Quick Look: The Blazing Fast Crucial T700 PCIe Gen5 NVMe SSD

Manufacturer: Crucial Quick Look: The Blazing Fast Crucial T700 PCIe Gen5 NVMe SSD

The PCIe 5.0 SSD era has begun, and it feels like PCIe 4.0 hasn’t even reached mainstream adoption status. Is it safe to assume that most PC gamers are still on a Gen3 NVMe SSD? Maybe I’m selling people short, and a huge percentage of PC gamers jumped on the Gen4 bandwagon when AMD’s Ryzen 5000 Series processors launched. (Or maybe a surprising number of people are still using a SATA SSD, happily, and don’t see the need to upgrade just yet? Let us know in the comments!)

The case for Gen5 – and Gen4, for that matter – is this: eliminating bottlenecks. Yes, there are inherent limitations with various CPU and GPU memory interfaces, and we have yet to see the promise of DirectStorage fulfilled (as we discussed with Allyn recently). In a perfect scenario, a very fast SSD could solve a lot of issues, including our growing dependence on large pools of VRAM. Hopefully we see greater adoption of DirectStorage in the coming months, shifting focus to ultra-fast SSDs – and not ever pricier GPUs – as your best gaming upgrade.

Today we are looking at Crucial’s T700, a Gen5 option offered with either passive heatsink (you read that right) or without a heatsink for those content with motherboard heatsinks – or will be using something like this. Crucial’s advertised speeds are just silly, with up to 12,400 MB/s sequential reads and up to 11,800 MB/s sequential writes. Now, you will not be seeing speeds like these outside of synthetic benchmarks unless you have something equally fast to read from / write to, but thankfully Crucial sent us two of them!

Let’s check them out.

Product Specifications
  • SSD series: T700
  • Interface: PCIe Gen 5.0 x4, NVMe 2.0
  • Form factor: M.2 (2280)
  • Capacity: 1TB, 2TB (as reviewed), 4TB
  • Speed & timing
  • Sequential Read 11,700 MB/s
  • Sequential Write 9,500 MB/s
  • SSD Endurance (TBW): 600TB
  • Warranty: 5-year limited
  • 1TB – CT1000T700SSD3 – non-heatsink – $179.99 USD
  • 1TB – CT1000T700SSD5 – with heatsink – $209.99 USD
  • 2TB – CT2000T700SSD3 – non-heatsink – $339.99 USD
  • 2TB – CT2000T700SSD5 – with heatsink – $369.99 USD
  • 4TB – CT4000T700SSD3 – non-heatsink – $599.99 USD
  • 4TB – CT4000T700SSD5 – with heatsink – $629.99 USD
Manufacturer Description

“The Crucial T700 PCIe 5.0 NVMe SSD offers speeds of up to 12,400MB/s sequential reads and up to 11,800MB/s sequential writes1 (up to 1,500K IOPS random reads/writes) for faster gaming, video editing, 3D rendering and heavy workload applications.”

A Closer Look

There are currently six T700 SKUs, with both heatsink and non-heatsink versions in three capacities; 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB. We received both 2TB versions, with the CT2000T700SSD5 including the attached heatsink at $369.99 USD, and the CT2000T700SSD3 without it at $339.99 USD. These are not budget drives, obviously. If you want to move up to Gen5 right now, you’ll have to pony up.

Crucial T700 Gen5 NVMe SSD Review SKUs

While the two drives pictured above may look nearly identical, there is a crucial (sorry) difference: their thickness. And, most impressively considering these are Gen5 NVMe SSDs, the heatsink version’s heatsink is PASSIVE. You read that correctly. Passive. No tiny fan. And it’s a fairly small heatsink compared to some of the solutions out there.

Crucial T700 Gen5 NVMe SSD Review Drive Thickness

The non-heatsink version looks like any NVMe SSD, but the version with the heatsink – which is, once again, a passive heatsink – looks much more interesting. The total thickness of this version is just over 20 mm, which includes the metal backplate beneath the drive.

Here’s a photo of a thickness reading from my cheap digital caliper for your enjoyment:

Crucial T700 Gen5 NVMe SSD Review Caliper

I initially found it curious that Crucial was offering the drive in a version without a heatsink, but motherboards with large heatsinks for the Gen5 M.2 slot (including my ASUS STRIX board) exist, and it makes sense to offer the bare drive for use with such a solution. I really like the idea of a passively-cooled Gen5 drive, when everything else I see has a tiny fan lurking beneath the surface somewhere, waiting to strike.

Crucial T700 Gen5 NVMe SSD Review Heatsink

Testing Performance

The exact configuration of of the test platform can be found in the HWiNFO64 system summary screenshot below:

Crucial T700 Intel System HWINFO64 Summary

Now, on to testing – but first, I’ll note that, while it is certainly possible to hit the sequential read and write speeds quoted by Crucial, doing so requires the use of a synthetic benchmark tool like CrystalDiskMark.

Thermals will also play a role, and for maximum performance I heartily recommend using a generous cooling solution if you go with the version of the T700 that does not include a heatsink.

For these tests, as I was trying to push the drive as far as possible, I used both the heatsink version and the non-heatsink version with the actively-cooled M.2 adapter shown below:

Crucial T700 Gen5 NVMe SSD Review M.2 Adapter Card

We will first look at a CrystalDiskMark result using the “Peak Performance” preset, and the drive was empty for this result:

Crucial T700 Empty Drive CDM Peak Performance

We see the drive hitting 12,400 MB/s sequential read, and just a bit short of the 11,800 MB/s write speeds advertised. Overall, this first “peak performance” benchmark result is a fantastic showing for this new product. As stated, this was a run with an empty drive. What happens when we fill the drive up halfway and repeat the test?

Crucial T700 Empty Drive CDM Peak Performance

Not much of a difference here, but the real story isn’t so much the free space on the drive as it is the size of the transfer (more on this later with the Windows file transfer tests).

To produce a more realistic result I ran the full version of the PCMark 10 SSD benchmark, first with the drive empty and again after filling the drive to approximately 50% capacity:

T700 PCMark 10 Full Drive Bench Empty vs Half Full

For those unfamiliar with this test, that top result of 800 MB/s may not seem like much compared to the flashy 11,000 MB/s to 12,000 MB/s numbers above, it’s really, really good for this demanding mixed workload. In fact, it’s the highest result we’ve ever seen with this test. Even with the drop to 691 MB/s with the drive half full in the second test, the T700 is still right up there with the best NVMe drives.

Next, let’s see how a real-world file transfer might look. Thankfully, I have TWO of these drives (thanks again, Crucial) and can do some drive-to-drive transfers. Otherwise, I would clearly be limited by the Gen4 drives I have on hand. But, after looking at the below screenshot, it looks like I’m still limited on this test platform even with two Gen5 drives:

Crucial T700 SD5 to SD3 Transfer in Progress

After multiple attempts, the fastest result was just over 4.5 GB/s, falling to just below 4.0 GB/s after about the 128 GB mark (the total file transfer was 173 GB, which was the total size of the folder of large 7-zip archives I was copying). I think the issue was the T700 in the M.2 slot on this Z690 board, even though I had it set to Gen5 and verified that it was, in fact, running at the correct link speed using HWiNFO. The top M.2 slot is supposed to be PCIe 5.0, but I had better results using a PCI-E 5.0 to M.2 adapter card in the top slot (I was using processor graphics and nothing else was on PCI Express except my boot drive on the bottom M.2 slot).

This could get wordy, but I had a number of issues in testing these Gen5 drives, probably all of which were related to my particular test platforms. For example, I normally present various charts with comparative sequential and random 4K results at various queue depths, but I could not produce consistent results with the T700 on my test platforms under custom workloads using CrystalDiskMark, and that was on both the AMD X670E board and the Intel Z690 board. Usually, I just set the benchmark to QD1, and then QD2, and so on, but these results were very inconsistent from run to run, and I saw a puzzling regression in performance at QD2 compared to QD1, among other things.

Many efforts were made to figure out the best way to test this Gen5 SSD, including moving from the AMD AM5 platform back to a 13th Gen Intel platform, moving from the Gen5 M.2 slot to a dedicated PCIe 5.0 to M.2 adapter card in the PCI-E 5.0 x16 slot (which helped), and even trying out the Micron storage driver in place of StorNVMe. Ultimately, the lack of consistent results when attempting custom benchmark runs at various queue depths and threads preventing me from producing meaningful numbers needed for an in-depth review. Thus, this is just a “quick look”. (I also failed to re-test the two T700 drives on AM5 using bifurcation for the dual M.2 to Gen5 PCIe adapter – unsupported on the Z690 board.)

Bottom line, storage is complex, and I miss Allyn.

Final Thoughts

While additional Gen5 options are starting to emerge, Crucial’s T700 drives are the fastest SSDs on the planet that you can actually buy, right now. We had a look at both the heatsink and non-heatsink versions, which (as mentioned above) are available in 1TB, 2TB (as tested), and 4TB capacities. The 2TB CT2000T700SSD5 – with attached heatsink – retails for $369.99 USD, and non-heatsink 2TB T2000T700SSD3 is $339.99 USD.

Of course, if you don’t need the fastest sequential speeds out there, you can settle for a Gen4 drive and save a lot of money. Again, these T700’s are not budget drives. Moving up to Gen5 right now involves a significant premium over the ever-lower prices we are seeing on even the fastest Gen4 drives these days. So, is it worth it? That’s up to you.

Crucial T700 Gen5 NVMe SSD Review Conclusion

Crucial’s T700 is the fastest SSD we’ve ever tested, and fully capable of hitting the ludacris advertised speeds. However, actually doing so does involves having the right mix of hardware, so, particularly if you are on an Intel platform, double-check your motherboard to make sure it can handle a Gen5 drive in any of its M.2 slots (you might be surprised by how many 13th Gen Intel boards out there are exclusively Gen4 M.2).

pcper gold award

Review Disclosures

This is what we consider the responsible disclosure of our review policies and procedures.

How Product Was Obtained

The product was provided by Crucial for the purpose of this review.

What Happens To Product After Review

The product remains on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.

Company Involvement

Crucial had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.

PC Perspective Compensation

Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Crucial for this review.

Advertising Disclosure

Crucial has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.

Affiliate Links

If this article contains affiliate links to online retailers, PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.

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About The Author

Sebastian Peak

Editor-in-Chief at PC Perspective. Writer of computer stuff, vintage PC nerd, and full-time dad. Still in search of the perfect smartphone. In his nonexistent spare time Sebastian's hobbies include hi-fi audio, guitars, and road bikes. Currently investigating time travel.


  1. Prashant

    Is there any external enclosure available to be used by thunderbolt to mac?

  2. BigTed

    Still on Gen 3 NVME here on X570, plus a large SATA drive for video editing. Even the SATA drive is fine for 1080p timeline scrubbing etc. You gotta have one hell of a specific use case for this to be worth while.

  3. Kyle

    I have a variety of NVMe SSDs, most of which are Gen3. I do have one Gen4 drive (WD 850X), but even that is being used in a laptop that only has Gen3 slots. I do plan on moving that drive to a new system soon that has Gen4 slots, but all of my current computers are either laptops or mini PCs, so there’s no Gen5 support yet anyway.

  4. ray MCsriff

    I have a 2TB Gen4 as my system drive, and an 8TB SATA drive for file storage (I use HDDs for backups now). It is a very recent build though, so made sense to get a Gen4 drive at a price not far from a Gen3. I often see Gen4 drives selling for comparable to Gen3 (sometimes same or lower with sales), so it made sense. I don’t see much of a reason for the average person to upgrade from a Gen3 to a Gen4 though, unless they’re upgrading the size of the drive and they have a Gen4 slot to use perhaps. My new system has an Intel Z790 E-ATX board, and it does support a Gen5 drive in the main M.2 slot. I don’t have a use for it though, and certainly not at current prices. I will definitely wait on that, but I’m glad I have a board that (at least according to specs), can unambiguously make use of Gen5 in the future.


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