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Crucial P1 minicard flash drive? Not if you grabbed Intel's 660p

They don't *seem* so different if you check digits (though your real world results may vary)

Micron's consumer SSD brand Crucial has pushed out an NVMe minicard flash drive that looks almost identical to Intel's 600p.

The M.2 2280 format Crucial P1 arrived just months after Intel's 660p and uses the same 64-layer QLC (4bits/cell) 3D NAND. Intel and Micron share the output from their IMTF flash foundry joint-venture.

The P1 comes in 500GB, 1TB (single-sided) and 2TB (dual-sided) capacities, like the 660p, and has the same M.2 form factor. It uses an SLC (1 bit/cell) write cache to overcome the slowness of QLC flash, and has a five-year warranty.

The interface is NVMe v1.3 over PCIe gen 3 x4.

Crucial has pitched the SSD as a disk drive replacement and it comes with Acronis TrueImage copying software. In effect it's an update on Crucial's MX500 drive, which targeted the same market.

This came in 2.5-inch and M.2 formats with similar capacities but a 6Gbit/s SATA interface. It used 64-layer TLC (3bits/cell) NAND and the M.2 version was limited to 1TB maximum capacity.

The P1's performance numbers look a bit sexier than those for Intel's 660p:

  Random Read IOPS Random Write IOPS Sequential Read MB/s Sequential Write MB/s
Crucial P1 250,000 250,000 2,000 1,750
Intel 660p 220,000 220,000 1,800 1,800

These are "up to" numbers and performance slows as capacities reduce from 2TB through 1TB to 500GB.

The MX500 performance specs were slower: random read/write IOPS were up to 95,000/90,000 and sequential read/write bandwidth was 550/510MB/sec.

On paper, the P1 should blow away the MX500. However, Tom's Hardware found it not much faster at all with real-world application. It suggested a firmware fix might be needed to remedy this.

In terms of endurance, the P1 features a 1.5 million-hour MTTF (mean time to failure) rating. The TB written (TBW) during its five-year warrantied life are 100TBW for the 500GB model, 200TBW on the 1TB and 400TBW on the 2TB version.

There isn't any AES 256-bit encryption option.

The 500GB and 1TB drives are available now, priced at $109.99 and $229.99. The 2TB drive will arrive in November. ®

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