Without a Cooler, Crucial's PCIe 5.0 SSD Decelerates to HDD Speeds

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Slated for release late May the Crucial T700 is poised to become the fastest consumer SSD on the market. Corsair's rival MP700 recently caught the spotlight when reviewers tested the SSD without a cooler, contrary to the manufacturer's guidance. 

The tests exposed a weakness in the MP700's firmware related to thermal throttling. Phison's firmware engineering team, however, quickly addressed the problem and is now working on a firmware update to resolve the issue.

The T700 and MP700 share several key components, such as the Phison PS5026-E26 PCIe 5.0 controller and Micron 232-layer 3D TLC NAND. Nonetheless, the T700 employs slightly faster NAND, clocked at 2,000 MT/s, compared to the 1,600 MT/s variant found in other E26-powered drives. This higher-grade NAND enables the T700 to achieve impressive sequential read and write speeds of up to 12.4 GB/s and 11.8 GB/s, respectively. Although both drives use the same controllers and similar Micron NAND, their firmware is distinct.

Without a heatsink, the German publication ComputerBase breached the embargo and reported that the T700 experienced thermal throttling during CrystalDiskMark tests, reaching temperatures as high as 86 degrees Celsius. Consequently, write speeds dropped significantly to around 100 MB/s. Our own tests corroborate these findings, with the T700 performing well in benchmarks like DiskBench without a heatsink but showing thermal throttling in extended tests. After 15 minutes of continuous use, the average write performance declined to 1,027 MB/s for the bare drive, compared to 3,681 MB/s with a heatsink. The thermal throttling operated as intended. However, in everyday usage scenarios, sustained writes at the drive's impressive near-12 GB/s speed are unlikely.

Crucial provides two T700 options: a bare drive and a version with a heatsink. The price difference between the two is $30. It's crucial to understand that choosing the bare drive does not mean it can operate without a heatsink or cooler. Like Corsair, Crucial recommends using a heatsink with their PCIe 5.0 SSD.

The bare drive caters to consumers planning to use their motherboard's integrated M.2 heatsink with the T700. This strategy resembles Intel's choice to cease including stock coolers with their K-series processors, as enthusiasts often opt for aftermarket cooling solutions. Depending on your motherboard, CPU cooler, and graphics card selection, fitting a large M.2 cooler might prove challenging. Therefore, if you choose the T700 bare drive, ensure your motherboard supports a compatible cooler, particularly if you expect to engage in sustained write activities.

Without a Cooler, Crucial's PCIe 5.0 SSD Decelerates to HDD Speeds

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