The Crucial T700, officially available today, is Micron's first PCIe 5.0 NVMe solid-state drive and one of the firsts on the market, and it more than meets the great expectations in performance -- easily the fastest SSD to date.
But that comes with a few catches.
The new drive is expensive, slated to retail in the US at $179.99, $339.99, and $599.99 for 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB, respectively. That's when you get it "naked" -- add $30 more for the heatsink version. And it would be best if you got the heatsink -- the T700 runs extremely hot otherwise.
Here's the bottom line: The T700 is wickedly fast. But it might not be worth the current cost, especially considering the matching hardware requirements, namely a motherboard supporting an Intel 13th Gen or AMD Ryzen 7000 CPU and DDR5 RAM.
If you're building a new latest-generation desktop, this is the NVMe SSD to include. For existing systems with PCIe 4.0 (or even PCIe 3.0), it'll work, albeit without the intended performance impact.
Crucial T700: An incredible performance upgrade to the P1
In real-world experience, the jump from PCIe 3.0 to PCIe 5.0 is much more acute. It's a leap instead of an increment.
So, considering the cost, the T700 makes a worthy purchase for those with a computer that runs on a PCIe 3.0 NVMe drive. Chances are the machine has depreciated enough to justify a complete upgrade to PCIe 5.0 hardware.
On the other hand, if you have PCIe 4.0 machine and get this SSD as a storage upgrade, you'll notice a less satisfying improvement, mostly because PCIe 4.0 SSDs are already remarkably fast. I'm talking about how to feel that bang for your buck -- it doesn't hurt to use the T700, regardless.
The table below shows the differences between the Crucial T700 and the previous PCIe 4.0 Crucial P5 Plus.
Crucial T700 vs Crucial P5 Plus: Hardware specifications
|Micron Crucial T700||Micron Crucial P5 Plus|
|Capacities||1TB, 2TB, 4TB||512GB, 1TB, 2TB|
|Interface|| PCIe 5.0 x4|
(compatible with PCIe 4.0/3.0)
| PCIe 4.0 x4|
(compatible with PCIe 3.0)
|Design||M.2 (2280)||M.2 (2280)|
|Controller||Phison PS5026-E26||Crucial home-grown|
|NAND Flash Memory||Micron 232-layer TLC NAND||Micron Advanced 3D NAND|
|Security||AES-256 encryption, TCG Opal 2.01||AES 256-bit encryption, |
TCG OPAL 2.0
|2TB, 4TB: 12,400MB/s|
|2TB, 4TB: 11,800MB/s|
|2TB, 1TB: 5000MB/s|
|2TB, 4TB: 1,500K|
1TB: 630K IOPS
|2TB, 4TB: 1,500K|
| 1200TBW (2TB)|
|Software||Crucial Storage Executive||Crucial Storage Executive|
|Release Date||May 30, 2023||August 3, 2021|
(add $30 for the heatsink versions)
|Warranty||5 years||5 years|
A familiar drive that’s more
As you might have noted from the table above, the Crucial T700 is similar to its older PCIe 4.0 brother, plus double the performance.
At the core, this is a standard M.2 NVMe SSD that will work in the place where any NVMe SSD is used, but you need PCIe 5.0 support to get the best out of it.
Like previous Crucial drives, the T700 includes helpful Storage Executive dashboard software (available for Windows and Linux). The application allows users to access the SSD's features, such as managing its security, Over-provisioning, firmware, and more.
Additionally, there's also a rebrand version of Acronis True Image for drive cloning and backup purposes.
So if you have used a Crucial SSD before, or any SSD for that matter, you'll feel right at home with the new T700.
Crucial T700: Detail photos
Crucial T700: Fastest NVMe SSD to date
The Crucial T700 is easily the fastest SSD I've tested to date. But since it's the first PCIe 5.0 drive I've used, that didn't mean it was the fastest among its peers. That remains to be seen.
What's important is that I was consistently impressed during the month-long trial. The drive made my newly-built PCIe 5.0 rig -- a Ryzen 7000 machine based on an ASUS Prime B650M-A-CSM board -- a pleasure to work with.
The system booted almost instantly each time, and everything felt faster. And I moved to it from many other top-tier PCIe 4.0 SSDs.
In terms of throughput performance, the T700 consistently topped the charts. I didn't test it with PCIe 3.0 since I no longer had a computer with that standard, but it's safe to say it'll be at least slightly faster than any legacy SSD on an old motherboard.
The Crucial T700 was fast even during long operations, such as when I copied over 100GB of data back and forth. It didn't throttle down.
And that brings us to how this new SSD is still far from perfect.
The extreme heat
I tested the T700's 2TB capacity using a naked and a heatsink version. While the latter worked with no issues, the non-heatsink drive would crash -- a thermal shutdown -- every five or 10 minutes when used as-is due to the extreme heat it produced.
Starting with PCIe 4.0, NVMe SSDs can get quite hot. But the naked T700 would get so hot in heavy operation that I could not rest my finger on it for over a second. And it got to that point quickly, within a minute or so while under high load.
In short, you can't use the naked T700 reliably without a heat-reducing solution. The good news is that many computers include heat-dissipating metal covers or thermal pads for their M.2 slots.
In my case, a simple metal cover was enough for the naked T700 to work without crashing on my open testbed. Your luck will vary if you have a computer with tight internal parts, such as a laptop.
It's worth noting that I tested the Crucial T700 using pre-release firmware. Future versions will generally improve the drive's functions. Still, if you use PCIe 4.0 or later SSDs, keep the heat issue in mind.
Crucial T700 PCIe 5.0 SSD's Rating
Screaming performance with PCIe 5.0 or 4.0
Helpful Storage Executive software with useful settings and features
Micron's Crucial T700 is an exciting NVMe SSD. At the very least, it shows how PCIe 5.0 is a game-changer in performance.
But the new standard doesn't come without a price. And by that, I mean more than the drive's current hefty cost. The heat issue can be prohibitive in certain applications, and you'll likely need a new computer to experience the drive's true performance.
Still, for desktops and game consoles, as long as your rig has a good heat-reduction solution or if you get the heatsink version of the drive, this new little SSD is a performance delight.