Micron's consumer-oriented Crucial brand is finally entering the world of NVMe SSDs with the new Crucial P1 M.2 SSD. The P1 is an entry-level NVMe drive using four bit per cell (QLC) NAND flash memory and the Silicon Motion SM2263 controller. This is the same basic formula as used in the Intel 660p, the only other consumer QLC drive on the market so far. Micron has brought their own firmware customizations, so while the performance characteristics are similar to the Intel 660p they are definitely not the same drive. The Crucial P1 has slightly lower usable capacities than the Intel 660p, which translates into slightly more spare area available for garbage collection and SLC caching. Unlike the Intel 660p, the Crucial P1 uses the same 1GB DRAM per 1TB NAND ratio as most MLC and TLC SSDs.

Crucial P1 SSD Specifications
Capacity 500 GB 1 TB 2 TB
Form Factor single-sided M.2 2280 double-sided M.2 2280
Interface NVMe 1.3 PCIe 3.0 x4
Controller Silicon Motion SM2263
NAND Flash Micron 64L 3D QLC NAND
DRAM 512MB DDR3 1GB DDR3 2GB DDR4
Sequential Read 1900 MB/s 2000 MB/s 2000 MB/s
Sequential Write 950 MB/s 1700 MB/s 1750 MB/s
Random Read 90k IOPS 170k IOPS 250k IOPS
Random Write 220k IOPS 240k IOPS 250k IOPS
SLC Write Cache (approximate) 5GB min
50GB max
12GB min
100GB max
24GB min
200GB max
Power Max 8W
Idle 2mW (PS4), 80mW (PS3)
Warranty 5 years
Write Endurance 100 TB
0.1 DWPD
200 TB
0.1 DWPD
400 TB
0.1 DWPD
MSRP $109.99 (22¢/GB) $219.99 (22¢/GB) TBA

With top sequential speeds of only 2GB/s, the Crucial P1 doesn't really need all four PCIe lanes, but Silicon Motion's entry-level SM2263 controller still has four instead of the two that some other low-end NVMe controllers use. Given the use of QLC NAND, the P1's SLC cache is far more important than it is on drives with TLC NAND. Micron has taken a similar approach to what Intel did with the 660p by making the SLC cache not just a write buffer but a full-time dynamically sized read and write cache. All data written to the Crucial P1 hits the SLC cache first, and is compacted into QLC blocks only when the drive's free space starts running low. This means that a mostly-empty drive will be using tens or hundreds of GB of SLC, but as it fills up the cache will shrink down to just 5-24GB depending on the model. All of Crucial's official performance specifications are for the SLC cache.

As with the Crucial MX series of SATA SSDs, the Crucial P1 features a greater degree of power loss protection than typical consumer SSDs, though not the fully capacitor-backed protection that most enterprise SSDs feature. With the MX500, Crucial had already substantially reduced the number of capacitors required for their partial power loss protection thanks in part to a reduction in write power requirements for their 64-layer 3D NAND. The P1 gains additional data security from its SLC-first write policy, which eliminates the partially-programmed page risk. However, there is still a tiny bit of used data buffered in volatile RAM, on the order of a few MB at the most.

The rated write endurance of 0.1 drive writes per day is low even for an entry-level consumer SSD, but given the large drive capacities it is adequate. The P1 is definitely not intended to be the workhorse of an enthusiast system with a write-heavy workload, but for more typical read-oriented workloads it offers better performance than SATA SSDs.

The initial MSRPs for the Crucial P1 are unimpressive: it's substantially more expensive than the Intel 660p, and about matches some of the most affordable high-end NVMe drives like the HP EX920 and ADATA SX8200. If Micron can catch up to Intel's pricing and compete for the lowest $/GB among all NVMe SSDs then the Crucial P1 has a shot at success.

The 2TB model will be launching slightly later due to using DDR4 DRAM instead of the DDR3 used by the 500GB and 1TB models. We are testing the 1TB Crucial P1, with some results already in our Bench database. Look for our full review next week.

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  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - link

    Oh joys. The idiots whining about write endurance are back making a ruckus about a problem that never existed with their workloads.

    Do tell, how many drive(s) have failed on you due to NAND endurance failing?
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, October 18, 2018 - link

    Two and counting. Both planar MLC. The good thing is that you can still generally recover your data which is unlike a click of death failure on a mechanical disk. You and TheinsanegamerN seem uninformed on the rate at which P/E is exhausted under even what are fairly light workloads. Reply
  • hojnikb - Thursday, October 18, 2018 - link

    And how exactly did you figure out NAND wore out and not the controller crapping out ?

    It was very common with some models in the past to just die (like vertex series and recently some Phison S10 drives) but the culprint was the never NAND but controller just dying.
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, October 19, 2018 - link

    After popping the drives into an external case, I was able to pull my data off them. Creating new partitions was possible, but OS installation resulted in corrupted files and a non-functional system. Perhaps that was a controller problem, but it seems unlikely since reads were fine. Reply
  • philehidiot - Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - link

    This really is a stupid product - look at the just released Corsair MP510. At ~the same capacity (480GB Vs 500GB) the endurance of the MP510 is 4x as high and instead of just 0.1 DWPD they're verging on 1 DWPD. That's before you get to the speed of the thing. The overall increase in cost? $15. If the difference was $50-100 then I could see why you'd strongly consider this for a storage drive for media or something but with this reliability combined with a price very near high end competition it's basically a non-product for anyone who cares to do any research. Random read... 90K IOPS Vs 360K IOPS for $15 more...

    It may be that this is a perfectly sound product for average users but even then I'd be asking the question of why take the risk? A lower endurance is almost certainly going to lead to a lower MTBF. I'm currently looking for an SSD with high capacity for low use (i've got a failing WD Raptor HDD and an ancient Intel SSD which is approaching EOL and I don't particularly want to lose the data) and even for this use case, the lower endurance for saving such a relative pittance just doesn't make a sensible argument.
    Reply
  • chrcoluk - Wednesday, September 25, 2019 - link

    you get it.

    They priced it slightly lower so people not in the know buy it looking for the cheapest drive, without realising they getting a vastly inferior product for that slight saving, in the meanwhile the vendor makes more profit as QLC is cheaper to produce.
    Reply
  • OhCripesADuck - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    Wonderful. Already got myself two Samsung 950 EVOs, but Crucial makes up my mass storage drives due to cost. Great long-term performance for what you pay. Reply
  • dromoxen - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    bUT , P&c , IF YOU BUY THE 2tb model and only fill up to say 20% , you will be getting mostly slc performance.. these look like starting prices , with black friday and november sales to factor in . 2tb for £80 of this low qlc might be ok maybe to go in OEM PC's and sticker says NVME SSD .. yay. Reply
  • mga318 - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    Okay, so this drive is $219.99 (22¢/GB) for 1TB and the high performance Corsair drive announced today is $235.99 (25¢/GB) and that drive is rated as:

    Sequential Read: 1.74x
    Sequential Write: 1.76x
    Random Read: 3.59x
    Random Write: 2.375x

    better performance than this drive, what's the point of QLC? We're not getting better prices given the performance and endurance gap.
    Reply
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    Prices will drop once QLC production and controller adoption ramps up. Reply

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