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Crucial P5 SSD: Excellent bang for the buck
PCWorld|September 2020
Crucial P5 SSD: Excellent bang for the buck
It’s not the drive for pros writing very large data sets, but for the average user it’s a great deal.
JON L. JACOBI

Having reviewed both Crucial’s P1 and P2 bargain NVMe SSDs, I expected more of the same middling performance from the new P5. I was wrong: The P5 was strictly upper-crust with normal workloads, and actually took home first prize in one test. It’s not the drive you want for extremely long writes, but otherwise—it hauls the freight.

DESIGN AND SPECS

The P5 is available in four capacities: 250GB ($63 on Amazon [go.pcworld.com/p5am]), 500GB ($87 on Amazon [go.pcworld.com/ p5am]), the 1TB we tested ($180 on Amazon [go.pcworld.com/p5am]), and 2TB ($400 on Amazon [go.pcworld.com/p5am]). Those prices are pretty much on track for a midrange NVMe SSD. Note that the 250GB version is rated for half the write speed of the larger versions. This is common across the industry in that capacity. A single NAND chip, instead of the two or more with larger capacities, doesn’t have as many data lines.

The P5 utilizes a Micron-designed controller and 96-layer TLC (Triple-Level Cell/3-bit) NAND, various amounts of which are allocated dynamically as secondary SLC cache. This augments the primary DRAM cache (1GB per 1TB of NAND). SLC cache is simply writing the cell as an off/on binary voltage, rather than the more refined and error-prone voltage required to represent a 2-bit (MLC), 3-bit (TLC), or 4-bit (QLC) value.

The P5 carries a five-year warranty and is rated for 600 TBW (TeraBytes Written) per 1TB of capacity. That’s meager by current standards, but still more data than the average user is likely to write in a decade.

PERFORMANCE

To be clear, my surprise over the P5’s excellent performance is not due to a lack of faith in Micron’s ability to produce a great drive—merely that they’ve sent me only bargain types recently. The numbers garnered by the 1TB P5 I tested were extremely impressive, even during relatively large write tasks.

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September 2020