Crucial is one of the biggest players in the SSD market because of their ability to use their own NAND chips manufactured by their parent company Micron.
The Crucial P1 M.2 SSD, which is the company’s first M.2 NVMe SSD, was announced today. It is one of the first NVMe M.2 SSDs built using QLC flash technology. While the first generation of NAND flash, called SLC, stored only a single bit per cell, technology has moved on, via MLC (storing two bits) and TLC (storing three bits) to QLC today, which stores four bits per flash cell. This increase in bits almost linearly affects pricing because the driving cost for flash chips is the NAND die size, which effectively gets multiplied by storing multiple bits per cell. These savings can get passed on to the customer and are the secret behind the constantly dropping SSD prices.
Of course, this new technology isn’t without drawbacks, and one of the most important seems to be the reduction in write speeds. In order to alleviate that, Crucial is using pseudo-SLC caching on the P1. This technology, which debuted with the introduction of TLC-based drives, runs a portion of the drive’s total capacity in SLC mode (1-bit per cell instead of four), which provides much higher write speeds, to soak up bursts of write activity that then get flushed to QLC while the drive is less busy. We’ll take a closer look at that in this review.
Another change with QLC is the reduced endurance Crucial lists as 200 TBW for the reviewed 1 TB version of the P1. Not a big deal in my opinion, that’s over 100 GB every single day over five years; and the five-year warranty also supports that Crucial trusts in this drive.
Crucial ships their P1 M.2 SSD in two capacities at this time: 500 GB ($110) and the tested 1 TB version ($220). A 2 TB version has been announced and will be available at a later date.
|Specifications: Crucial P1 1 TB|
|Capacity:||1000 GB (931 GB usable)
24 GB additional overprovisioning
|Controller:||Silicon Motion SM2263ENG|
|Flash:||Micron 64-layer 3D QLC
|DRAM:||Micron DDR3L 1 GB
|Form Factor:||M.2 2280|
|Interface:||PCIe Gen 3 x4, NVMe 1.3|