Crucial P5 Plus review: A fast PCIe 4 SSD with tough competition

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The P5 Plus is the follow-on to Crucial’s affordable and surprisingly fast P5 NVMe SSD. It’s a worthy encore, at least in terms of performance. Not only is this new version slightly faster, it offers the PCIe 4 support the older drive lacks.

Alas, that slight uptick in performance and the PCIe 4 support also come with a significant price bump, putting it in direct competition with Samsung’s excellent 980 Pro

Design and features

The Crucial P5 Plus comes in at $108 for 500GB, $180 for 1TB (tested), and $367 for 2TB flavors. The PCIe 4.0, x4 SSD uses the standard 2280 (22 mm wide, 80 mm long) form factor and employs 176-layer, TLC (Triple-Level Cell/3-bit) NAND with an in-house Micron controller. 

crucial p5 plus flat front measured Crucial

Crucial sent us this image of the speedy P5 Plus that illustrates the 2280 form factor perfectly. 

The Crucial P5 Plus is warrantied for five years, as well as rated for 300TBW (TeraBytes that can be Written) per 500GB of capacity. That’s in line with the drive’s price; though essentially the same as pro drives, consumer drives are expected to see less use and are priced accordingly. They carry lower ratings, which will mitigate the warranty, to discourage high-transaction use in servers and other intense endeavors. That said, most users will never write nearly as much data as even bargain drives are rated for.

I have to mention Crucial including a M.2 mounting screw in the box. Losing those little suckers has been a problem as long as I’ve been testing the type. Nice touch. 

Performance

Because of the older P5’s surprisingly fast performance, the good numbers turned in by the 1TB P5 Plus that Crucial sent were hardly unexpected. In general, it outpaced its predecessor by about 5 to 10 percent. Massive 450GB writes slowed down by a third once they got about two-thirds into the operation, and peak PCIe 4 write speed wasn’t rated top-tier by synthetic benchmarks. Other than that, especially in real life transfers, it was all good. 

CrystalDiskMark 6 was slightly pessimistic about the P5 Plus’s write speed over PCIe 4 compared to the other drives. However, 5GBps is still a very nice boost over PCIe 3—the non-Plus P5 topped out at 3.3GBps over that interface, as does the P5 Plus when you plug it into a PCI 3 system. 

crucial p5 plus cdm6 IDG

The Crucial P5 Plus can’t quite keep up with the better drives in synthetic benchmarks such as CrystalDiskMark 6, but it’s still a dramatic improvement over PCIe 3. Longer bars are better.

As noted, the Crucial P5 Plus’s real world sustained reads and writes (shown below) were very good. It lost to the top-ranked Seagate FireCuda 530, and aforementioned Samsung 980 Pro, but not by a large margin.



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