If you have ever owned a Crucial SSD, you know that this Micron brand creates reliable, durable, and relatively high-performance storage drives at a reasonable price. Their SATA III MX500, which came in both M.2 and 2.5” form factors, was widely hailed as one of the best SSDs for its price; as it provided excellent speeds that rivaled NVMe drives, for gaming and other applications, at only a fraction of their cost.
Crucial then moved on to making their NVMe P1 SSD, using a Silicon Motion controller, and their in-house Micron 64-layer QLC NAND flash memory. Though this SSD did have a low initial price, its early PCIe Gen 3 speeds and QLC flash meant that it couldn’t achieve faster application speeds than its SATA III predecessor, making it an overall pretty mediocre offering. This is why Crucial released two new NVMe models, the P2 and the P5.
Both these SSDs use Micron’s 96-layer TLC NAND flash memory – with the P2 using Phison’s E13T controller, and the P5 using Micron’s own Crucial NVMe architecture. The P2, of course, is being marketed as a mid-end SSD for gamers and light productivity, whereas the P5 is marketed as a heigh-end SSD (at least as far as PCIe 3.0 lanes are concerned) that is compatible for professional workflows and gaming applications alike.
Because of its higher level of performance, the Crucial P5 is the more expensive option, with the price difference raging between a couple of dollars at 500 GB, to up 20% for the 1 TB and 2 TB options. So, let’s see which SSD is better worth its price by comparing the manufacturer specifications, and real-world benchmarks, and determine which has a better price to performance ratio.
|Model||Crucial P2||Crucial P5|
|Storage Sizes||250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB||250 GB, 500 GB, 1TB, 2 TB|
|Sequential Read||2,100 MB/s, 2,300 MB/s, 2,400 MB/s, 2,400 MB/s||3,400 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||1,150 MB/s, 940 MB/s, 1,800 MB/s, 1,900 MB/s||1,400 MB/s, 3,000 MB/s, 3,000 MB/s, 3,000 MB/s|
|4KB Random Read||170K IOPS, 95K IOPS, 295K IOPS, 295K IOPS||210,000 IOPS, 390,000 IOPS, 430,000 IOPS, 430,000 IOPS|
|4KB Random Write||260K IOPS, 215K IOPS, 430K IOPS, 430K IOPS||355,000 IOPS, 500,000 IOPS, 500,000 IOPS, 500,000 IOPS|
|Bus Type||PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.3||PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.3|
|Controller||Phison E13T||Crucial NVMe Architecture|
|NAND Type||Micron 96L TLC||Micron 96L TLC|
|TBW||150 TBW, 150 TBW, 300 TBW, 600 TBW||150 TBW, 300 TBW, 600 TBW, 1200 TBW|
|MTTF||1,500,000 Hours||1,800,000 Hours|
|Warranty||5 years||5 years|
|Price (As of writing)||$50, $60, $104, $200||$55, $62, $120, $240|
The Crucial P5 holds significant advantages against the Crucial P2 in every aspect related to SSD performance. It has faster sequential read speeds, that range from 62% to 42%, faster sequential write speeds, ranging from 22% to 219% (the 500 GB P2 version is reported as having low sequential write speed), and faster 4KB read and write speeds, that range from 23% to 311% depending on the storage size. Additionally, when it comes to reliability, the Crucial P5 is rated to last 300,000 hours more than the Crucial P2, and, aside from the 250 GB version, it can survive double the number of Terabytes Written (TBW) – though both models are backed by Crucial’s 5-year warranty.
Since there is no governing body to determine whether or not storage units are able to live up to their manufacturer specifications, there may be sizeable differences in actual benchmarked performance and their on-paper metrics. Thankfully, we can now move on to check whether or not the P5 does hold such a sizeable lead against its cheaper counterpart, via the use of independent testing.
|500GB Model||Crucial P2||Crucial P5|
|Peak Sequential Read1||2,302 MB/s||3,381 MB/s|
|Peak Sequential Write1||1,742 MB/s||2,889 MB/s|
|Random 4K Q1T1 Sequential Read1||38.41 MB/s||53.51 MB/s|
|Random 4K Q1T1 Sequential Write1||185.67 MB/s||128.35 MB/s|
|Average Sequential Read2||1,154 MB/s||2,178 MB/s|
|Average Sequential Write2||1,338 IOPS||1,953 IOPS|
|Game Scene Load Time3||13.70 Seconds||10.64 Seconds|
|PCMark 10 QS Score1||930||1,485|
|PCMark 10 FS Score1||876||1,385|
2Benchmarks by UserBenchmark.
3Final Fantasy XIV: ShadowBringer. Benchmarks by Tom’s Hardware. P2 – P5
And, indeed, benchmarks do show an advantage for the Crucial P5, but not nearly as high as the manufacturer specifications would lead us to believe – especially when it comes to the 500 GB version’s sequential write speeds. It is here that the P2 actually performs 85% better than its advertised speeds, which is quite bizarre. There is even an upset to be found in the testing-comparison, as the Crucial P2 outperforms the Crucial P5 in 4K random write speeds by 45%.
Still, the Crucial P5 does outperform the P2 in both peak, and average, sequential speeds by anywhere between 46% and 88%. Even more surprising is how much faster it loads the gaming benchmark, with a difference of over three seconds –meaning it is over 22% faster. To put this difference in perspective, the Crucial MX500 SSD was tested for this same gaming benchmark, and it was able to carry it out 11.12 seconds: trailing the Crucial P5 by less than half a second, and outperforming the Crucial P2 by over 2.5 seconds. This gaming-loading latency is most likely due to the P2’s lack of built-in DRAM, which also affects the P2’s PCMark 10 benchmark scores. In both Quick System (light PC use) and Full System trace-based testing, the P2 trails the Crucial P5 by 60% and 58% respectively.
Given that the Crucial P5 outperforms the Crucial P2 on such a significant scale, it is only fair to say that it is worth the extra cost, at least for most users. At 250 GB and 500 GB the P5 is the obvious choice, as it currently costs only $5 and $2 more respectively, yet it provides much more powerful overall performance. At 1 TB and 2 TB, the 20% different is quite steep, especially considering that there are other PCIe Gen 3 options available at the same, or even lower price, that will outperform the Crucial P5 in almost every metric by a substantial margin. The ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro, for example, costs $120 and $240, for its 1 TB and 2 TB storage sizes, yet it outperforms the Crucial P5 by 37% in PCMark 10 (Full System) and 30% in SPECworkstation 3 scores.
The Crucial P2 is a decent option for content creators, and those looking for a second SSD for large file transfers, especially for its $100 price tag.
Hopefully, when Crucial steps in to the PCIe 4.0 SSD market, they will create a product that lives up to their excellent MX500 SATA III SSD.