Model: Crucial P2 500GB PCIe M.2 Solid State Drive
Provided By: Crucial
Crucial is a global brand of Micron Technology, Inc., one of the largest memory and flash storage manufacturers in the world. The company's product lineup includes award-winning solid state drives (SSDs) and computer memory upgrades (DRAM) for more than 50,000 systems. These products have been qualified and approved by major original equipment manufacturers and every single module has been rigorously tested at the component and module level. Each SSD also undergoes over a thousand hours of prerelease validation testing and hundreds of qualification tests to ensure optimal reliability and performance.
Earlier this year, Crucial added two new PCIe SSDs to its product lineup. In addition to the high-performance P5, the company launched a new entry-level model, the P2. Built for value-conscious customers looking for a fast, yet affordable, SSD, this M.2 form factor drive is powered by Phison's PS5013-E13T controller and offers features like Dynamic Write Acceleration, Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN), multistep data integrity algorithms and adaptive thermal protection. The P2 is also available with up to 2TB of Micron's 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash and is equipped with ultra-fast PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe 1.3 interface to deliver up to 2,400 MB/s read and 1,900 MB/s write speeds.
The P2 is available in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities. For this review, Crucial sent us the 500GB version of the drive which is capable of delivering up to 2,300 MB/s sequential read and 940 MB/s sequential write speeds as well as up to 95,000 random read and 215,000 random write IOPS.
|Crucial P2 500GB PCIe M.2 Solid State Drive|
Needless to say, this is only a taste of what the P2 has to offer. To give you an idea of what to expect, we'll take a closer look at Crucial's new PCIe SSD and then see how well it performs. Does the P2 have what it takes? More importantly, is it the best bang for your buck? Keep reading as we find out.
The P2 comes in a small, blue and white box. While there aren't a lot of technical details, the packaging advertises some of the drive's key features including its 500GB capacity, support for NVMe, and 5 year warranty. The back of the box also has a small window that lets you see the drive and view the QR code on it. Inside, you'll find the P2 as well as a small guide with information on where you can get additional help and download the migration and cloning software.
The P2 uses the 2280 form factor for M.2 (NGFF) SSDs. It measures 22 x 80 x 2.4 mm and tips the scales at around 6g. The drive also has an "M key" edge connector which provides PCIe SSDs with up to 4x lanes of bandwidth.
The P2 uses Phison's PS5013-E13T controller chip. Designed to provide an enhanced user experience at a competitive cost, this DRAM-less, PCIe Gen 3 x4 SSD controller offers support for 3D TLC/QLC NAND flash and features end-to-end data path protection, thermal throttling, SmartECC technology and a low-density parity-check (LDPC) ECC algorithm for improved drive reliability. The PS5013-E13T also supports APST, ASPM, and L1.2 power saving modes to maximize notebook battery life along with the Secure Erase command to sanitize all user data and restore factory settings.
For the 500GB version of the P2, Crucial opted to use Micron's 96-layer TLC NAND flash. If you'd remove the sticker, you'd see that there are two 512GB NAND flash packages on the top of the PCB. Also take note that there is no DRAM cache chip. The P2's PS5013-E13T controller takes full advantage of NVMe's Host Memory Buffer feature by using a small portion of the computer's memory to cache the mapping tables.
The test system used in this review is equipped with an Intel Core i7-6700K CPU, GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-UD3 motherboard, 32GB (16GB x 2) of Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 memory, Samsung 960 PRO 512GB SSD and a GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 WINDFORCE OC 6G graphics card. For the operating system, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 10 Enterprise.
To test the performance of Crucial's P2 SSD, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark, HD Tach RW, ATTO Disk Benchmark, AS SSD, HD Tune Pro, Anvil's Storage Utilities, Iometer and PCMark. For comparison, I've also included test results from the SK hynix Gold P31, Crucial P5, ADATA SWORDFISH, ADATA FALCON, Lexar NM610, Silicon Power P34A60, Patriot P300, Plextor M9PG Plus, Plextor M9PY Plus, ADATA XPG SX6000 Pro, Western Digital WD Black SN750, Samsung 970 EVO Plus, ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro, Crucial P1, ADATA XPG SX8200, Western Digital WD Black NVMe, Samsung 970 EVO, Samsung 970 PRO, Plextor M9Pe, Plextor M8Se, Patriot Hellfire, ADATA XPG SX8000, Samsung 960 PRO, Toshiba OCZ RD400, Samsung 950 PRO, Samsung 870 QVO, Silicon Power P60, SK hynix Gold S31, ADATA Ultimate SU750, Samsung 860 QVO, Samsung 860 PRO, Crucial MX500, Plextor M8V, Samsung T5, Crucial BX300 and ADATA Ultimate SU900.
As I mentioned earlier, the P2 uses Phison's PS5013-E13T controller chip. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that there is a considerable performance difference when reading incompressible (0%) and compressible (100%) data.
First, I ran a few quick tests using CrystalDiskMark. This benchmark tool measures the performance of a storage device by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its random read and write speeds using blocks 512K and 4K in size.
According to Crucial, the 500GB version of the P2 is capable of reading at 2,300 MB/s and writing at 940 MB/s. Looking at the screenshots above, you can see that the drive exceeded these numbers by a considerable margin in CrystalDiskMark's sequential read and write speed tests.
The P2's performance was better for the most part when using highly compressible 0x00 (0 Fill) data. This time around, the drive was able to read at 3,313 MB/s and write at 3,207 MB/s.
HD Tach RW 220.127.116.11:
Next, I used HD Tach to test the P2's read, write and burst speeds as well as its seek times and CPU usage.
Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the P2 had average read and write speeds of 1222.8 MB/s and 1658.4 MB/s respectively, as well as a burst speed of 1036.1 MB/s.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46:
I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the P2's sequential read and write speeds. The tests are run using blocks ranging in size from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length set to 256MB.
When tested with ATTO, the P2's read speeds topped out at about 3,296 MB/s and its write speeds at 3,221 MB/s.
AS SSD is a relatively new benchmark designed specifically for solid state drives. The application contains five synthetic tests used to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of a drive.
AS SSD also includes a copy benchmark. This test copies an ISO (two large files), program (many small files) and game (small and large files), returning the speed and duration of each.
HD Tune Pro 5.00:
Next, I ran a series of tests using HD Tune Pro. This hard disk utility measures a drive's performance by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its access time, burst rate and CPU usage. For this review, I'm also going to use it to benchmark the P2's random read and write speeds, random access times and the number of operations per second.
The P2 performed relatively well when benchmarked with HD Tune. The drive had average read and write speeds of 2160.6 MB/s and 2008.6 MB/s, respectively.
When reading 4KB blocks, the P2 reached 44,718 IOPS and had an average speed of 174.682 MB/s. The drive was even faster when writing, reaching 48,355 IOPS with an average speed of 188.890 MB/s.
Anvil's Storage Utilities:
Anvil's Storage Utilities is another benchmark designed with SSDs in mind. The standard storage benchmark measures a drive's performance by testing its transfer speeds, access times and IOPS.
Lastly, I ran a series of tests using Iometer. This tool can be configured to benchmark a number of things. In this case, I used it to measure the P2's read and write speeds and the number of operations per second. The tests were run using random bytes and a queue depth of 3.
The P2's performance was very similar to what we saw in our other tests. The drive was able to read at 2203.11 MB/s and write at 1722.90 MB/s.
The P2 also performed fairly well when doing random reads and writes. In our tests, the drive was able to read at 295.50 MB/s and write at 671.86 MB/s.
According to Crucial, the 500GB P2 is capable of 95,000 IOPS when reading and 215,000 IOPS when writing 4K blocks. In our tests, the drive reached 75,647 random read IOPS and 171,997 random write IOPS. As with most drives, the P2 performed better at higher queue depths. With four threads and the queue depth set to 32, it reached 328,009 random read IOPS and 240,456 random write IOPS.
PCMark 8 - Storage Test:
PCMark 8 is a complete benchmark for Windows. It includes five benchmark tests, each designed around a specific scenario. The storage benchmark measures drive performance using real-world traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games.
PCMark 8 also includes a consistency test which measures the performance consistency and degradation tendency of a storage system. The test reports the performance level at the start, the degraded steady-state and the recovered state as well as the number of iterations required to reach the degraded state and the recovered state. For this test, we are focusing on the Adobe Photoshop (Heavy) trace and will look at both the bandwidth and latency of the drive
The P2 didn't do as well as some of the other drives in this test. Its bandwidth dropped below 70 MB/s during the degradation and steady state phases, pushing its latency above the 500ms mark. The P2's performance increased somewhat during the recovery phase. However, it lagged well behind the drives from SK hynix, Lexar and Silicon Power, topping out at only 161 MB/s.
PCMark 10 - Full System Drive Benchmark:
PCMark 10's Full System Drive Benchmark uses a wide-ranging set of real-world traces from popular applications and common tasks to fully test the performance of the fastest modern drives. This benchmark produces an overall score as a measure of drive performance. Comparing devices is as simple as comparing scores. The tests also measure and report the bandwidth and average access time performance for the drive.
The P2 did not perform as well as the other PCIe SSDs in PCMark 10's Full System Drive Benchmark. The only drive that it performed better than was the Samsung 870 QVO.
While SSD's offer many benefits, there are some downsides to using flash memory. One of the biggest issues people run into is performance degradation. Over time, an SSD will run out of fresh blocks and will have to write over data the file system has marked as deleted. This procedure is very complicated and can slow an SSD's write speeds considerably.
To fix this problem, most manufacturers have added TRIM support to their SSDs. The TRIM command allows an operating system, such as Windows 10, to tell an SSD which data blocks are no longer in use. Using this information, the drive pro-actively erases these blocks and adds them to the free block pool.
To test the P2's TRIM and garbage collection functions, I first put the drive in a "dirty" state. I used Iometer to fill 80% of the drive and then ran a random write test for 30 minutes. This had little impact on the P2's read speed. However, its average writing speed dropped to 112.99 MB/s.
Crucial P2 - Dirty
To see how well the P2 could recover, I let the computer sit for about 30 minutes and then reran the test. The drive's sequential write speed climbed up to 646.34 MB/s. However, its read speed dropped down to 1287.21 MB/s while it was recovering.
Crucial P2 - After TRIM
Lastly, I used Parted Magic to perform a secure erase on the P2. With the drive wiped clean, it had average read and write speeds of 2088.88 MB/s and 1125.18 MB/s, respectively.
Crucial P2 - Secure Erased
Crucial's P2 SSD is a good choice for the value-conscious consumer looking to boost the performance and storage capacity of their desktop or notebook computer. This compact, M.2 form factor SSD is powered by Phison's PS5013-E13T controller and is available with up to 2TB of Micron's 3D TLC NAND flash. Combine this with a PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe 1.3 interface and you have a drive capable of delivering performance well beyond that of your average SATA SSD at nearly the same price.
The P2's performance varied a lot depending on the benchmark and the type of data used. With highly compressible data, the drive was able to read and write at speeds in excess of 3,200 MB/s. These numbers dropped considerably when working with incompressible data. However, the P2 still performed better than expected, reaching, in some cases, nearly twice its rated write speed. The only real disappointment came with PCMark where the P2 lagged behind other, similarly priced, PCIe SSDs.
Despite being budget friendly, the P2 includes many of the same features found on Crucial's higher-end SSDs. The drive uses technologies like Dynamic Write Acceleration to optimize performance as well as multistep data integrity algorithms and Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN) to protect data and prevent it from becoming corrupted. The P2 also features thermal and power loss protection, active garbage collection and NVMe Autonomous Power State Transition (APST) support. To top it all off, it comes with Acronis True Image cloning software and is covered by a generous 5 year warranty.
- Available in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities
- PCIe 3.0 x4 interface with NVMe protocol
- Phison PS5013-E13T controller
- Equipped with Micron 3D TLC NAND
- Good sequential and random read and write speeds under most conditions
- Good random read and write performance
- Small M.2 2280 form factor
- Dynamic Write Acceleration
- Supports Redundant Array of Independent NAND and Multistep Data Integrity Algorithms
- Supports TRIM and active garbage collection
- Thermal and power loss protection
- Includes Acronis True Image cloning software
- 5 year warranty
- Not as fast when reading and writing incompressible data
- Does not support hardware based encryption