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More Than a Decade of Crucial SSD Evolution

Crucial launched its first SSD in 2008, named quite simply the Crucial® SSD. As the only drive in our portfolio at the time, the Crucial SSD offered capacities from 32GB to 64GB, sequential reads up to a whopping 100 MB/s, and a price tag between $500 and $1,000. It came only in a 2.5-inch form factor with a SATA II interface. Early days!

These numbers look paltry compared to today’s standards, but hey, you have to start somewhere.

A Decade of SSD Evolution

Crucial® SSD

Crucial® M225 SSD

Crucial® C300 SSD

Crucial® MX500 SSD

Crucial® P1 SSD

Year

2008

2009

2010

2017

2018

Interface

SATA II

SATA II

SATA III

SATA III

NVMe PCIe®

Capacities

32GB, 64GB

64GB, 128GB, 256GB

128GB, 256GB

250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB

500GB, 1TB, 2TB

Sequential Reads

Up to 100 MB/s

Up to 250 MB/s

Up to 355 MB/s

Up to 560 MB/s

Up to 2,000 MB/s

Sequential Writes

Up to 60 MB/s

Up to 200 MB/s

Up to 215 MB/s

Up to 510 MB/s

Up to 1,750 MB/s

SATA III Arrives: The Crucial® C300 SSD

Two years after the Crucial SSD, the Crucial C300 SSD made history as the first SATA III interface SSD. SATA II drives were limited to throughputs of 3 gigabits per second (Gb/s), but SATA III increased them to 6 Gb/s. That also allowed the “speed limit” of sequential reads to increase from about 300 MB/s with SATA II to about 600 MB/s with SATA III. The Crucial C300 topped out at up to 355 MB/s, three times faster than the first Crucial SSD.

Maxing Out: SATA III pushes its limits; NVMe PCIe® arrives

In 2019, the SATA III interface is entering the twilight of its existence as NVMe PCIe drives enter mainstream computing. SATA III drives reached the top speed limits of the interface, as the MX500 SSD launched in 2017 with sequential reads up to 560 MB/s. The following year, Crucial introduced its first NVMe PCIe drive, the Crucial P1 SSD in an M.2 form factor, with sequential reads up to 2,000 MB/s – 20 times faster than the first drive.

Sticking Around: SATA extends the lives of hard drives

The SATA III interface is still extremely common for SSDs because it’s intended for hard drives. SSDs had to match the identical interface used by hard drives to be a legitimate replacement, so they adopted the SATA interface. The NVMe PCIe interface liberates SSDs from hard drive performance limitations, opening an entirely new era of storage performance that makes using technology much more convenient.

Slimming Down: A shift to the sleek M.2 form factor

SSDs not only had to match the interface of a hard drive, they also had to match their size. Thus, 2.5-inch SATA SSDs were born. However, since 2008, computers progressed into smaller and lighter forms, especially notebooks and tablets, and 2.5-inch drives won’t fit in them. Consequently, motherboard manufacturers are increasingly installing M.2 SSDs, which are about the size of a stick of gum. The smaller form factor doesn’t compromise storage capacity, and it delivers NVMe PCIe speed to ultra-thin notebook computers and tablets.

Flash Forward: Where will PCIe go from here?

Like with the SATA II and SATA III, NVMe PCIe speed will continue pushing the limits of the interface. NVMe PCIe is already in its third generation (Gen 3) with a fourth (Gen 4) arriving soon.

“PCIe Gen 3 client SSDs have a practical performance ceiling just over 3,500 MB/s,” said Jon Tanguy, Sr. SSD Product Engineer. “PCIe Gen 4 will enable a much higher ceiling, allowing client SSDs to reach 5,000 MB/s. And that's just the beginning.”

SSDs have come a long way in terms of speed, capacity, form factors, and most importantly, prices! Instead of shelling out $1,000 for a 64GB SSD in 2008, you can get a 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD for $150 in 2019.* Compared to the first Crucial SSD a decade ago, that’s about 20 times the speed and 15 times the capacity for a small fraction of the price. If that progress continues, SSD owners will have faster computers that are more convenient to use, and keep more money in their pockets.

Crucial MX500 SSD

Available capacities: 250GB - 1TB

Read / write speed: 560/510 MB/s

5-year Limited Warranty

Crucial P1 SSD

Available capacities: 500GB - 1TB

Read / write speed: 540/500 MB/s

5-year Limited Warranty

Crucial BX500 SSD

Available capacities: 120GB - 960GB

Read / write speed: 540/500 MB/s

3-year Limited Warranty

* Price of a 1TB Crucial P1 SSD (CT1000P1SSD8) as of February 13, 2019 on Crucial.com.