The Crucial P5 Plus is one of my favourite SSDs, as you might know from me writing about it last week. . Then, I was happy to announce that this rapid 1TB PCIe 4.0 drive had made it to £100 - a price it's gotten near a few times before but not stayed at with any regularity. You can imagine my surprise, therefore, when I discovered that Crucial are now selling the same drive at their site for £80.69 - a genuine bargain and the lowest price we've ever seen by some margin.
So who is this drive for? I'd suggest almost anyone that doesn't already have a PCIe 4.0 drive but does have a motherboard that will support it*. This gives you access to higher transfer speeds, which is handy for moving large files like video files around, and more importantly ought to give you full access to the advantages of DirectStorage - assuming that actually appears in a shipping game before the sun slowly fades away and all life on Earth vanishes. The idea there is to give the GPU direct access to files on your SSD, cutting the CPU out of the process to eliminate a bottleneck, speeding up load times and freeing up the CPU to do other tasks at the same time. Both PCIe 3.0 and 4.0 drives are supported, but it's fair to assume that having better sequential and random speeds will make the effect more powerful on PCIe 4.0.
Speaking of speeds and feeds, let's take a look at this drive in detail. It's a 6600MB/s drive, in terms of its maximum sequential read speeds, but as commenters quite rightly pointed out last time its random read speed is slightly more indicative of real-world performance in tasks like loading games. This is rated at 630K IOPS for reading, which puts the drive some way behind the fastest SSDs we've tested like the Samsung 980 Pro and WD SN850 (1000K IOPS). However, in real-world testing conducted by various RPS fan-zines, the P5 Plus does alright!
So: an exceptionally good value 'second-generation' PCIe 4.0 SSD that falls behind the WD SN850 and the Samsung 980 Pro in some metrics, but still works well in my humble estimation. For £100, it's arguably better to go for one of these other drives, but at £80 we're only twenty quid more than SATA drives - so what's not to like?