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Micron Crucial P5 Plus Review: A Formidable Contender (vs Samsung 980 PRO)

Micron’s latest NVMe solid-state drive, the Crucial P5 Plus, first announced on August 3, 20210, is a formidable rival to the Samsung 980 PRO.

This is the second PCIe 4.0 I’ve tested, and it delivered excellent performance, even when working with an older PCIe 3.0 motherboard.

That, plus the friendly cost — $80, $140, and $310 for 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB, respectively — means this new NVMe SSD is a clear winner in the pricing contest. The two deliver about the same performance and have similar features.

If you’re looking for a top-notch NVMe SSD, the new Crucial P5 Plus is an easy recommendation. It works best with a PCIe 4.0-ready computer, but it’ll do well, too, with any existing NVMe-ready supported motherboard. Get one!

Dong’s note: I first published this post on  August 4, 2021, when the SSD was launched as a new piece and upgraded to a full review on August 13, 2021, after thorough hands-on testing.

See also  SSD Explained: Everything You Need To Know about Solid-State Drives
Here's the Micron Crucial P5 Plus PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD in action.
Here’s the Micron Crucial P5 Plus PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD in action.

Micron Crucial P5 Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD

$179.99
9.2

Performance

9.5/10

Features

9.0/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Affordable
  • PCIe 4.0 support, backward compatible with PCIe Gen 3
  • Helpful Storage Executive software
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Comparatively modest endurance
  • Capacities cap at 2TB

Micron Crucial P5 Plus: A Solid Next-Gen Solid State Drive

Like most high-end NVMe SSDs, the P5 Plus takes the standard 2280 NVMe design — it’s 80mm long and 22mm wide.

Apart from PCIe 4.0, the drive also works with a PCIe Gen 3 M.2 slot, which is still popular in most computers.

PCIe
Gen
Commercially AvailableRate per lane
(rounded)
x1 
Speed
x2
Speed
x4
Speed
x8
Speed
x16 Speed
120032 Gbps250 MB/s0.5 GB/s1.0 GB/s2 GB/s4.0 GB/s
220074 Gbps500 MB/s1 GB/s2.0 GB/s4 GB/s8.0 GB/s
320108 Gbps984.6 MB/s1.97 GB/s3.94 GB/s7.88 GB/s15.8 GB/s
4202016 Gbps1969 MB/s3.94 GB/s7.88 GB/s15.75 GB/s31.5 GB/s
5TBD32 Gbps3938 MB/s7.88 GB/s15.75 GB/s31.51 GB/s63 GB/s
PCI Express PCIe in brief
Note: 1 Gigabyte per second (GB/s) = 1000 Megabyte per second (MB/s) | 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) = 125 MB/s

Needless to say, but you need PCIe 4.0 to get the best performance out of this new SSD. The table below shows the differences in throughputs of different PCIe generations.

On the inside, it houses Micron’s home-grown Advanced 3D NAND flash memory and has a rated MTTF greater than 2 million hours.

Micron Crucial P5 Plus PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD
The Micron Crucial P5 Plus PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD’s retail box.

Micron Crucial P5 Plus vs Samsung SSD 980 PRO: Hadware specifications

Micron Crucial P5 Plus Samsung SSD 980 PRO
Capacities 512GB, 1TB, 2TB 250GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
Interface PCIe 4.0 x4, NVMe 1.3c PCIe 4.0 x4, NVMe 1.3c
Design M.2 (2280)  M.2 (2280) 
ControllerCrucial home-grownSamsung Elpis Controller
NAND Flash MemoryMicron Advanced 3D NAND Samsung 1xx-layer V-NAND 3-bit MLC
SecurityFull-drive encryption
capable (TCG OPAL 2.0
AES 256-bit Full Disk Encryption, 
TCG/Opal V2.0, 
Encrypted Drive (IEEE1667)
Sequential ReadUp to 6600MB/sUp to 7,000 MB/s
Sequential WriteUp to 5000MB/s (2TB, 1TB)
Up to 4000MB/s (500GB)
Up to 5,000 MB/s
Endurance 
(Terabyte Written)
1200TBW (2TB)
600TBW (1TB)
300TBW (500GB)
1200TBW (2TB)
600TBW (1TB)
300TBW (500GB)
150TBW (250GB)
SoftwareCrucial Storage ExecutiveSamsung Magician
Release DateAugust 3, 2021September 2020
Cost (at review)$80 (500GB)
$140 (1TB)
$310 (2TB)
 $90 (250GB)
$150 (500GB)
$230 (1TB)
$430 (2TB)
Warranty 5 years 5 years
Hardware specifications: Micron Crucial P5 Plus vs Samsung SSD 980 PRO

Useful features and software, similarly modest endurance

According to Micron, the new Crucial P5 Plus’ advanced features include:

  • Dynamic write acceleration
  • Redundant array of independent NAND (RAIN)
  • Multistep data integrity algorithm
  • Adaptive thermal protection
  • Integrated power loss immunity
  • Active garbage collection & TRIM support
  • Self-monitoring and reporting technology (SMART)
  • Error correction code (ECC)
  • NVMe autonomous power state transition (APST)
  • Full-drive encryption capable (TCG OPAL 2.0)

To manage all those, the Crucial P5 Plus comes with the familiar Crucial Storage Executive software toolbox that’s comparable to the Samsung Magician of the 980 PRO.

The software is useful for checking the status, firmware update, overprovisioning/cache management, and other tools.

Micron Crucial P Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD Storage Executive Software
The Crucial Storage Executive software is an excellent toolbox for the P5 Plus.

On top of that, the Crucial P5 Plus shares the same endurance level as the Samsung 980 PRO.

Specifically, if you write some 100GB, which is a lot of data, a day and do that every day to the 1TB version, it’ll take some 15 years to wear the drive out. If you use the 500GB or 2TB versions, you’d need 7.5 years and 30 years, respectively.

And those are a very long time — generally, you won’t need to worry about waring the drive out. However, compared to many PCIe 3.0 drives, the P5 Plus’ endurance is still modest. The Samsung 970 PRO, for example, has twice the longevity.

But what the Crucial P5 Plus lacks in endurance, if at all, it more than makes up in performance, which is the most important thing anyway.

Micron Crucial P5 Plus PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD
The Micron Crucial P5 Plus is a standard PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe solid-state drive. Here’s its front side.

Micron Crucial P5 Plus: Stellar performance

Indeed, I tested the Micron Crucial P5 Plus with both PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 4.0 motherboards, and it excelled in both cases.

crucial P5 plus copy performance

In copy tests via PCIe 4.0, the new drive is a tad slower than the Samsung 980 PRO at almost 5400MB/s in sustained reading. However, it did so much better in writing at close to 4500MB/s.

And in my combined test, where the drive performed both reading and writing simultaneously, it topped the charts with almost 1700MB/s. In tests with PCIe 30., the Crucial also beat the Samsung by a small margin with the read/write combo sustained score of over 1600MB/s.

crucial P plus random access performance

The Crucial P5 Plus did excellently in random access tests, too, topping the charts in reading tests. In writing, it was a bit slower than the Samsung rivals.

In all, both drives are excellent performers. But for the cost, the Crucial P5 Plus clearly had an advantage.

In real-world usage, though, I found no differences at all between the Samsung 980 PRO and the Crucial P5 Plus. Both delivered excellent storage experiences. For example, my test host computers — PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 3.0 machines — took just seconds to boot up, and all apps launched quickly.

No, neither delivered “instantaneous” app launching — that’s never gonna happen — but I had no issues at all on this front. And trust me when I tell you that I’m of the impatient type when it comes to tech.

Micron Crucial P5 Plus PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD
The backside of the Micron Crucial P5 Plus PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD. The drive is super-thin, allowing it to fit in any host.

Conclusion

The Micron Crucial P5 Plus is an excellent NVMe SSD and a clearly better choice than the Samsung 980 PRO, mostly thanks to its significantly more affordable pricing.

If you’re looking for a well-performance, feature-laden SSD for your gaming or professional rig, this is the drive to get. In fact, it’s a must-have if you use a motherboard that features PCIe 4.0.

Yes, you can spend more and get the Samsung 980 PRO, and you’ll love it, too — it’s an excellent SSD itself! But, in this case, you get nothing extra for the additional cost.

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4 thoughts on “Micron Crucial P5 Plus Review: A Formidable Contender (vs Samsung 980 PRO)”

  1. Hello,
    Just installed this drive and I see it runs somewhat hot (55C in standby,with nothing but background operations). In comparison my older INTEL NVme is at 35C and both of the older 2.5″ SSds at 27C.
    Have not tried a drive-taxing procedure,but wondering if you are finding similar temps in your setup.

    Thanks and thanks for all the great reviews.

    Dusan.

    Reply
    • You can see my drive’s temperature in the screenshot, Dusan. And I was testing it. I’d say that’s quite normal. Temp depends a lot on your environment, too.

      Reply
      • Apologies, I do see it. My set up is well cooled. I have added the bequiet! Mc1 pro M.2 cooler and the drive now runs at 30-34C. Much happier.

        Dusan

        Reply
        • No worries, Dusan. I appreciate your input. In fact, thanks to your question, I checked on the drive again just now — in my standard testing, I always use the device for an extended amount of time after the review — and its temperature seemed OK. Yes, it gets warm but not warmer than most other NVMe SSDs, including the Samsung 980 PRO. No, heat is never good but you can’t avoid it. 🙂

          Reply

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