News Unsavory Flash Swap: Re-Testing Crucial’s P2 SSD After QLC Downgrade

occational_gamer

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Tom's Hardware should update its original review to point to this updated article. Crucial is banking on consumers finding the original reviews.

Also, in addition to the regular "Best..." and "Editor's Choice" articles, there should be one listing all the models that should be avoided, based on shady manufacturer changes and updated reviews.
 
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Even if it did have its original TLC flash, The Samsung 980 500gb is on sale right now at B&H for $60, and that makes it a no brainer for a "budget" drive. The only negative there is the 1TB version often dips under $100.
 

hotaru251

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Why do ppl not petition for a law that mandates if you change a critical part of something it is requried by law to have a new product id/name to let ppl know this..

imagine buying a telsa and finding out it has a cheap electrical car battery/engine and not telsa's quality ones. yes, both will work, but they are not what u wanted to buy.
 
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Given that there are plenty of dram + SLC cache equipped QLC drives out there (Microcenter’s Inland Platinum line being a good example), nobody should be plunking down money for garbage like this Crucial crap. Micron is pretty foolish for playing games with their brand image.

That said, there’s a real mess (for consumers) to wade through in the NVMe market. The biggest problem is the huge gulf that’s opened up between “prosumer” grade TLC drives (e.g. Seagate Firecuda 510/520/530, Samsung 980 Pro, Inland’s “Premium” line) and the mainstream QLC drives. The TLC drives offer substantially better sustained write performance and TBW ratings in the 1000’s for 2TB drives. In contrast, the QLC counterparts, have issues with sustained writes and comparatively short endurance.

For example, (apples to apples) Inland’s 2TB Premium NVMe (TLC) drive has a TBW of 3,200 (for $249.99), versus their 2TB Platinum QLC drive (for $199.99), which has a TBW of just 450. If you’re workload is write intensive (large local dev builds, involving container and VM provisioning; people doing AV work, etc.), 450 TBW is not hard to burn through in just a few years. Yet many technical users, let alone consumers, are aware of these fundamental differences.

Throw in nonsense like Crucial’s part swapping, and it becomes even harder to understand what your getting. Layer in the final issue of OEM’s, like Dell and Lenovo, being completely opaque about what (generally crummy) SSD you’ll be getting, and you now have most people completely in the dark about the real performance or durability of a quantifiably limited-life computer component. IMHO, that’s an unacceptable state of affairs.
 

escksu

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Quietly swapping TLC for QLC, this is way worse than what Adata did.

Frankly, I could accept QLC with a large SLC cache provided the price reflects this. Since the average person hardly needs to write 50-100GB of data at once, the SLC cache is sufficient. However, quietly swapping the TLCs out to boost profit margins is terrible.
 
Nov 13, 2020
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Why do ppl not petition for a law that mandates if you change a critical part of something it is requried by law to have a new product id/name to let ppl know this..

imagine buying a telsa and finding out it has a cheap electrical car battery/engine and not telsa's quality ones. yes, both will work, but they are not what u wanted to buy.
I'm pretty sure this is already the case and it would be considered illegal if someone succeeded in suing Crucial.
 
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Nov 13, 2020
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That said, there’s a real mess (for consumers) to wade through in the NVMe market. The biggest problem is the huge gulf that’s opened up between “prosumer” grade TLC drives (e.g. Seagate Firecuda 510/520/530, Samsung 980 Pro, Inland’s “Premium” line) and the mainstream QLC drives.
The biggest problem is that for most people there are very few , if any, situations where the performance metrics of an nvme SSD really matters. Yet most of us still try to select our nvme drive using benchmark and reviews that we find online, so its very tempting for the likes of Micron and Adata to manipulate these reviews knowing that the vast majority of buyers will never realize that they didn't buy the same product as the one that was reviewed.

I think that once everyone understand that if they have an nvme SSD and the adequate amount of data space it usually don't really matter what brand and model they have and can simply buy the cheapest drive available, the market will became less complex and manufacturers will stop trying to manipulate their ranking. Meanwhile its a good thing that these dishonest practices are now under the scrutiny of reviewers.
 
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Paul Basso

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QLC should be banned same goes for PLC, they are just promoting e-waste reducing the expectancy life of SSD. Even the cost is not reduced enough to justify their short life
 

2Be_or_Not2Be

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The biggest problem is that for most people there are very few , if any, situations where the performance metrics of an nvme SSD really matters. Yet most of us still try to select our nvme drive using benchmark and reviews that we find online, so its very tempting for the likes of Micron and Adata to manipulate these reviews knowing that the vast majority of buyers will never realize that they didn't buy the same product as the one that was reviewed.

I think that once everyone understand that if they have an nvme SSD and the adequate amount of data space it usually don't really matter what brand and model they have and can simply buy the cheapest drive available, the market will became less complex and manufacturers will stop trying to manipulate their ranking. Meanwhile its a good thing that these dishonest practices are now under the scrutiny of reviewers.
For a mfg to switch from TLC to QLC as a straight-up profit move is reprehensible, and it sullies their brand image in my view.

However, in regards to the idea that it doesn't "really matter what brand and model they have" of NVMe drive, I could generally agree except for one thing about QLC drives. QLC drives can get into situations wherein the performance can drop to HDD levels (and even below). For buyers, now they could be getting a product that they thought was really good performance-wise, but could actually make their system at times feel like it's back to HDD performance. So you could legitimately say it actually does matter what brand/model of NVMe drive you buy.

I never recommend QLC-based drives (or DRAM-less drives) because the (sometimes) slight price savings isn't worth the drawbacks. They can be okay for the informed buyer who understands what they are getting, but most don't fall into that category. So for a mfg to basically secretly switch from TLC to QLC just for profit/cost-savings without making it a separate model/line, it's a real drop in how I regard them. I won't be looking at their SSDs anymore, and hopefully their memory division doesn't adopt the same deceptive practice.
 
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Krotow

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For a mfg to switch from TLC to QLC as a straight-up profit move is reprehensible, and it sullies their brand image in my view.
Yes. It ruined respect to Crucial in my eyes. Unfortunately now I should be very cautious when choosing something from this brand. Because if they did that with one drive model, they can do that with the rest of their production too.

I never recommend QLC-based drives (or DRAM-less drives) because the (sometimes) slight price savings isn't worth the drawbacks. They can be okay for the informed buyer who understands what they are getting, but most don't fall into that category. So for a mfg to basically secretly switch from TLC to QLC just for profit/cost-savings without making it a separate model/line, it's a real drop in how I regard them. I won't be looking at their SSDs anymore, and hopefully their memory division doesn't adopt the same deceptive practice.
Correct. QLC drives works just fine for local archival purpose. Eq. as drives for long term file storage. They are not good at all as system/work drives though. Which nullify the reason to put QLC memory on NVMe drives. People doesn't purchase NVMe drives for long term storage. But because they want to squeeze the maximal PCIe performance from them.
 

DXRick

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Ugh. I just bought a 1T 2.5" version to replace my aging disk drive. It's the MX500 version and has the same 'UK CA' letters on it that don't appear in the screen shots for the product.

Did they do the switch on this drive too? I can't find anything in their product specs that specify what type of memory it uses.
 
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QLC drive are fine if they're done correctly. And obviously if they are labeled as such and if they are priced correctly. I've little doubt that in a few years that's all we will find in most consumer grade products. Right now they obviously have some drawback but for the vast majority of consumer that should not pose any problem.

But because they want to squeeze the maximal PCIe performance from them.
I'd say most consumers who have an nvme drive do because... well you do have to have ONE drive. And if that drive can be directly integrated on the mainboard without taking any precious space its better than anything else.
 
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Krotow

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Ugh. I just bought a 1T 2.5" version to replace my aging disk drive. It's the MX500 version and has the same 'UK CA' letters on it that don't appear in the screen shots for the product.

Did they do the switch on this drive too? I can't find anything in their product specs that specify what type of memory it uses.
If so, it would be a great shame. So far MX500 SATA line seems not affected by this con. These drives proved as excellent and affordable replacement for system/work drives in all computers where I replaced HDD to SSD. Stay tuned to future reviews. Anyway if you doubt about MX500, there still is Patriot P210 SSD line.

I'd say most consumer who have an nvme drive do because... well you do have to have ONE drive. And if that drive can be directly integrated on the mainboard without taking any precious space its better than anything else.
Exactly.
 

2Be_or_Not2Be

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QLC drive are fine if they're done correctly. And obviously if they are labeled as such and if they are priced correctly. I've little doubt that in a few years that's all we will find in most consumer grade products. Right now they obviously have some drawback but for the vast majority of consumer that should not pose any problem.
Sadly, you're right that the industry is going to mainly QLC/PLC probably in < 5 years (ok, maybe pandemic pushes that out some). It's disappointing because as a whole, there was the opportunity to have a new performance baseline for storage, which has been the biggest system bottleneck for quite a while. Now, when you have junk that can dip below even HDD performance, then you can't establish a new, higher baseline.
 
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vladabuba

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Big thanks for the article. Had bought exactly the same Crucial M.2 P2 500GB model a month ago. And now I finally understand why this M.2 drive sometimes performs drastically poorly...
Crucial here is like Douglas Quiad from Total Recall (1990) - "Screw you!!!"
 
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Feb 1, 2021
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Would someone please tell authors that "nearly four times slower " is impossible, just as "four times smaller" is impossible! One times slower or one times smaller is 0! Cannot get any slower/smaller than 0.

Yes, the new device can be 1/4th as fast or 25% as fast, but it cannot be 4 times slower! Pedantic? Perhaps, but I'll take pedantic accuracy over impossibility anytime.

Similarly, 4 times faster is not the same as 4 times as fast. 4 times faster is 5 times as fast. To illustrate, 1 times faster is twice as fast; 2 times faster is 3 times as fast; etc.
 

escksu

Respectable
Aug 8, 2019
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For a mfg to switch from TLC to QLC as a straight-up profit move is reprehensible, and it sullies their brand image in my view.

However, in regards to the idea that it doesn't "really matter what brand and model they have" of NVMe drive, I could generally agree except for one thing about QLC drives. QLC drives can get into situations wherein the performance can drop to HDD levels (and even below). For buyers, now they could be getting a product that they thought was really good performance-wise, but could actually make their system at times feel like it's back to HDD performance. So you could legitimately say it actually does matter what brand/model of NVMe drive you buy.

I never recommend QLC-based drives (or DRAM-less drives) because the (sometimes) slight price savings isn't worth the drawbacks. They can be okay for the informed buyer who understands what they are getting, but most don't fall into that category. So for a mfg to basically secretly switch from TLC to QLC just for profit/cost-savings without making it a separate model/line, it's a real drop in how I regard them. I won't be looking at their SSDs anymore, and hopefully their memory division doesn't adopt the same deceptive practice.
QLC or DRAMless SSDs work fine. For mainstream end-users, there is hardly any difference compared to TLC. These 2 drives fair badly in sequential writes but people dont write 20-30 GBs of data on a daily basis. its mostly very small files.
 

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