Crucial recently launched their two new latest drives the P3 and the P3 plus and I recently took a look at the P3 Plus. The P3 Plus is their budget-focused PCIe 4.0 drive and the standard P3 sticks with the PCIe 3.0 interface of their past drives for those who don’t need 4.0 performance or don’t have the hardware to take advantage of the performance. I was impressed with the P3 Plus, especially with its price point considering its performance. So today I’m going to check out the P3 in the same 2TB capacity as I did with the P3 Plus and we will find out how it performs and if it is also a good value so let’s get to it!

Product Name: Crucial P3 2TB

Review Sample Provided by: Crucial

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

Specifications

Capacity

500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB

Interface

NVMe (PCIe Gen 3 x4)

Form Factor

M.2 (2280)

Sequential Read

3500 MB/s

Sequential Write

3000 MB/s

SSD Endurance (TBW)

440 Terabytes

Warranty

5-Year limited

 


Photos and Features

The box for the Crucial P3 has the exact same look as the P3 Plus that I just took a look at and both share a lot with past Crucial drives as well. Past drives have had a dark blue background with a picture of the drive in the middle. The new look that the P3 has goes from dark blue on the outside to a light blue in the middle around the picture of the drive. The top left corner has a blue stripe with the Crucial by Micron branding and then in the bottom right they have the P3 model name. Under that, they do let you know that this is a PCIe 3.0 NVMe M.2 SSD and on the left side of that white stripe on the bottom they put a sticker on with the capacity of the drive which for our drive is 2TB but it is available in 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB just like the P3 Plus. The back of the box is white and has a small window that shows a QR code on the SSD itself. Beyond that, the only important information here is the 5-year warranty badge.

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Inside the box, everything comes in a clear plastic clamshell including the documentation which is jammed in there. The P3 has its own spot and there is a tray which comes with a small M.2 screw as well. The documentation isn’t model-specific and has legal information on things like the warranty.

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As far as aesthetics go the Crucial P3 has the same look as the P3 Plus. It has a black PCB which then has a long black sticker over the top that covers up all of the components. The sticker has the Crucial logo on the left and the P3 model name on the right as well as lets you know this is a PCIe 3.0 M.2 again and has the 2280 M.2 length.

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The back of the Crucial P3 doesn’t have any components on it or pads for future components, everything is contained all on the front side of the drive. The back does have two stickers, both with a black background. The left smaller sticker has all of the certification logos and a QR code on it. Then the right sticker is larger and this is the one that has the drive size in a larger font as well as things like your model part number, firmware version, and serial number.

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With everything all on one side on the P3 just like the P3 Plus, we can see that the P3 is a DRAM-Less design and it has the same layout as the P3 Plus with four NAND and the controller in the middle. The controller is made by Phison and has the model number PS5021-E21-48 which is very interesting because this is the same E21 controller that the P3 Plus is running. Crucial must be limiting the P3 on the firmware level. I’m really surprised that it wouldn’t be cheaper to run a PCIe 3.0-specific controller and it does bring up questions on if you could reflash the P3 later to get PCIe 4.0 and P3 Plus performance. As for the NAND, it has four NAND chips like the P3 Plus which for our 2TB capacity mean 512GB chips but leaves room for 1TB NAND for the 4TB model. These are etched 2HC2D NY161 which is the same Micron 3D QLC NAND as on the P3 Plus which QLC itself has its issues like major performance slowdowns when drives get too full.

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Test Rig and Procedures

Testing Hardware

Live Pricing

Case

Primochill Wetbench

HERE

Motherboard

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme

HERE

CPUs

Intel i9-12900K w/ PL2 set to 250W

HERE

Ram

Crucial 2x32GB 64GB Kit

HERE

Power Supply

Corsair AX1200w

HERE

Thermal Paste

Noctua NT-H2

HERE

SSD

Sabrent Rocket Q4 2TB

HERE

OS

Windows 11 Pro

HERE

 

Test Procedures

CrystalDiskMark 8

Full CrystalDiskMark benchmark then also taking a look at the IOPS performance on both read and write RND4K Q32T1

AS SSD

File Copy benchmark using ISO, Program, and Game settings

Passmark Performance Test 10

Passmark storage benchmark is run using the provided score

Anvil's Storage Utilities

We run the whole SSD benchmark but only use the 4K QD16 IOPS for random read performance

Queue Depth Testing

This uses Anvil’s as well, but we run individual tests set to 4k file size at a queue depth from 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and for read speeds 128

ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO Disk Benchmark is run with a queue depth of 1 for both read and write file transfer speeds

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 storage benchmarks for the Full System Drive benchmark and the Data Drive Benchmark

Real World Test

File transfer tests are done in Windows 11 using the default transfer tool. Tests are done with a folder filled with Word Documents, a folder filled with JPG and RAW photos, and a folder filled with movies


 


Performance

Before getting into testing the Crucial P3 I did check the drive out using CrystalDiskInfo just to confirm that it was connected using the correct interface. The drive runs on PCIe 3.0 and needs 4 lanes to get the best possible performance and we were connected and running at that. I also like to do this to document the firmware revision we are running on for testing because those do change from time to time which we are on P9CR30A which is similar in number to the P3 Plus which was running P9CR409 but with the P3 having 3 and the P3 Plus having 4 in the firmware there.

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My first round of testing was to run the Crucial P3 through Crystal Disk Mark 8. Sequential testing is usually a best-case scenario and is what companies use for their specifications and on the front of the box to advertise drive speeds which in the case of the Crucial P3 the box didn’t have the drive speed listed but the specifications do and those say the P3 should see up to 3500 MB/s for its reads and 3000 MB/s for its writes. Below I have the drives labeled in orange if they are PCIe 4.0 and blue for older 3.0 drives for reference. The P3 was just over its listed read speed and had a little extra performance on its listed write speeds with 3511 MB/s and 3244 MB/s.

 

PCIe 3.0

PCIe 4.0

   

Crystal Disk Mark 8 - Read

SEQ1M Q8T1

SEQ128K Q32T1

RND4K Q32T16

RND4K Q1T1

WD Blue SN550 1TB

2444.53

2077.36

1075.88

57.88

Sabrent Rocket Q4 2TB

4939.59

2871.47

1034.52

74.53

Corsair MP400 1TB

3432.77

1889.56

713.28

61.42

Corsair Force MP600 2TB

4828

1543.31

901.83

41.49

Sabrent Rocket 4.0 Plus 1TB

6468.33

2712.53

455.24

54.68

Crucial P5 Plus 1TB

6697.19

4358.63

1113.7

69.76

Kingston FURY Renegade 2TB

6592.75

3093.11

1085.23

55.14

Patriot P400 1TB

5036.9

3518.47

1059.71

88.06

WD Blue SN570 1TB

3569.34

2681.32

1046.46

65.75

WD Black SN770 1TB

5223.32

4958.17

1034.35

82.24

MSI Spatium M480 Play 2TB

6979.03

4267.59

1315.25

81.22

Viper Gaming VPR400

5163.46

3880.75

1030.81

85.35

Crucial P3 Plus 2TB

5041.44

2799.96

1107.97

56.56

Crucial P3 2TB

3511.18

2379.76

957.63

45.42

 

 

PCIe 3.0

PCIe 4.0

   

Crystal Disk Mark 8 - Write

SEQ1M Q8T1

SEQ128K Q32T1

RND4K Q32T16

RND4K Q1T1

WD Blue SN550 1TB

2007.63

2006.4

776.4

290.25

Sabrent Rocket Q4 2TB

3633.71

2568.7

920.84

385.73

Corsair MP400 1TB

2021.09

2017.63

1196.42

262.36

Corsair Force MP600 2TB

992.38

982.78

996.22

276.26

Sabrent Rocket 4.0 Plus 1TB

5241.89

5225.25

921.51

402.26

Crucial P5 Plus 1TB

5025.83

4880.38

884.12

240.78

Kingston FURY Renegade 2TB

6899.76

5831.06

1083.12

367.6

Patriot P400 1TB

4830.94

4813.27

846.34

307.12

WD Blue SN570 1TB

3147.13

2893.72

909.47

234.17

WD Black SN770 1TB

4983.07

4980.59

1149.36

295.13

MSI Spatium M480 Play 2TB

6870.73

5863.14

1062.32

357.02

Viper Gaming VPR400

4780.82

4775.74

838

285.02

Crucial P3 Plus 2TB

4388.26

4387.54

989.42

2967.35

Crucial P3 2TB

3244.52

2712.72

630.77

261.09

 

While testing in CrystalDiskMark 8 I did also check out the drive’s IOPS performance with the random 4k queue depth of 32 and 1 thread results. I stacked the read and write performance together here because I do believe that the overall drive performance is important, not just one result or the other. The P3 was the slowest drive tested with its combined results, its read performance wasn’t too bad but it struggled with tie write IOPS which is interesting because the P3 Plus did well with its write IOPS here.

graph1

In AS SSD I skipped over the standard test because it is very similar to the CrystalDiskMark tests I prefer to check out one of its sub-tests, the copy benchmark. This moves three files, one that is an ISO, one that is a program, and then a game and times how long each takes. With these being timed, lower is better here. I have all three results stacked to see which drives are best overall. The P3 Plus struggled on this one and the P3 came in just a hair worse with two out of the three tests a few tenths slower. The ISO performance was still good but the program and game file types did poorly.

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Next up with PassMark Performance Test 10 I ran their combined synthetic benchmark to get a look at their DiskMark rating. The P3 did better than the other PCIe 3.0 drives here and came close to the Rocket Q4 in performance.

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I then changed my focus back over to IOPS performance and ran the Viper Gaming VPR400 in Anvil’s Storage Benchmark focusing on the 4k queue depth of 16 results from the main test. The read IOPS for the P3 were a little behind the P3 Plus which puts them a little behind the middle of the pack and then for write IOPS the P3 did great compared to the other PCIe 3.0 drives. So well in fact that the overall combined result was out ahead of a lot of the PCIe 4.0 drives as well.

graph4

Sticking with Anvil’s Storage Utilities I did a few more tests. Here I wanted to check out how the drive would react to different queue depths so with the file size set to 4K I ran tests ramping up double each time starting at 1 and up to 128 for reads and 64 for writes. This lets us see if the controller gets overloaded. For the read, queue depth tests the P3 matches the P3 Plus nearly perfectly where it runs with the middle of the pack drives up until a queue depth of 64 where it jumps up in performance. For the write queue depth test the P3 and the P3 Plus mirror each other again but for this test, the P3 is consistently around 100 MB/s slower. This means while it is in the middle of the pack performance wise it is way out ahead of the other PCIe 3.0 drives and it does still drop off for the 64 queue depth test just like the P3 Plus.  

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For ATTO Benchmark I set it to a queue depth of just 1 but ramped up the file size slowly to see how it would affect performance. For the read test in ATTO, the P3 did well on the early tests and then at 64KB stumbled and then leveled off right with the other 3.0 drives. For the write benchmark, the performance was nearly the same, stumbling again at 64 KB and then leveling off right at the top of the performance of a PCIe 3.0 drive and with the SN570.

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Next up I wanted to look at more real-world performance and for this, I started with PCMark 10 which has an overall full system benchmark for storage and then one focused on data storage drives. In the full system drive benchmark, the Crucial P3 wasn’t that far behind the P3 Plus considering the sequential performance difference between the two with the P3 in the middle of the pack overall for the data drive benchmark and way out in front of any PCIe 3.0 drive for the full system benchmark.

graph9

Next, up for more real-world resting, I did our file transfer tests. You don’t get any more real-world than this. For each drive, I copied the folder filled with files to the drive tested and then back to the Rocket Q4 in our test bench. I used three file types, movies which are large single files, a folder filled with RAW and JPG photos, and then a folder filled with word documents. Starting with the movie files the Crucial P3 did well but was faster on the reads when transferring back to the PC. The picture file transfers for the P3 were right in line with the P3 Plus. Last up on the document file transfers the P3 was a little behind the P3 Plus but did a lot better than the other PCIe 3.0 drives and some of the 4.0 drives as well.

Windows 11 File Transfers

Movies to Drive

Movies to PC

Pictures to Drive

Pictures to PC

Docs to Drive

Docs to PC

WD Blue SN550 1TB

852

1360

937

1001

2.42

5.32

Sabrent Rocket Q4 2TB

2720

2060

1140

1030

5.75

5.2

Corsair MP400 1TB

2140

875

996

1410

2.57

5.98

Corsair Force MP600 2TB

1250

1330

816

1320

2.83

5.48

Sabrent Rocket 4.0 Plus 1TB

2120

2960

254

842

1.63

5.16

Crucial P5 Plus 1TB

2060

2720

1030

1140

5.2

5.75

Kingston FURY Renegade 2TB

2330

3220

857

1270

2.58

5.88

Patriot P400 1TB

2070

2870

981

944

2.86

4.62

WD Blue SN570 1TB

602

325

992

1310

5.14

6.05

WD Black SN770 1TB

2260

2170

605

1210

2.52

6.11

MSI Spatium M480 Play 2TB

1930

494

905

706

5.62

3.87

Viper Gaming VPR400

2360

1980

1300

1310

2.61

7.12

Crucial P3 Plus 2TB

2240

2430

1080

1430

6.92

7.37

Crucial P3 2TB

1990

2140

1100

1420

6.46

7.16

 

I also ran the P3 Plus using AIDA64’s linear read disk benchmark for 30 minutes to heat things up to see what the thermals for the drive would look like. Not surprisingly the controller was where all of the heat was coming and with it being center mounted it does heat up the NAND on each side of it. The P3 and the P3 Plus look similar in their thermals having the same layout but the P3 is noticeably cooler on the controller compared to the P3 Plus with the P3 running 41.9c and the P3 Plus at 47.8c. That difference also shows farther out with the NAND running a little cooler on the P3 as well.

image 1

 

 


Overall and Final Verdict

The Crucial P3 is the second half of Crucial's latest update to their SSD lineup and it falls into an interesting spot. For starters, this is their PCIe 3.0 drive where the P3 Plus is their budget PCIe 4.0 SSD. There are still a lot of people with systems that aren’t capable of running PCIe 4.0 so it does still make sense to keep that in the lineup though the 4.0 drives will also work at 3.0 speeds. The P3 is nearly the same drive as the P3 Plus. It has the same black PCB and black sticker with minimal text on it that gives it a simple clean look. More importantly, it has the same Micron 3D QLC NAND and the same Phison controller as well, the only difference from what I can tell is that the P3 is set on the controller to run at PCIe 3.0 x4. This makes for some interesting performance which is a lot slower than the P3 Plus in pure bandwidth tests like the sequential performance but in some tests like the queue depth test and some of the other benchmarks, they perform similarly so the P3 has situations where it performs like a higher end PCIe 3.0 drive and times where it over performs with mid-range 4.0 performance. Like the P3 Plus Crucial has the P3 available in a new 4TB option which is exciting and they haven’t limited capacities on the lower end with it still available at 500GB as well as 1TB and 2TB.

Because it is so similar to the P3 Plus it struggled in the AS SSD copy benchmark like the P3 Plus did when I took a look at it and the QLC NAND does have its limitations as well with that not handling the drive filling up as well.

The 2TB Crucial P3 that I tested today has an MSRP of 174.99 which is $15 less than the Crucial P3 Plus at the same capacity. That is a little cheaper than the higher-end PCIe 3.0 drives that are 2TB right now but there are also drives like the SN570 which is cheaper. More importantly, the P3 Plus is on Newegg now for $179.99, and given the $5 difference if you can use PCIe 4.0 that is still going to be the better option. Even if you can’t, at that price it might be worth it to know that you can get more performance when you upgrade your CPU/Motherboard in the future. The P3 also has the issue of availability currently with Newegg not having the 4TB option and Amazon being hit and miss on all of the capacities.

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Live Pricing: HERE

 

 

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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