After discussing a good deal on an incredibly rapid NVMe SSD, I thought I should let you know about something on the other side of the spectrum: a 500GB NVMe SSD going for just £36. This is the Crucial P2, a drive that’s been reviewed warmly here at RPS, and it’s a 34% reduction from the drive’s UK RRP.
So: why the Crucial P2? Basically, if you can fit one in your PC or laptop, there’s little reason to get a SATA SSD anymore – NVMe SSDs have now gotten incredibly cheap, while offering upwards of 4x the sequential read and write performance. This P2 is able to hit 2300MB/s reads and slightly slower writes, which makes it considerably faster than the likes of the Crucial MX500, the same company’s premiere SATA drive, which is limited to the 560MB/s of the SATA interface. Previously SATA drives were cheaper, but now the 500GB MX500 costs £12 more – so the P2 is the obvious choice.
This NVMe over SATA argument is strengthened by the advent of DirectStorage, which was released as an API for game developers to implement a few weeks ago. The idea here is to remove the traditional I/O bottlenecks, allowing GPUs to read game data into memory directly without involving the CPU, and should result in considerable speedups in games that support the tech. DirectStorage is only supported by NVMe drives like the P2, so it could make a massive difference once Microsoft’s standard is widely adopted – something that ought to happen given the Redmond-based company’s position in the gaming market.
Of course, there are some downsides to the P2 as well. It’s a DRAM-less SSD, which means that it doesn’t have onboard DRAM to act as a cache. This makes some operations, like random writes, slower after the drive’s SLC cache is exhausted. This isn’t a big deal for game load times, but might push you towards a higher-spec PCIe 3.0 or PCIe 4.0 drive (like the Samsung 980 Pro we linked in the opening paragraph) if you’re using this drive to house your Windows installation.
Overall though, this is an incredible amount of performance for the money, and if you have a laptop or desktop with an NVMe slot that isn’t being used, you should definitely pick one of these up to fill it up and give yourself some extra storage.