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Crucial P1 1TB NVMe SSD - Crucial's First NVMe SSD Uses QLC

By Chris Ramseyer from Oct 24, 2018 @ 22:30 CDT

1TB Class Performance Testing


Product Comparison




The obvious comparison for this review is the Intel SSD 660p, the only other retail SSD sporting QLC flash. The P1's $219.99 price puts it close to the Adata SX8200 and HP EX920, and that will factor into your decision to buy this product as the two SM2262 drives deliver ample performance and superior endurance. While writing this article the Adata SX8200 960GB actually cost $11 less than the new 1TB P1.



Sequential Read Performance






We don't expect the new Crucial P1 to follow the Intel SSD 660p's footsteps through the entire review but in the sequential read test using burst data, the two look like identical twins.




Sequential Write Performance






Later in the review, we expect to see several comparisons to the two drives with the mainstream SM2262 controller used in the Adata SX8200 and HP EX920. The four SMI controlled drives show nearly identical sequential write performance with data bursts.



Sustained Sequential Write Performance




Differences in firmware, programming, and the overall architecture changes the script. The 960GB Adata SX8200 delivers longer SLC buffer writes compared to the three other drives with SMI controllers. The EX920 delivers higher sequential write speeds after the SLC buffer fills. The Crucial P1 follows the Intel through most of the test with a 25% buffer using the drives nearly empty and then dropped sharply when the data has to fold into the QLC.



Random Read Performance






The 1TB P1 does deliver strong random read performance that only trails the 1TB EX920 at queue depth (QD) 1. The drive scales well as we ramp up the workload through queue depth. For many casual PC users, the very-low queue depth performance will have a larger impact on performance than the other 4-corner tests.



Random Write Performance






Crucial's unique flash programming allows the P1 to deliver better random write performance than the Intel SSD 660p in the same capacity. The P1 even outpaces the Adata SX8200 at low queue depths but only by a small margin.



70% Read Sequential Performance






The 4-channel controller, and use of QLC flash, hurt sequential mixed workload performance. Our burst test uses 70% reads, and the mix brutalizes the QLC SSDs released so far. This may be the impact of the flash, but we suspect the lower-end 4-channel controller places a role in this as well. At least it's not DRAMless.



70% Read Random Performance






If it were a DRAMless design, the random mixed workload would suffer. At QD8 and higher the 1TB Crucial P1 shows poor random mixed workload performance. QD8 is a fairly high workload compared to the target audience for this product. At lower queue depths, the 1TB P1 performs very well, just slightly lower than the best flash-based NVMe SSDs shipping today. This is very good for casual PC users, those Crucial targets with the P1.

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