We recognize that most motherboards are still limited to PCIe 4.0 despite our recent focus on the shiny new thing (PCIe 5.0): AMD’s socket AM5 is the only platform thus far that was designed support PCIe 5.0 storage natively, and even the latest of Intel’s platforms is forced to steal half of the graphics card’s lanes to reach PCIe 5.0 on a single M.2 slot (wasting the other four lanes).It makes sense for us to circle back to the latest developments in the previous interface when so much money is on the line, and that’s where the T500 comes in:
|Crucial T500 2TB CT2000T500SSD5|
|Form Factor||M.2 2280|
|Interface||PCIe 5.0 x4 (NVMe 2.0)|
|Flash||Micron 232L TLC|
We mention price because not only is the (inflated?) $180 MSRP nearly half as cheap as that of the PCIe 5.0 T700, but the actual $125 to $135 web price we’ve seen over the past week is less than half of the T700’s actual web price of $270 to $300. Its actual web price is also about $10 cheaper than that of the fastest PCIe 4.0 2.0TB drive/heat sink combo that we’ve already tested, $5 less than the same drive with its manufacturer’s PS5-compatible heat sink, and only $5 more than that competitor’s drive is currently selling for…bare. Oh, and if that doesn’t win you over, well, the T500 2TB is also available without a heatsink for around $10 less. Yet the T500 still needs to prove itself!
Packed in nothing more than a plastic tray that includes only the drive and manual (above), the heat sink equipped version CT2000T500SSD5 comes with a five-year warranty. Appearing to be glued into its heat sinks (below), only those who have received the non-heatsink version have been able to peel the sticker to reveal the Phison PS5025-E25 controller, the Micron 232-layer (B58R) NAND, and the 16Gb (2GB) of DDR4-2400 cache IC.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 7950X: 16C/32T 4.5-5.7 GHz, 64MB L3 Cache, Socket AM5|
|CPU Cooler||Alphacool Core 1 Aurora, VPP655 with Eisbecher D5 150mm, NexXxoS UT60 X-Flow|
|Motherboard||ASRock X670E Taichi, Socket AM5, BIOS 1.11 (10-21-2022)|
|Graphics||Powercolor Red Devil Radeon 6750 XT: 2324-2623MHz GPU, 12GB GDDR6|
|Power||be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Platinum|
|Memory||Lexar Thor OC DDR5-6000 2x16GB (32GB) CL32-38-38-96 1.30V|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
The comparison Rocket 4 Plus we used included Sabrent’s giant $20 heatsink, so it makes sense that it would run cooler than the slimly-cooled T500 of the same capacity. The other two drives are both PCIe 5.0, which comes with its own (larger) thermal issues.
We were surprised to see Sandra showing the T500 with roughly the same performance as previous generation parts, though there might be a limit within the software. Let’s see what AIDA64 shows…
AIDA64 also shows the T500 performing similarly to the Rocket 4 Plus, though the NM800 Pro falls behind.
3DMark shows the T500 barely leading other PCIe 4.0 drives.
The T500 takes a more consistent lead over the Rocket 4 Plus and NM800 Pro in PCMark, and we finally see a benchmark where it’s quicker than the older PCIe 4.0 drives.
Hoping things would take a turn in ATTO, we’re again not seeing any big advantage for the newer PCIe 4.0 hardware.
CrystalDiskMark sees the same thing as ATTO.
Even DiskBench copies files in about the same time for both the T500 and Rocket 4 Plus.
Slight leads in 3DMark and PCMark put the T500 ahead of the similarly-priced Rocket 4 in real-world performance advantage. Those benchmarks are based on real-world fetch and copy operations, so if you think that those patterns represent your own, Crucial would like the T500 to represent…you.
We have an MSRP-based value chart, but it hardly makes sense with the ~$140 Sabrent drive carrying a ludicrous $260 MSRP. Conversely, the T500’s price has change three times in the past three days, so street price is just as difficult to use. But at this very moment the spread between all three drives at Amazon is less than $10, so maybe the only price difference that matters is the big one that currently separates PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 5.0 models?
|Crucial T500 2TB CT2000T500SSD5|
|Fastest PCIe 4.0 M.2 drive tested|
Far less costly than PCIe 5.0 models
PS5-compatible slim heatsink
Five year / 1,2000TBW Warranty
|(We were expecting a larger performance advancement)|
|The T500 2TB is barely faster than, yet priced similarly to, our fastest previous-generation drive.|
Even the slightest advantage over the previous leader is enough for a product to earn our Approved award, and the Crucial T500 2TB gets here by edging out the venerated Rocket 4 Plus.