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Crucial T700 NVMe SSD Review

Mitch Gassner Updated: Posted:
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Hardware Reviews 0

PCIe 5.0 NVMe drives are finally hitting the market in force. Corsair, Gigabyte, and other manufacturers recently released drives in the 10,000MB/s sector, and now Crucial is following that up with their faster T700 NVMe drive, rated at up to 12,400MB/s. Built with Micron 232-layer TLC NAND, the Crucial T700 is a high-performance storage solution designed to meet the increasing demands of modern applications and gaming, offering a significant speed boost over the fastest Gen4 SSDs. With the Crucial T700's generous capacity and impressive specifications, it presents an enticing option for users seeking fast, reliable, and capacious storage solutions. But do those amazing specs really translate into a better gaming experience, or are they just expensive kit for enthusiasts who are eternally chasing the cutting edge in PC tech? We got our hands on a couple of 2TB models to find out.

Specifications

  • Price with Heatsink - Purchase on Amazon
    • $209.99 (1TB)
    • $369.99 (2TB)
    • $629..99 (4TB)
  • Price without heatsink - Purchase on Amazon
    • $179.99 (1TB)
    • $339.99 (2TB)
    • $599.99 (4TB)
  • Sequential Read (MB/s)
    • 11700 (1TB)
    • 12400 (2TB)
    • 12400 (4TB)
  • Sequential Write (MB/s
    • 9500 (1TB)
    • 11800 (2TB)
    • 11800 (4TB)
  • Random Read (K IOPS)
    • 1350 (1TB)
    • 1500 (2TB)
    • 1500 (4TB)
  • Random Write (K IOPS)
    • 1400 (1TB)
    • 1500 (2TB)
    • 1500 (4TB)
  • Endurance (TBW)
    • 600 (1TB)
    • 1200 (2TB)
    • 2400 (4TB)
  • Form Factor: M.2 2280
  • Interface: PCIe 5.0 x4
  • Controller: Phison PS5026-E26
  • DRAM: LPDDR4
  • Flash Memory: 232-Layer Micron TLC
  • Direct Storage Compatible
  • Warranty: 5 years

Crucial T700 - What Is It?

The Crucial T700 is an M.2 2280 form factor NVMe drive and offers an excellent solution for the growing storage requirements of modern PCs. With today's games frequently surpassing 100GB in size, the Crucial T700 comes in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities, ensuring ample space to store a vast library of games, media files, and other data without the need for constant storage management. Where there’s speed, there’s also heat, so the T700 comes with a massive pyramid-shaped passive heatsink for heat dissipation. There’s also a “naked” version available if a large heatsink would interfere with other components in your build or if your motherboard already has functional heatsinks built into its aesthetic design.

Utilizing a Phison PS5026-E26 controller and Micron 232-layer TLC NAND over a PCIe 5.0 x4 interface, the Crucial T700 can theoretically deliver sequential reads/writes up to 12,400/11,800MB/s, nearly double the speed of the fastest Gen4 SSDs and more than 20 times faster than a SATA SSD. The T700 is backward compatible with PCIe 3.0 and 4.0, but your throughput will be affected by the limitations of the older generations, making it a poor value proposition for anyone without an available PCIe 5.0 slot

During the installation process, the Crucial T700 2TB NVMe drive is very user-friendly. For the heatsink version of the T700, you simply have to remove any pre-installed heatsink from your motherboard’s M.2 slot, slide the pinned edge into the slot, and screw down the opposite end. Since the bottom plate of my current drive’s heatsink (a Gigabyte Aorus Gen4) is too thick to fit into the M.2 Q-Latch locking mechanism on my ROG Strix motherboard, I was initially concerned that the T700’s heatsink would complicate things, but I was pleased to see that Crucial’s design fit without a hitch. Even considering its size, the T700’s matte black finish helps it hide away in the shadows so it doesn’t compromise the aesthetics of my motherboard.

The T700’s heatsink has a height of 20.5mm. With the proximity of most motherboard’s NVMe drive sitting precariously close to the CPU, this can cause a potential issue with any oversized VRM heatsinks or CPU water block. The heatsink can cause other installation issues as well, like my inability to install it into my motherboard’s second M.2 slot, which is partially covered by my GPU. 

That’s where the non-heatsink version steps in. Installation is the same as with the heatsink version. Whether it’s a motherboard’s built-in heatsink or an aftermarket addition, the T700 still needs some sort of heatsink to avoid extreme throttling due to heat. In the case of my motherboard, each M.2 slot has a built-in heat spreader, so once the T700 was in place, I simply peeled off the plastic protector on the heatsink’s thermal pad and screwed it into place over the T700.

Crucial T700 - Performance

We received both the heatsink and non-heatsink versions of the T700 2TB drive. While the Crucial T700 2TB NVMe drive's hardware specifications suggest excellent performance, it's essential to evaluate its real-world capabilities. To test its performance, we ran the Crucial T700 through a few common benchmarks. 

We tested both the heatsink and non-heatsink versions through multiple benchmarks to see if either one held a performance or thermal advantage over the other. To make a long story short, both drives were nearly identical performance-wise in every benchmark we threw at them. As for temperatures - something that becomes more of an issue with each PCIe generation - the heatsinked version of the T700 fared quite well, never rising above 63C in any test, leaving plenty of headroom below the T700’s thermal limit of 82C. The non-heatsink version performed even better, never rising above 59C; results here could vary based on the size of your motherboard’s heatsinks.

We tested the T700 in a PCIe 5.0 slot as well as a PCIe 4.0 and 3.0 slot to get a gen-over-gen comparison, and we also tested a Samsung EVO 860 1TB SATA 6GB/s SSD just to see how much of a performance gain going with an NVMe drive over a standard SATA SSD would net us.

All of the testing was done on the following system:

  • CPU: Ryzen R9 7900X @ 4.7GHz base clock
  • Motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix B650E-F Gaming WiFi
  • RAM: GSKill Flare X5 2x16GB DDR5-6000
  • Case: NZXT H7 Flow RGB
  • Power Supply: Cougar GEX X2 1000W

We started off with a 5-pass test with CrystalDiskMark 8.0.4 and followed that up with ATTO Disk Benchmark to get some raw performance numbers.

Sequential reads and writes in CrystalDiskMark were just a hair under Crucial’s claims of the T700’s expected performance, hitting 12375MB/s reads and 11824MB/s writes. Performance in ATTO Disk Benchmark was slightly lower, with reads and writes peaking at 11040MB/s and 11530MB/s, respectively, but these results are still a substantial improvement over the first round of PCIe drives that top out around 10000MB/s. And as you would expect, although the T700 performed near the top of the class when used in PCIe 4.0 and 3.0 slots, results were well below the numbers put up by the drive in a PCIe 5.0 slot. 

Sequential performance is great when you plan on moving a lot of large files, but random 4K reads and writes are more indicative of gaming performance. In my system, the T700’s 4K read/write performance was underwhelming, to say the least. Random 4K reads were more than double that of a SATA SSD, but there was only a 4% gain over PCIe 4.0 performance. And the T700’s PCIe 5.0 writes actually came in under its performance in a PCIe 4.0 and 3.0 slot.

With the random 4K performance of the T700 in question, we did reach out to Crucial for verification of our results. After supplying ample data on our test rig, Crucial did respond that the T700 does not perform on AMD platforms as well as Intel. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an Intel PCIe 5.0-equipped system available to test that claim.

Editor's Note: Crucial reached out to us ahead of this review to let us know that the most recent Windows update solves this performance disparity. Their comment reads: "After Updated Windows from 22621.1555 to 22621.1702 OS Random Write performance is improved ~15% to ~17% on the AMD chipset"

Moving on from pure speed tests, we used 3DMark’s Storage Benchmark to simulate a real-world gaming workload. And with loading times always being top of mind, we finished up testing with Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker Benchmark to see just how much time a Gen5 T700 could save us over previous generations. We also tried testing load times on several other games, but due to the human error introduced by manually recording times, we quickly decided those results were all but useless and chose not to include them here.

The T700’s 3DMark Storage Benchmark overall score of 4479 is 13.13% higher than its PCIe 4.0 score and is more than double the average benchmark score of 2141. The Final Fantasy XIV benchmark test also shows the T700 faring well when slotted into a PCIe 5.0 interface. This is probably the most telling result for the pure gamer, and it echoes something we’ve known for a long time now - NVMe drives are faster than SATA, but the odds of anyone noticing a 3.63-second load time difference is pretty slim, especially when that gap is spread out over multiple loading screens.

Final Thoughts

The Crucial T700 NVMe drive presents an impressive storage solution. The 1TB version is perfect for someone who is looking for a fast primary drive for their OS, while the 2TB and 4TB drives give some future proofing for ever-increasing install sizes and are perfect for someone who is looking for a single drive to handle all of their storage needs. 

The T700 is also currently the king of PCIe 5.0-powered speed. We saw this same stepping up of speed with Gen4 SSDs, though, and with an x4 slot expected to peak around 16MB/s, you can expect that the T700 will not keep that number-one spot forever. Regardless of whether the T700 can maintain the speed title, it does put to rest the concerns of the Phison E26 controller throttling due to overheating. The T700 is able to stay within thermal limits with just a passive heatsink, and my motherboard’s proprietary heat spreader handled the heat even better than Crucial’s design.

While the necessity of a PCIe 5.0 drive for gaming may be debated (give it up already, a SATA SSD is just fine for gaming, and you know it), the Crucial T700's adoption of this interface ensures future-proofing and provides an edge for users seeking maximum performance outside of gaming. Moreover, its generous 2 and 4TB capacities address the escalating storage demands of modern applications, particularly in gaming, where game sizes are growing exponentially. You still have to wonder, though, with SSD prices continuing to drop almost daily, is the performance of PCIe 5.0 really worth the price?

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Purchasing through our links provides a small commission that supports the site. Authors are not compensated based on clicks or compensation.
 
 
7.5Good
Pros
  • Fastest NVMe consumer drive on the market
  • Amazing sequential read/write performance
  • 2TB and 4TB options provide plenty of space for large game installs
  • Passive heatsink quietly controls heat buildup
Cons
  • Minimal performance gain for real-world gaming
  • Random 4K performance is no better than previous-generation SSDs


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Mitch Gassner

Part-time game reviewer, full-time gaming geek. Introduced to Pac-Man and Asteroids at a Shakey's Pizza in the '70s and hooked on games ever since.