The Crucial P3 is PCIe 3.0’s sibling. P3 PlusIt uses the same Phison E21T controller and is similarly paired with Micron’s 176-layer QLC flash. With prices starting at $74 for 1 TB and $147 for 2 TB, best SSD From a value standpoint, we are focused on offering higher capacity options. Being limited to PCIe 3.0 is not a big deal. This primarily limits the maximum bandwidth, implying sequential file transfers for drives of this caliber. In practice, single-threaded transfers don’t greatly exceed the speed of the interface, so this doesn’t matter much. Like the P3 Plus, the P3 is incredibly powerful and efficient. This is especially attractive because Crucial backs it with the same warranty.
P3 faces a different competition. Most PCIe 3.0 drives still use older controllers and flash, which can reduce efficiency while limiting maximum capacity.of SK Hynix Gold P31 The exception is the entry after using more efficient hardware (4-channel controller and newer flash). That drive also checks the boxes for DRAM and TLC. intel 670phas QLC and DRAM and is a direct competitor. However, Solidigm’s formation makes a little less sense as the drive will be phased out on his P41 Plus. Like DRAM-less drives Crucial P2 It feels utterly outdated.
The Phison E21T has proven to be a capable controller. Silicon Power UD90 reviewMicron’s new QLC doesn’t look like it’s breaking any barriers, but it’s definitely better than the 4-bit flash of the previous 96-layer generation. What’s even more interesting is that you can get this drive up to 4TB and it’s affordable to boot.
Weighing between PCIe 3.0 and 4.0 drives when buying can be a daunting task, especially on older platforms. Does the P3 prove to be the perfect combination of cheap capacity and “good enough” performance for PCIe 3.0?
|Capacity (User / Raw)||500GB/512GB||1000GB/1024GB||2000GB/2048GB||4000GB/4096GB|
|form factor||M.2 2280||M.2 2280||M.2 2280||M.2 2280|
|controller||Phison E21T||Phison E21T||Phison E21T||Phison E21T|
|DRAM||No (HMB)||No (HMB)||No (HMB)||No (HMB)|
|flash memory||176-layer micron QLC (N48R)||176-layer micron QLC (N48R)||176-layer micron QLC (N48R)||176-layer micron QLC (N48R)|
|Sequential write||1,900 MBPs||3,000MBps||3,000MBps||3,000MBps|
|guarantee||5 years||5 years||5 years||5 years|
The Crucial P3 is available in 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB. As is often the case with QLC drives, the minimum capacity is not ideal. This drive reaches peak sequential performance (3.5/3.0 GBps read and write respectively) at 1 TB. The 2 TB and 4 TB SKUs are the most attractive as they are likely to be secondary drives for storage or gaming. Finding an affordable 4 TB M.2 NVMe SSD can be difficult. Low-capacity options are good for budget builds or upgrades.
Crucial wisely came with a 5-year warranty, but TBW remains frustrated. 200-220 TB writes per 1 TB capacity, which is low. That’s not surprising for a QLC drive that doesn’t use DRAM, and probably won’t exceed it under warranty. That said, it’s still about half the size of the old P2. Actual endurance is likely much higher, but Crucial wants to split the drive carefully. This makes sense since you shouldn’t be doing a lot of writes on such a drive.
The P3’s MSRP isn’t particularly attractive, except perhaps for 4 TB. However, the drive is already on sale at deep discounts in multiple capacities, including it.The Crucial is clearly going to be an impulse buy budget drive, whether it’s a cheap upgrade or storage expansion. This includes efficient laptop usage as such a drive, especially compared to older PCIe 3.0 options.
Software and accessories for the Crucial P3 SSD
Crucial offers downloads on their site to help you use your P3 better. Crucial Storage Executive serves as your SSD’s “toolbox” with pertinent information about your drive and its condition, as well as assistive features to help you maintain your drive. Crucial also links to Acronis True Image for Crucial. This is useful if you need to clone or backup your drive when installing P3.
Crucial P3 SSD details
image 1 of 3
The Crucial P3 looks a lot like the P3 Plus. In fact, they look the same except for the label. The label on the front tells you if it’s a P3 or P3 Plus, but the label on the back gives you additional information about the drive. The drive might be rated at 8.25W, but you can safely assume it won’t pull that much. Under the front label you can see the controller between two pairs of NAND flash packages with no DRAM present.
The Phison E21T controller is the same one found on the P3 Plus. or is it? The P3 Plus has a PCIe 4.0 interface, but the P3 is downgraded to 3.0. The difference is somewhat similar to that between the Phison E19T and E15T controllers (4.0 and 3.0 respectively), but the E19T is a 28nm part with only a 1200 MT/s bus. Controllers at smaller process nodes are often more efficient, more powerful, or both, and the 12nm E21T’s faster 1600 MT/s bus can reach higher speeds with greater bandwidth.
However, as first revealed on the SK hynix Gold P31, 1200 MT/s is enough to saturate PCIe 3.0 on a 4-channel controller. This made the drive very efficient when combined with the new flash. The best mid-range 4.0 drives tend to be 1600 MT/s with even newer flash, including the P3 Plus. They are all efficient and powerful enough. So what does this mean for P3?
Assuming the P3 uses the same hardware as the P3 Plus, there are some tradeoffs to be made, as was the case with the review sample. The P3 can’t reach the same bandwidth peaks, including higher queue-depth workloads, and the interface can also hinder the use of the PlayStation 5 (PS5). On the other hand, it effectively has lower peak demands on the controller, a slower bus, and may be more efficient. The P3 is slightly cheaper than the P3 Plus, so this is an important consideration if capacity is a priority or you have a 3.0 system.
The flash is labeled NY161, the same one used on the P3 Plus. This is Micron’s 176-layer QLC, in this case four 4DP/QDP packages containing four 1Tb dies each. This QLC uses an architecture similar to Micron’s 176-layer TLC, which is different from the one they used in their 96-layer collaboration with Intel. This design has to prove itself, but should be comparable to 176-layer QLC from other manufacturers.
more: best SSD
more: HDD and SSD test methods
more: All SSD content