The latest generation of Crucial's mainstream SSDs has hit the shelves. The Crucial MX500 is Micron's first consumer drive using its 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash. The MX500 pairs a Silicon Motion SM2258 controller with up to two terabytes of the new memory.
The SM2258 isn't a new controller, but Crucial created a new firmware for the chip, and the combination of the two seems to be clearly up to the task. Crucial puts up some solid random performance numbers for the SATA SSDs: 95K IOPS in random read operations, and 90K IOPS for random writes. The sequential numbers barely bear mentioning, but the MX500 nearly saturates its 6 Gbps SATA link in sequential reads and writes at up to 510 MB/s in either direction. All told, this should be one of the fastest SATA SSDs around.
The boys over at Tom's Hardware got their hands on an MX500 already. They were impressed with the drive, calling it "the best overall value" among SATA SSDs. According to Tom's, the MX500's write endurance ratings are 100 TBW for the 250 GB model, 180 TBW for the 500 GB model, 360 TBW for the 1TB model, and 700 TBW for the 2 TB model. Those are high numbers for TLC flash-based SSDs, and by way of comparison, the higher-capacity models more than double the endurance ratings of Samsung's 850 EVO.
Eventually, the MX500 will come in capacities ranging from 250GB to 2 TB in 2.5" format, and up to 1TB in the M.2 form factor. Only the 2.5" 1 TB drive is available right now, though. You can pick it up at Newegg or Amazon for $260. Crucial offers a five-year warranty on the MX500 drives.