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Micron’s New Crucial P3 Gives PCIe Gen 4 and Gen 3 Budget Users Equal Attention

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Micron today announced the availability of its two new NVMe solid-state drives (SSDs) that share the same name, the Crucial P3.

Or you can think of them as a single drive with two flavors. What sets them apart are the suffixes Plus Gen 4 and Gen 3. In other words, you'll have to call them with mouthful names or risk getting confused.

The shared name likely results from the fact that, according to Micron, the two both use the company's homegrown 76L 3D NAND Flash memory, which is "subject to change while delivering consistent or better performance according to the product's specifications."

The gist is that the same Crucial P3 released at a different time might use slightly different types of flash. But in any case, keep in mind that you can use these drives interchangeably.

Micron Crucial P3
Micron's new Crucial P3 Plus (top) and Crucial P3 NVMe SSDs are now available.

Dong's note: I first published this piece on May 31, 2022, when Micron announced the new SSDs, and updated it on July 7 to include the pricing when drives are available for purchase.

Crucial P3 Plus Gen 4 NVMe SSD: A lesser version of the P5 Plus

As the same suggests, the Crucial P3 Plus Gen 4 supports the latest PCIe Gen 4 to deliver a new performance class with up to 5000MB/s and 4200MB/s and read and write speeds, which are some 43% faster than drives of PCIe Gen 3, according to Micron.

While that's fast, the new drive is slower than the P5 Plus that came out more than two years ago, which had another 1000MB/s in the claimed speeds.

You can generally expect an NVNe's sustained speeds to be around 70% of these estimates in real-world usage. But generally, higher vendor-claimed speeds tend to produce faster real-life performance, which depends on various conditions.

Crucial P3 Gen 3 NVMe SSD: A better alternative to previous versions

The Crucial P3 Gen 3 is an official replacement for the P2, which was notorious for being slow. Specifically, Micron says the new drive will be 45% faster. And if you're still using the Crucial P1 SATA drive, upgrading to the P3 will be a huge improvement.

Supporting the older PCIe Gen 3, the Crucial P3 is compatible with older hardware than the P3 Plus. Micron says the new SSD is "well-suited for DIYers, casual gamers, professionals, entry-level designers." But basically, it's a new option for anyone who's still using SATA storage and can upgrade to NVMe.

Here's the Micron Crucial P5 Plus PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD in action.
The Micron Crucial P5 Plus PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD is in action. The upcoming new drive will share the same design.

The way NVMe drives work, you can generally use those of the PCIe Gen 4 and PCIe Gen 3 interchangeably. However, you need to use a Gen 4 drive with a PCIe Gen 4 slot to get the best performance out of it.


At the announcement, Micron said the two new Crucial P3 NVMe SSDs would be available this summer, both with "affordable" pricing, similar to the case of other options in its growing Micron SSD portfolio that includes the P5 PlusX8X6MX500, and BX500

And the company kept its promise. The two drives are shipping today, July 7, 2022, literally in the middle of summer. The Crucial P3's retail price starts at $55 (500GB) all the way to $350 (4TB). The Crucial P3 Gen 4 is slightly more expensive, costing between $10 to $20 more, depending on the capacity.

I might get them for a review later, but, judging from the cost, these drives are indeed affordable upgrade options. It's probably safe to get one today.

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