Crucial P1 Review: Low Cost Meets Wild Performance
The Crucial P1 is the first NVMe solid-state drive (SSD) from Micron and continues the low-cost trend found in the MX500 and BX500.
Indeed, at just $.22 per gigabyte, the new drive costs much less than other NVMe SSDs, like the Samsung 970 Evo or the WD Black.
But the affordability comes with potentially deal-breaking catches. The P1 can’t handle heavy loads and has relatively low endurance. Thus, heavy users or those wanting to put a lot of data on it quickly should steer away.
On the other hand, if you’re a casual user, the P1 can be an excellent entry-level NVMe drive.
The Crucial P1 is a 2280 standard NVMe solid-state drive.
Table of Contents
Crucial P1: First QLC NVMe SSD
Not only the P1 is Micron’s first NMVe SSD, but it’s also the first that uses its quad-level cell (QLC) NAND flash memory as the storage space.
Initially, SSDs use single-layer-cell (SLC) of NAND flash memory which stores only a single bit per cell. This type of memory is super-fast and reliable but expensive. As a result, nowadays SLC is available just in enterprise SSDs.
To make consumer-grade SSDs more affordable, storage vendors have moved on to MLC (two bits per cell), then TLC (three bits per cell). And now the P1’s QLC NAND stores four bits per cell.
This high-density level means you can store more data on the same piece of a silicon wafer and drive the cost down. But in return, the SSD’s performance and its endurance — the amount of data you can write on the drive before you can’t anymore — can take a beating. And that’s the case of the P1.
Crucial P1: Hardware specifications
|Design||M. 2 2280 S3 (Single-Sided)||M.2 2280 D2 (Double-Sided)|
|Interface||PCIe 3.0 x4||PCIe 3.0 x4||PCIe 3.0 x4|
|NVMe version||MVMe 1.3||MVMe 1.3||MVMe 1.3|
|Controller||Silicon Motion SM2263EN||Silicon Motion SM2263EN||Silicon Motion SM2263EN|
|NAND Flash||Micron 64L 3D QLC||Micron 64L 3D QLC||Micron 64L 3D QLC|
|DRAM||512MB DDR3||1GB DDR3||2GB DDR3|
|Sequential Read||1,900 MB/s||2,000 MB/s||2,000 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||950 MB/s||1,700 MB/s||1,750 MB/s|
|Random Read QD1||90,000 IOPS||170,000 IOPS||250,000 IOPS|
|Random Write QD1||220,000 IOPS||240,000 IOPS||250,000 IOPS|
|Endurance (Terabytes Written)||100 TBW||200 TBW||400 TBW|
|Warranty||5 Years||5 Years||5 Years|
Crucial P1’s hardware specifications.
Relatively low endurance
The P1 is available in 500GB and 1000GB that has an endurance rating of 100 terabytes written (TBW) and 200TBW, respectively. (The 2000GB version will be available later this year and will have an endurance of 400TBW). That’s six times less endurance than the Samsung 970 Evo, which uses MLC NAND.
Also in my testing, despite having a small amount of expensive SLC NAND as a cache, the P1 delivered a mixed performance. (More below). What’s more, the drive doesn’t feature hardware encryption, either, so it’s not suitable for business applications.
Crucial P1: Detail photos
The P1 is inferior to other non-QLC NVMe SSDs. However, for most consumers, its shortcomings — at least some of them — might not matter much.
Take the endurance, for example, if you write 50 GB — that’s two Blu-ray discs worth of data — on a 1000GB P1 per day and every day, that’d still take you more than five years to wear out its endurance. Since most of us write a lot less than that per day, the drive’s low endurance rating is not a big deal.
What you should care about, however, is the performance and the P1 proved to be a compelling case in my tests.
Crucial P1: Wild performance
The P1 is the first drive I’ve worked with that showed huge performance degradation depending on how much you want to write to it continuously.
Indeed, generally, if you’re going to write about 130GB or less of data to the drive at a time, you’ll have a performance on par with other NVMe SSDs.
For standard copy tests, I used 100GB of data, and the P1 did quite well, as shown in the chart below. It’s not the fastest among NVMe peers by any stretch of the imagination, but still many times faster than even the speediest SATA SSDs.
However, when I wrote more than 130GB to the drive, starting with gigabyte number 131 or so, its performance dropped significantly — some ten folds — to just some 100MB/s. And then its speed continued to get even slower, to a crawling 50MB/s at some point, until the end of the copy job.
I also noted that the amount of data I could copy at a fast speed varied. It got progressively smaller the longer I used the computer.
Specifically, with a fresh boot, I got the 130GB pass. After having used the computer for a while running everyday tasks, or after a light copy job, I could only get 100GB or 50GB, or even less, at a fast speed before the performance degradation occurred.
The Crucial P1’s performance at the beginning (top) and the end of a big copy job.
The reason likely is during heavy loads, the drive runs out of the cache and what you have left is its true QLC NAND performance. The P1 only performs well when it can use its cache, which is limited. In a way, this drive is like a sprinter and not a marathoner. It needs a serious break after a short dash.
But don’t get too disappointed! In daily usage, without the intention to stress the drive, I didn’t notice the performance issue. The test computer still booted fast (taking just a few seconds), and most applications launched quickly.
Overall, in my experience, simple everyday tasks, like emailing, web-surfing, and even media streaming, don’t push P1 past its performance degradation threshold.
7 out of 10
6.5 out of 10
8.5 out of 10
Fast performance for casual computing
Significant performance degradation during heavy or prolonged write operations
Relatively low endurance
No hardware encryption
Thanks to the pricing, the Crucial P1 is enticing to those wanting to upgrade to NVMe. And indeed, if you’re a light user, you’ll be happy with it.
However, due to the lack of the ability to handle heavy loads and extended operations with persistently fast performance, the drive has unpleasant surprises for heavy users.
For this reason, if you edit videos or have to deal with a large amount of data regularly, pick the WD Black, the Samsung 970 Evo, or even the Toshiba RC100, instead.
Tune in! Sign up for DKT newsletter!
Also check out these 🔥 Amazon deals!
Crucial P5 vs Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus
The Crucial P5 and the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus are in direct competition with each other. The read and write performance of the two NVMe drives are on a similarly high level and the broad target groups addressed, from gamers and professional users to normal users, are also similar. Is the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus or the Crucial P5 the better choice in comparison?
— ADS —
Advantages Crucial P5 compared to Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus
- Tendency to lower price
- Lower cost per gigabyte
- Higher theoretical lifetime MTTF/MTBF
Advantages Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus compared to Crucial P5
- Better values for read and write speed
find best buy SSD on eBay. com
shop worldwide on | Amazon.com #ad | computeruniverse.net | eBay.com | AliExpress.com |
Matching interface and memory type
The Crucial P5 and the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus show many parallels. The two SSD hard disks use the M.2 port for connection to the system and the PCI Express 3.0 interface with the 4 lanes for communication. The external dimensions of 22 mm in width and 80 mm in length correspond to the 2280 standard. Both Crucial and Samsung rely on the 3-bit TLC for the flash memory type, which is a good combination of performance, durability and cost per gigabyte. The theoretical memory life of the Crucial P5 is 1.8 million hours compared to 1.5 million hours for the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus.
Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus Series (Source: Samsung)
Comparison of speed and performance
In terms of performance, only slight differences can be found between the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus and the Crucial P5 in comparison. The SSD from Samsung reaches with 3,500 MB/s in sequential reading only an almost insignificantly higher value compared to the 3,400 MB/s of the SSD from Crucial. With the sequential write speed, the differences are a bit more obvious, especially with the weakening small capacities. While the two SSDs can only write a maximum of about 3,000 MB/s, the 250 GB versions of the Crucial P5 and the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus are only 1,400 MB/s and 2,300 MB/s respectively.
Similarities in storage capacities and warranty
Regarding the selection of capacities as well as the equipment the Crucial P5 and the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus have again many similarities. The storage sizes of the two drives start with the beginner-friendly 250 GB and round off with the 500 GB and 1 TB variants with 2 TB upwards. The manufacturer’s warranty is very close to the customer and lasts 5 years, with the same amount of allowed writing (TBW). The Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus and the Crucial P5 each come with only the SSD hard drive. However, the two manufacturers provide very useful tools for management and cloning on their websites as downloads.
Crucial P5 Series (Source: Crucial)
Conclusion SSD comparison – Crucial P5 and Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus differences
In summary, it can be said that the Crucial P5 and the Samsung SSD 970 EVO are equally a recommendation without any doubt. In fact, the differences between the two NVMe SSD drives are almost negligible. The advantages of the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus are the higher maximum achievable performance, especially writing in the smallest version with 250 GB. The Crucial P5 can score in comparison with the tendency of lower costs per gigabyte with very similar performance values. Finally, you can decide between the Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus or the Crucial P5 with a clear conscience based on the current prices and your own preferences.
find best buy SSD on eBay.com
shop worldwide on | Amazon.com #ad | computeruniverse.net | eBay.com | AliExpress.com |
Crucial P5 vs Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus – Technical data comparison differences
|product||Crucial P5||Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus|
|form factor||M.2 2280 SSD||M.2 2280 SSD|
|interface||PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe||PCIe Gen 3. 0 x4, NVMe|
|dimensions||M.2 2280 standard||M.2 2280 standard|
|NAND type||3 Bit TLC||3 Bit TLC|
|sequential read||3.400 MB/s||3.500 MB/s|
|sequential write||1.400 MB/s (250 GB)
3.000 MB/s (500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB)
|2.300 MB/s (250 GB)
3.200 MB/s (500 GB)
3.300 MB/s (1 TB, 2 TB)
|reliability (MTTF)||1,8 million hours||1,5 million hours|
|TBW||150 TB (250 GB)
300 TB (500 GB)
600 TB (1 TB)
1.200 TB (2 TB)
|150 TB (250 GB)
300 TB (500 GB)
600 TB (1 TB)
1.200 TB (2 TB)
|warranty||5 years limited||5 years limited|
crucial ssdsamsung ssdssd comparisonssd differencesssd pros and cons
upvoted heartily / Drives
Samsung has long been a center player in the consumer SSD market. And the superiority of the South Korean manufacturer is quite natural: over the past few years, it has been offering the best SSDs for the mass market, which outperform competing offerings both in performance and in terms of support and reliability. Samsung was able to show its technological superiority especially clearly with the growing popularity of NVMe drives. Being one of the first manufacturers to see the promise of a new high-speed interface, Samsung has long been a leader in this segment, offering users the best SSDs in this class.
However, not feeling worthy of competition, last year Samsung somewhat slowed down the pace of improving its products, and the announcement of the 970 EVO in May did not become another revolution that users were waiting for from the company. This model only slightly increased performance compared to the «people’s favorite» 960 EVO, which opened a «window of opportunity» for Samsung’s competitors. And they did not fail to use this window.
As a vivid illustration of what has been said, I would like to quote from our final article about the SSD market last year: “ If a year ago, Samsung 960 EVO was the benchmark for consumer NVMe SSD , demonstrating fundamentally better performance compared to any other option, then in 2018 everything has changed radically. And even though the South Korean manufacturer has updated its main offering with the improved 970 EVO , today the best price-performance ratio NVMe SSD is no longer in the assortment of Samsung . Now there are already at least two alternative platforms, drives based on which can offer at least as good consumer qualities as .
Indeed, the WD Black NVMe SSD and ADATA Ultimate SX8200, which appeared in the second half of last year, could seriously undermine Samsung’s hegemony. These drives offered a better combination of price and performance than the Samsung 970 EVO, which, although it did not undermine the sales of the South Korean manufacturer’s products, at least hurt its pride. So it’s no surprise that the retaliatory move was not long in coming: today Samsung is announcing an upgraded NVMe drive that should become a new enthusiast favorite.70 EVO Plus. And although its name seems to hint that this is just an improved version of the 970 EVO, the manufacturer promises a very noticeable improvement in performance. In a press release, they write about the new product: “ Thanks to the combination of the latest technology V -NAND and firmware optimizations, 970 EVO Plus provides random write performance 57% higher than 97 0 EVO «. And such a noticeable increase in one of the basic characteristics makes us believe that we have a model that can really become a new icon in the consumer NVMe SSD segment.
The release of the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is also interesting for another reason. This drive is one of the first to use 3D flash memory with 96 layers. Formally, Toshiba has already announced such models, but the 970 EVO Plus is a much more mass-produced product, on the example of which we can trace the trend — what the further growth of the flash memory structure in the vertical dimension leads to.
In short, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is a re-release of the well-known 970 EVO, timed to coincide with the move to denser fifth generation TLC 3D V-NAND with 96 layers. The regular 970 EVO used fourth-generation 64-layer memory, but now Samsung has a more progressive filling ready, which, on the one hand, has a reduced cost, and on the other, has improved performance and power consumption. Mass production of 96-layer memory began at Samsung enterprises back in July last year, but now its volume and yield have reached such proportions that the manufacturer has begun officially transferring its current drives to such memory.
But in fact, the 970 EVO Plus is not the first Samsung product to use fifth-generation flash memory. Since the fall of last year, small batches of Samsung 860 EVO have been delivered to the market, transferred from 64-layer to 96-layer TLC 3D V-NAND, and if you bought such drives towards the end of the year, then it is likely that you could get a version with updated memory. You can find out about this from the detailed model number given on the drive: if the third character from the end is “B”, then you have an improved version of the 860 EVO based on fifth generation memory.
However, in the case of the Samsung 860 EVO, the move to 96-layer memory changed almost nothing. The fact is that the characteristics of this drive are largely limited by the controller and the SATA interface, so the manufacturer decided not to announce a change in the filling for this model. But in the case of the 970 EVO NVMe drive, the changes turned out to be really very noticeable.
Fifth generation flash memory has received an updated Toggle DDR 4.0 interface with a 40% increase in bandwidth, as well as a lower operating voltage from 1.8 to 1.2 V. In addition, latencies have noticeably decreased in it: the speed of writing to cells has increased by about 30%, and the response time when reading has decreased by 37% — up to 50 μs. In other words, the application of the new 96-layer memory, subject to proper firmware optimization, can increase the performance of the drive, which is illustrated by the Samsung 970 EVO Plus. All the basic performance characteristics have increased in it: both the linear recording speed and the performance during random operations, and we are talking about a fairly noticeable progress.
|Samsung 970 EVO||Samsung 970 EVO Plus||Growth|
|Linear read speed, MB/s||Up to 3500||Up to 3500||0%|
|Linear write speed, MB/s||Up to 2500||Up to 3300||32%|
|Random Read Speed, QD1, IOPS||Up to 15000||Up to 19000||27%|
|Random write speed, QD1, IOPS||Up to 50000||Up to 60000||20%|
|Random Read Speed, QD32 — 4 Threads, IOPS||Up to 500000||Up to 600000||20%|
|Random write speed, QD32 — 4 streams, IOPS||Up to 480000||Up to 550000||15%|
However, you need to understand that the Samsung 970 EVO Plus remains a close relative of the 970 EVO and is equipped with exactly the same eight-channel Phoenix controller with five ARM cores as its predecessor. Still, the performance improvements are due solely to the use of new flash memory and the firmware optimizations necessary to build the correct work with it.
It is appropriate to recall here that the 96-layer TLC 3D V-NAND, which is designed and manufactured by Samsung, is fundamentally different from similar memory from other manufacturers. Samsung’s approach involves growing 96-layer semiconductor chips in a single process, while other manufacturers practice assembling 96-layer chips from a pair of 48-layer blanks. It was this engineering approach of the South Korean manufacturer that made it possible, on the one hand, to introduce a significant number of improvements at this stage, and on the other hand, to maintain a low and convenient capacity of 256 Gb crystals for modern SSDs. Therefore built on 9With 6-layer memory of the fifth generation, Samsung’s SSDs are definitely better than existing and promising competing products.
At least their specs look really promising.
|Manufacturer||970 EVO Plus|
|Form factor||M.2 2280|
|Interface||PCI Express 3.0 x4 — NVMe 1.3|
|Flash memory: type, manufacturing process, manufacturer||Samsung 9x-layer 256Gb 3D TLC V-NAND|
|Buffer: type, volume||LPDDR4, 512 MB||LPDDR4 1 GB|
|Max. sustained sequential read speed, MB/s||3500||3500||3500|
|Max. sustained sequential write speed, MB/s||2300||3200||3300|
|Max. random read speed (4 KB blocks), IOPS||250,000||480 000||600 000|
|Max. random write speed (4 KB blocks), IOPS||550 000||550 000||550 000|
|Power consumption: idle / read-write, W||0.05/4.2-6.0|
|MTBF (mean time between failures), million h||1.5|
|Recording resource, TB||150||300||600|
|Dimensions: L × H × D, mm||80. 15 x 22.15 x 2.38|
|Warranty period, years||5|
First of all, it is worth noting that in everything that does not concern performance, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus repeats the characteristics of its predecessor. In particular, with the transition to a new memory, there were no changes in the terms of the guarantee and the declared resource. The warranty period for the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is the same five years, and the maximum resource is determined based on the ability to overwrite a third of the drive’s capacity per day.
The similarities between the 970 EVO Plus and the 970 EVO include the recommended prices. They are exactly the same for drives of different series, and in the end, the new 970 EVO Plus models will force out the SSD of the previous family, which are currently being discontinued.
However, as follows from the above table, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus model range does not yet have a drive with a capacity of 2 TB, while the 970 EVO of this size exists. This is explained by the fact that Samsung has not yet managed to launch the release of the fifth generation 512-gigabit TLC 3D V-NAND crystals necessary for increasing the capacity, and the 2-terabyte version 970 EVO Plus will be released at a later date (April is given as a tentative time target).
As for the increase in performance, it is associated exclusively with changes in the characteristics of the flash memory. There are no tricks in the Samsung 970 EVO Plus firmware, and the Intellegent TurboWrite SLC caching technology works exactly the same in this SSD as in the 970 EVO. The fast cache is formed from two segments: static, 3 or 6 GB in size, and dynamic, the size of which can be several times larger. While the static segment resides in the spare area of the flash array, the dynamic segment uses the unallocated portion of the main flash array and therefore can vary in size depending on how much free space is available on the drive.
|Storage capacity, GB||250||500||1000|
|Total SLC cache, GB||3-13||3-22||6-42|
|Static part, GB||4||4||6|
|Dynamic part, GB||Up to 9||Up to 18||Up to 36|
It’s very easy to illustrate how Intellegent TurboWrite works with the graphs of continuous sequential write speed on the Samsung 970 EVO Plus version of various capacities (measurements were made in the most advantageous situation — on a free SSD).
The size of the SLC cache in the 970 EVO Plus has not changed compared to the 970 EVO, but the speeds have clearly increased both when writing data in the SLC mode and when writing directly to the TLC memory array. In high-speed mode, versions of a drive with a capacity of 500 GB and higher now give out 3. 2-3.3 GB / s limit for the PCI Express 3.0 x4 interface, and when writing directly to a flash memory array in TLC mode, the speed of a terabyte model can reach incredible 1.7 GB/s. The graphs well reveal the fact that the linear recording performance of the 970 EVO Plus really improved by 35-50% in absolutely any situation.
Moreover, if you don’t go beyond the SLC cache, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is even more productive than the 970 PRO MLC drive! And this means that Samsung’s new massive NVMe SSD can safely be declared the drive with the fastest TLC memory in write mode. True, the gap from competing products is not too big. Almost the same speed of writing to a flash memory array in TLC mode can be offered by WD Black NVMe based on 64-layer SanDisk BiCS3 memory.
⇡#Exterior and interior design
In appearance, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is almost the same as its predecessor. The novelty is made in the form factor M.2 2280 and has a one-sided design. Traditional stickers are placed on both surfaces of the drive. On the reverse side there is a special heat-dissipating label with a layer of copper foil, and on the front side there is an information label that contains detailed information about the product, including serial number, article number, release date and a key to reset the encryption.
If you remove the stickers from the drive, you can see that the Samsung 970 EVO Plus has inherited the PCB layout from the 970 EVO. The only difference is in the range of installed microcircuits. Here, for example, is what the exposed 500 GB version of the 970 EVO Plus looks like.
The Phoenix base controller is the easiest to recognize as it has a nickel-plated cover to facilitate heat dissipation. Next to it is an LPDDR4 memory chip, which is used to store a copy of the address translation table. Its capacity is standard and is determined at the rate of 1 MB per 1 GB of flash memory. The TLC 3D V-NAND array is equipped with two chips, each of which contains 4, 8 or 16 semiconductor crystals, depending on the capacity of the SSD.
For example, a half-terabyte drive uses chips with 8 flash memory chips inside, since the capacity of the fifth generation 96-layer TLC 3D V-NAND chips used in the 970 EVO Plus is 256 Gbps. Thus, the Phoenix controller in the Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500 GB can use two device interleaving in each of its channels. For this reason, the fastest option in the 970 EVO series is the 1TB model.
Declared volumes for 9 series representatives70 EVO Plus are multiples of 250 GB, which means that approximately 91 percent of the total amount of installed flash memory is available to the user. Another 2.5-4.5 percent of the capacity is given over to a static SLC cache, which works as part of the Intellegent TurboWrite technology. The rest of the space is used by the controller for internal needs — for garbage collection, wear leveling and for a reserve fund.
Samsung’s mass drives are traditionally equipped with Magician’s proprietary service utility, which, starting from version 5. 3, is also compatible with 970 EVO Plus. It is customary to set this utility as an example of what software should be accompanied by consumer SSDs, because it is not so easy to make any claims about its functionality or interface.
Samsung Magician 5.3 allows you to get general information about the drive, its operating mode, firmware version and the amount of recorded data. The utility also makes it possible to get acquainted with the state of the attributes returned in S.M.A.R.T.
The program allows you to evaluate the performance of the drive and make sure it is fully compatible with the system in which it is installed.
Using Magician, you can manually send a TRIM command packet to the drive, as well as adjust the size of the unallocated space by the file system by transferring part of the SSD capacity to an additional reserve zone.
Magician also manages Samsung 970 EVO Plus’ AES-256 hardware encryption features that are compatible with the full range of current standards (including Microsoft eDrive/Encrypted Drive-IEEE1667 and TCG Opal).