise storage devices in an environment comparable to what administrators encounter in real deployments. The Enterprise Test Lab incorporates a variety of servers, networking, power conditioning, and other network infrastructure that allows our staff to establish real-world conditions to accurately gauge performance during our reviews.

We incorporate these details about the lab environment and protocols into reviews so that IT professionals and those responsible for storage acquisition can understand the conditions under which we have achieved the following results. None of our reviews are paid for or overseen by the manufacturer of equipment we are testing. Additional details about the StorageReview Enterprise Test Lab and an overview of its networking capabilities are available on those respective pages.

PS:Reprinted from