IT Pro Verdict
Great write speeds
Cheaper than rivals
Single-sided 2TB model
Some alternatives faster overall
Crucial’s latest NMVe SSD launch is a pincer attack: in addition to the budget-minded P2, it’s simultaneously released the P5, a high-end drive for those who need and can afford the best storage performance. Or, at least, the best that the PCIe 3.0 interface can allow.
This means 96-layer TLC memory, with a controller developed in-house by parent company Micron, allegedly reaching read and write speeds of 3,400MB/sec and 3,000MB/sec respectively. Unlike the P2, the P5 also supports Opal 2.0, enabling full drive encryption – so it’s already much better-suited to professional environments.
Naturally, the P5 costs a lot more, but for most capacities it’s actually cheaper than you might expect for a premium M.2 drive. The smallest 250GB model works out at 16.9p exc VAT per gigabyte, and it only gets cheaper from there, with the 500GB model and the 2TB model – the one we’re testing – only coming in at 12.5p and 13.1p per gigabyte respectively. Best of all is the 1TB model, at a very attractive 11.5p per gigabyte.
Even if you only care about the initial outlay, the P5 proves itself quite the money-saver next to similarly specced SSDs. The recent Kingston KC2500, for instance, will set you back £304 for its 2TB version, over £40 more than the P5. Meanwhile, the 2TB Samsung 970 Evo Plus is even costlier, at £329 exc VAT.
And, when the P5 is running at full pelt, it’s easy to wonder why anyone would choose anything else. In CrystalDiskMark’s sequential tests, it produced a 3,420MB/sec read speed and a 3,243MB/sec write speed, exceeding Crucial’s official figures on both counts. The 970 Evo Plus was slightly faster but arguably not enough to deserve its price premium, while the KC2500 fell well behind on write speed. The P5 also bested Kingston’s SSD in the much tougher 4K random test, ending with a highly respectable 460MB/sec read speed and a 417MB/sec write speed.
Unfortunately, in our file transfer tests – which more closely recreate everyday Windows usage than CrystalDiskMark’s synthetic benchmarks – the P5 dropped off somewhat. That’s not to say it’s slow, or anywhere near it: with an average read speed of 1,773MB/sec and an average write speed of 1,857MB/sec in the huge file test, it’s faster than most PCIe 3.0 SSDs. Even so, the KC2500 managed an even faster 1,987MB/sec read speed, while keeping pace on writes.
In the large files test, the P5 did well to average a 1,554MB/sec read speed and a 1,649MB/sec write speed; writing in general seems a particular strength. Again, though, the KC2500 outpaced it with a 1,798Mb/sec read speed and a 1,809MB/sec write speed, and also beat the P5’s results in the final, hardest small files test – 1,015MB/sec read, 1,445MB/sec write – by similar margins.
That’s enough to put the KC2500 on top for overall performance, but context is kind to the P5. Not only is it significantly cheaper, but unlike both the KC2500 and 970 Evo Plus, it squeezes its highest capacities – including 2TB – onto a single-sided design, allowing it to be used in more space-limited systems like ultraportable laptops.
As such, it manages to remain a viable option, even in a market that’s already well-stocked with excellent SSDs.
Crucial P5 specifications
|Cost Per Gigabyte||13.1p|
|Warranty||Five years RTB|