Crucial has started to tease the T700, the company's first mainstream PCIe 5.0 SSD. Not to be confused with the Terminator T-700, the T700's product page has already gone live but still lacks some of the M.2 2280 SSD's finer details. However, it does show some basic specifications that suggest that the T700 will deliver higher performance than rival first-generation PCIe 5.0 drives.

Different as they may look, the first wave of SSDs all have something in common: they leverage Phison's PS5026-E26 PCIe 5.0 controller and its eight-channel design. There are other PCIe 5.0 SSD controllers for storage vendors to pick from, including Silicon Motion's SM2508 or InnoGrit's IG5666. However, the E26 has become the de facto PCIe 5.0 controller for PCIe 5.0 SSDs.

The T700, like many rivals before it, utilizes the E26 controller. Crucial rates the T700 with sequential read and writes up to 12.4 GB/s and 11.8 GB/s, respectively. It's twice as fast as the P5 Plus PCIe 4.0 SSD and up to 22 times faster than the MX500 SATA SSD. Crucial has granted Linus Tech Tips a small preview of the T700. An extract from the previewer's guide has exposed the T700's sequential and random performance. According to the snippet, the expected sequential read and write performance on the T700 is 12 GB/s and 11 GB/s. The figures are somewhat lower than the specifications from the T700's product page. The T700's numbers reach 1.5 million IOPS reads and writes regarding random performance. The performance varies slightly between the different capacities.

If the T700 delivers on the claims, it would make the drive one of the fastest PCIe 5.0 SSDs and put it ahead of its competitors, such as the Corsair MP700, Gigabyte Aorus Gen5 10000, or the MSI Spatium M570 Pro. The only faster drives in development are Adata's Project Nighthawk and Project Blackbird SSDs, with sequential read and write speeds of 14 GB/s and 12 GB/s and 14 GB/s and 10 GB/s, respectively. Adata's forthcoming PCIe 5.0 SSDs are the only confirmed drives to employ the Innogrit IG5666 PCIe 5.0 controller.

Crucial T700 Specifications
  1 TB 2 TB 4 TB
Seq Reads (MB/s) 11,500 12,000 12,000
Seq Writes (MB/s) 8,500 11,000 11,000
Random Reads (K IOPS) 1,200 1,500 1,500
Random Writes (K IOPS) 1,500 1,500 1,500
Endurance (TBW) 600 1,200 2,400

The E26 controller can deliver sequential read and write speeds up to 14 GB/s and 11.8 GB/s, respectively, if paired with 2,400 MT/s NAND. Unfortunately, current PCIe 5.0 SSDs are far from exploiting the E26's full potential due to the limited supplies of that newest-generation NAND. Many drives sport 1,600 MT/s NAND, so they fail to break the 10 GB/s barrier. Like its competitors, the Crucial T700 uses Micron 232-layer 3D TLC NAND chips. Micron's 232-layer NAND runs at different speeds: 1,600 MT/s, 2,000 MT/s, and 2,400 MT/s. Crucial didn't specify the grade of the NAND with the T700, but given the SSD's advertised performance, it stands to reason that the drive likely uses the 2,000 MT/s variant. There are obvious perks to Micron being the parent company. Crucial likely has dibs on the higher-binned NAND chips, so securing 2,000 MT/s NAND isn't as big of an issue. Surprisingly, Crucial didn't equip the T700 with 2,400 MT/s, but that could be a cost-benefit decision, or 2,400 MT/s NAND yields haven't reached the point where there's a steady supply.

Crucial offers the T700 in 1 TB, 2 TB, and 4 TB capacities. The 4 TB model has the best endurance at 2,400 TBW. The T700 is available with and without a heatsink, so the drive will fit into desktops, laptops, and gaming consoles. Linus Tech Tips' results showed the maximum operating temperatures between the T700 with the included heatsink (67 degrees Celsius) and the T700 with the motherboard heatsink (66 degrees Celsius) were similar after 15 minutes of stressing the SSD at 100% disk usage. However, there weren't any tests with the non-heatsink version. Many PCIe 5.0 SSDs come with beefy passive heatsinks, and some even have a tiny cooling fan for active cooling. On the T700's product page, Crucial recommends that consumers install the non-heatsink version on a motherboard or an alternate heatsink to ensure the best performance.

Crucial still needs to reveal the pricing for the T700. However, the company tweeted that the T700 will be available in May, so it's a short wait before we get more details on the PCIe 5.0 drive.

Source: Crucial

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  • Wereweeb - Thursday, March 23, 2023 - link

    You don't really save much money by going with an SSD with lower sequential speeds. The current higher costs of PCIe 5.0 SSD's are mostly about ammortising high R&D and tooling costs - once that's done their prices will start decreasing sharply. So if you wait for a little while you'll be able to get a PCIe 5.0 SSD for the high capacity drive.

    But really, you don't need high sequential speeds for a video and music drive, and high sequentials also don't actually improve a boot drive's performance, since it won't be moving massive files constantly. Sequentials are better for big constant data streams, like gaming in 4K or video editing. If you don't do those you don't need PCIe 5.0.

    For a snappier boot drive you really want lower latencies, so that it takes less time for the processor to get the data it needs from the SSD. That means, you want an SLC or Optane SSD. Also, you don't really need to buy two separate SSD's for that, it'd be overall cheaper to build just one SSD with tons of NAND, and use some of that NAND in pseudo-SLC mode. (Or pair lots of NAND with some Optane).

    Lo and behold, a few years ago that's exactly what the FuzeDrive by Enmotus and the Intel H10 did. Enmotus built a hybrid SLC-QLC SSD and had the software necessary to manage the data properly, keeping the latency-sensitive "hot data" in the low-latency SLC section. Intel did something similar with the H10, except they used Optane memory, which has lower latencies than SLC SSD's but added a LOT to the cost.

    You know what Intel's Optane-NAND SSD's and the Enmotus FuzeDrive have in common? Intel's Optane business was shut down, and Enmotus is no more. No one bought these "optimised SSD's".

    "Low capacities, rated at the same sequential speeds, but for more money?! That's a scam!" they said.

    No one wants a "fast and snappy boot drive" to pair with a "big slow SSD", because no one cares enough to bother learning how they can get that, who can provide them with that, and then to actually pay double or more $/GB to actually have it.

    And that's because any NVME SSD, even a PCIe 3.0 one that uses QLC and has no DRAM, is already "snappy" and "high capacity" enough for everyone not to really care about these things. Since everyone buys them, more of them are manufactured, and economies of scale means they get even cheaper in $/GB compared to niche competitors.

    The only exception is that PCIe 5.0 drives are REALLY good for video editing and will be good for high-res high-framerate gaming, which is the only reason why anyone is buying PCIe 5.0 drives in the first place.
  • nandnandnand - Friday, March 24, 2023 - link

    What "we" really want is a non-volatile storage technology superior to NAND and DRAM.
  • stephenbrooks - Friday, March 24, 2023 - link

    The bigger capacity drives are faster because of NAND parallelism.
  • ballsystemlord - Thursday, March 23, 2023 - link

    Did anyone notice that these drives are rated a bit low on endurance?
    Like Corsair's MP510 1TB drive is rated at 1700TBW according to AT.
  • FunBunny2 - Friday, March 24, 2023 - link

    "Did anyone notice that these drives are rated a bit low on endurance?"

    I'll ask again: have we not gotten TLC/QLC, in particular, NAND on current node(s) rather than the legacy 20/30/40 (much more rugged) nodes we were promised? ok, just kidding.
  • JTWrenn - Friday, March 24, 2023 - link

    This feels like we are heading in the wrong direction. Do this for enterprise, for the rest of us make much larger, cheaper per TB drives. Nearly everyone doesn't need this fast a drive, what they do need is much more space on a fast reliable drive.
  • FunBunny2 - Saturday, March 25, 2023 - link

    "what they do need is much more space on a fast reliable drive."

    given that the 3.5" FF is still available, a bit I guess, I suspect one could get multiple TB on, say 30nm, NAND into such a FF. rugged MLC that lasts forever. wait... would using 30nm MLC NAND really piss off the foundries? ok, just kidding.
  • CoreLogicCom - Monday, March 27, 2023 - link

    Why are Adata's Project Nighthawk SSDs faster than Project Blackbird SSDs? Are they referencing actual birds or military aircraft names? If its the latter, they may want to consider reversing the project names because the Blackbird being slower is just silly. Maybe its the marketing guys thinking they can sell more slower SSDs if they name it something faster?

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