The Crucial T700 sets a new standard in performance when it comes to Consumer Grade SSDs, pushing speeds faster than many other NVME PCI-E Gen 5 SSDs available today, currently holding the crown for fastest Random IOPS and bandwidth overall! Supporting DirectStorage (A Microsoft API that allows near instantaneous loading times on games that support it, like what can be seen on today’s consoles) also gives it another level of advantage over PCI-E Gen 4 SSDs available today.
The T700 Comes out in 3 Sizes with or without a heatsink. 1TB ($319 w/o Heatsink or $369 with), 2TB ($599/$669) and 4TB ($1049/$1099). If you do get a non-heatsink version, it is recommended you get an aftermarket cooling solution on it for both the performance and longevity of the device as these do put out quite a bit of heat. Most motherboards these days have plates and panels that will passively cool your drive so just make sure before you buy.
While fast, there are different speeds depending on the size of the SSD you purchase. The 1TB model is clocked at a maximum of 11,700 MBps (megabytes per second) read and 9,500 MBps write albeit fast, this is the slower of the options available. The 2TB and 4TB have matching specs for speed at 12,400 MBps Read and 11,800 MBps Write.
So, what do the numbers mean?
PCI-E or PCI-Express is the current standard for internal connections between the CPU and other devices. CPUs will have a dedicated number of PCI-E lanes these lanes can be dedicated to certain devices depending on the configuration. The T700 is rated at PCI-E Gen 5 x4. This means it will use 4 PCI-E lanes. My test rig is running an i9 13900kf with a total of 20 PCI-E lanes.
Depending on your motherboard’s configuration you may find that your Primary M.2 slot is sharing PCI-E Lanes with your primary GPU slot. When you only have a GPU installed you will have a full x16 lane slot available to the GPU.
Once you install the T700 into the primary M.2 slot. This connector is directly attached to the CPU using the same PCI-E lanes running to the GPU. This means it must take 4 lanes from the 16 lanes assigned to the GPU, halving the GPU lanes to the CPU at 8 lanes with 4 lanes going to the M.2 connector.
Now I know the math doesn’t add up. A 16-lane slot minus 4 lanes for the SSD, technically that should be a 12-lane slot for the GPU and 4 lanes for the SSD. There is no such thing as a 12-lane slot, and the PCI-E standard does not and never will support it that way.
One other thing you may be worried about is does halving the lanes means bandwidth availability to and from the GPU. The short answer is yes but not enough to worry you or even notice. (Depending on the workload it could be 1-2% difference)
Now with that caveat out the way. Let’s talk about how it holds up against other SSDs that were considered top-tier for Gen 4.0 PCI-E.
In my test rig, we have the Crucial T700 Gen 5 NVME 2.0 SSD 2TB up against a Samsung 980 Pro Gen 4 NVME 1.3 SSD 1TB at PCI-E Gen 4 as well as an older Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVME 1.3 M.2 SSD at PCI-E Gen 3.
The Samsung 980 and 970 drives are not slow by any means, but this demonstrates the performance leap between generations 3, 4 and 5.
Crucial T700 2TB is rated at 12,400 MBps Read and 11,800 MBps Write. Gen 5
The 980 Pro 1TB is rated at 7,000 MBps read and 5,000 MBps Write. Gen 4
The 970 Pro 1TB is rated at 3,500 MBps read and 3,300 MBps Write. Gen 3
The speeds are fast, but with speed comes heat. Gen 5 SSDs (Not just the T700) tend to run hot. The T700 has a thermal throttle limit of 82 degrees Celsius.
Under sustained loads (copying large files or installing large games) 82 degrees is very easy to hit under non-heatsinked conditions. This doesn’t mean the SSD will slow down to flash drive speeds, 9 times out of 10 you will probably find you don’t even notice, with my testing, it was able to complete the job without throttling.
I have tested the SSD in 3 states.
First was as the drive was received – With Heatsink.
Second was with the heatsink removed.
Third was with my motherboard’s aluminium block heatsink.
First test the drive idled around the 58-degree mark with the factory heatsink installed but under load maxed out at 82 degrees, however, there was no noticeable difference in performance during my tests.
This led me to the next set of tests by removing the heatsink (this will void the 5-year warranty. It is recommended that if you have the non-heatsink edition, you purchase or use some form of heatsink as it WILL throttle. Which was evident by idling in the mid 70’s. I chickened out and didn’t even stress test as there was no point. It would hit 82 quickly.
Having reached this conclusion, I then installed it back in the machine and re-fitted the motherboard’s factory thermal block for the primary SSD. The board in question is a Gigabyte Aero Z790, A quick google of it will show you how big this block is. Booting to windows the drive idled around 30-35 but took a substantially longer time to reach equilibrium with the cooling capabilities of the block and the room temperature. Doing the final stress test the SSD Maxed at 72 degrees after the benchmark tests I did earlier to capture the above.
The T700 is PS5 compatible without a heatsink but given the amount of room you have in the console with no room for a heatsink I wouldn’t recommend it, but it can do it!
All in all, the Crucial T700 NVME SSD 2TB is a great SSD for the latest generation of SSDs if you want to be an early adopter and have the bleeding edge of performance with a sleek designed heatsink and currently top-of-the-line performance at a reasonable price point for a wicked fast piece of equipment.