OCZ’s Trion 100 and Crucial’s BX200 SSDs reviewed

Budget solid-state drives make up a big chunk of the storage market, but cheaper products mean smaller margins. As a result, drive makers are constantly on the prowl for ways to cut costs and eke out a little more profit. One of the most straightforward ways to trim the fat is simply to store a third bit per flash cell, making triple-level-cell, or TLC, flash.

Samsung first introduced the world to triple-level cell NAND flash in 2012 with its 840 Series solid-state drives. TLC’s debut was met with skepticism from enthusiasts, since many folks expected the increased data density would lead to poorer performance and endurance than single- and multi-level-cell-based drives. As it turned out, TLC flash offered solid performance for the mass market, and we proved that concerns about endurance were largely unfounded.

After Samsung’s widespread success with the new technology, other drive makers started producing TLC offerings of their own. This year, both OCZ and Crucial brought new low-cost SSDs to market. OCZ’s Trion 100 and Crucial’s BX200 SSDs occupy the lowest-end slots in these firms’ solid-state storage lineups. These two drives represent their makers’ first forays into TLC flash, and both companies happen to offer a 480GB model. Since these SSDs are so similar on so many levels, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to perform a shootout-style review. Let’s get up close and personal with the contenders.

The Trion 100 slots in beneath our budget-favorite Arc 100 as OCZ’s cheapest solid-state drive. Like the Arc 100, the Trion 100 is built on Toshiba’s 128Gb A19 19-nm NAND. This time around, the A19 flash is TLC, as opposed to the Arc 100’s MLC. The Trion 100 is also powered by a Toshiba-branded TC58 controller instead of the Arc 100’s Barefoot 3. The NAND in the 480GB model is distributed into four packages on a single-sided board.

OCZ Trion 100
Capacity Max sequential (MB/s) Max Random (IOps)
Read Write Read Write
120GB 550 450 79k 25k
240GB 550 520 90k 43k
480GB 550 530 90k 54k
960GB 550 530 90k 64k

OCZ also offers 120GB, 240GB, and 960GB versions of the Trion 100. The two lower-capacity versions have lower sequential and random write specs, likely because they lack enough NAND dies to fully saturate the controller’s channels.

Toshiba hasn’t released much technical detail about the controller in the Trion drives, but we know this chip includes proprietary error-correction technology and a pseudo-SLC caching system (like Samsung’s TurboWrite or SanDisk’s nCache).

In Crucial’s corner, we have the BX200 480GB. Unlike the Trion series, Crucial hasn’t introduced a new product line and naming convention for its TLC drive. Instead, the BX200 is being presented as a successor to last year’s well-received BX100.

Crucial BX200
Capacity Max sequential (MB/s) Max Random (IOps)
Read Write Read Write
240GB 540 490 66k 78k
480GB 540 490 66k 78k
960GB 540 490 66k 78k

Crucial’s BX200 lineup is rounded out with 240GB and 960GB variants. Crucial claims the same performance numbers across the three versions, unlike OCZ’s specifications for the Trion 100. We’d expect the 240GB version to fall a bit short of the others, but we don’t have one on hand to confirm that suspicion.

The now-discontinued BX100 was built with Micron’s 16-nm MLC flash and Silicon Motion’s SM2246EN controller, but the BX200 uses Micron’s new 16-nm 128Gb TLC flash and a newer Silicon Motion SM2256 controller. The BX200’s NAND is bundled into eight packages alongside the controller and memory. This newcomer has learned a couple new tricks that the outgoing BX100 doesn’t know: a pseudo-SLC caching scheme and a new TLC-targeted error-correction scheme that Silicon Motion calls “NANDXtend.”

We’ve already noted that both the Trion and the BX200 use TLC NAND, but we can get even more specific. Both drives use 128 Gbit TLC in a 32-die configuration. That’s a sufficient number of dies to saturate each controller’s I/O channels, so performance differences we uncover between the drives should come down to the controllers’ capabilites and the quality of the NAND itself.

Both drives come with a three-year warranty, but their endurance specs differ substantially. The Trion 100 claims to be good for 120TB of writes, while the BX200 offers a more cautious 72TB. The first point goes to OCZ, but there are a lot of points to be tallied yet. Let’s run the drives through our benchmark suite and see how they do.

 

IOMeter — Sequential and random performance

IOMeter fuels much of our latest storage test suite, including our sequential and random I/O tests. These tests are run across the full capacity of the drive at two queue depths. The QD1 tests simulate a single thread, while the QD4 results emulate a more demanding desktop workload. For perspective, 87% of the requests in our old DriveBench 2.0 trace of real-world desktop activity have a queue depth of four or less. Clicking the buttons below the graphs switches between results charted at the different queue depths.

Our sequential tests use a relatively large 128KB block size.



Both drives come out of the gate with solid sequential read numbers. They even beat some bigger, fancier drives at a queue depth of one, and the BX200 hangs with the pack at QD4.

But when it comes to sequential write performance? Oh, dear. These are the slowest-writing drives we’ve seen in a very long time. The BX200 falls especially far behind, losing to even the Intel X25-M G2, a SATA 3Gbps drive that was released in 2009. Yikes. Both drives fall far short of the high bar set by Samsung’s TLC in the 850 EVO series—even the 250GB EVO. To be fair, the 850 EVOs are packing 3D V-NAND, not planar NAND. The older, MLC-based Arc 100 and BX100 look very good by comparison.

Next, we’ll turn our attention to performance with 4KB random I/O. The tests below are based on the median of three consecutive three-minute runs. SSDs typically deliver consistent sequential and random read performance over that period, but random write speeds worsen as the drive’s overprovisioned area is consumed by incoming writes. We’ve reported average response times rather than raw throughput, which we think makes sense in the context of system responsiveness.



The sequential results are reversed here. The two drives post relatively poor random read response times, but very respectable random write results. On the read side, the BX200 gets beaten again by the six-year-old X25-M G2. When we switch to writes, though, the BX200 manages to beat the BX100. Not too shabby, since we’d expect the BX100’s MLC to give it a clear advantage over the BX200. The difference is likely due to the new SLC-esque caching ability that the BX100’s controller lacks.

As we noted, the preceding tests are based on the median of three consecutive three-minute runs. SSDs typically deliver consistent sequential and random-read performance over that period, but random-write speeds worsen as the drive’s overprovisioned area is consumed by incoming writes. We explore that decline in the next set of tests.

 

Sustained and scaling I/O rates

Our sustained IOMeter test hammers drives with 4KB random writes for 30 minutes straight. It uses a queue depth of 32, which should result in higher speeds that saturate each drive’s overprovisioned area more quickly. This lengthy—and heavy—workload isn’t indicative of typical PC use, but it provides a sense of how the drives react when they’re pushed to the brink.

We’re reporting IOps rather than response times for these tests. Click the buttons below the graph to switch between SSDs.


Like all SSDs, these drives exhibit higher random write rates before their overprovisioning is consumed, but their peak rates during that period are an obvious cut below the rest.

To show the data in a slightly different light, we’ve graphed the peak random-write rate and the average, steady-state speed over the last minute of the test.

Our two drives both peak and stabilize at lower IOps than the other drives in our data set, save for the ancient X25-M. There’s no getting around the fact that these two drives’ write speeds are mediocre at best. The Trion 100 consistently comes out ahead of the BX200, but it’s the difference between distressingly low and, well, a bit more distressingly low. Meanwhile, the Arc 100 boasts steady-state random write speeds an order of magnitude faster than the Trion 100 and BX200. This marks the third rig we’ve tested the Arc 100 on, and it never fails to remind us why we gave it a TR recommended award the first time.

Our final IOMeter test examines performance scaling across a broad range of queue depths. We ramp all the way up to a queue depth of 128. Don’t expect AHCI-based drives to scale past 32, though; that’s the max depth of their native command queues.

For this test, we use a database access pattern comprising 66% reads and 33% writes, all of which are random. The test runs after 30 minutes of continuous random writes that put the drives in a simulated used state. Click the buttons below the graph to switch between the different drives. And note that the P3700 plot uses a much larger scale.


These aren’t NVMe drives, so it’s no surprise they don’t scale appreciably into the higher queue depths. What’s unexpected is that these drives hardly seem to scale at all. Performance at a queue depth of eight is just barely higher than at a depth of four. The Trion 100 and BX200 look about as bad here as they do in our sustained write tests, never breaking 5000 IOps. As a point of comparison, the 850 EVO and BX100 manage to climb into the 7500 IOps territory. As for the Arc 100? well, just take a look at the next set of graphs.

Below, we use the same data to plot the Trion 100 and BX200 against the Arc 100 and BX100. Click to toggle between read, write, and total IOps.


It’s a slaughter. The Arc 100 blows away the two TLC drives. These results also highlight an uncomfortable truth for Crucial. The BX200 can’t put up numbers even half as good as its predecessor.

 

TR RoboBench — Real-world transfers

RoboBench trades synthetic tests with random data for real-world transfers with a range of file types. Developed by our in-house coder, Bruno “morphine” Ferreira, this benchmark relies on the multi-threaded robocopy command build into Windows. We copy files to and from a wicked-fast RAM disk to measure read and write performance. We also cut the RAM disk out of the loop for a copy test that transfers the files to a different location on the SSD.

Robocopy uses eight threads by default, and we’ve also run it with a single thread. Our results are split between two file sets, whose vital statistics are detailed below. The compressibility percentage is based on the size of the file set after it’s been crunched by 7-Zip.

  Number of files Average file size Total size Compressibility
Media 459 21.4MB 9.58GB 0.8%
Work 84,652 48.0KB 3.87GB 59%

The media set is made up of large movie files, high-bitrate MP3s, and 18-megapixel RAW and JPG images. There are only a few hundred files in total, and the data set isn’t amenable to compression. The work set comprises loads of TR files, including documents, spreadsheets, and web-optimized images. It also includes a stack of programming-related files associated with our old Mozilla compiling test and the Visual Studio test on the next page. The average file size is measured in kilobytes rather than megabytes, and the files are mostly compressible.

RoboBench’s write and copy tests run after the drives have been put into a simulated used state with 30 minutes of 4KB random writes. The pre-conditioning process is scripted, as is the rest of the test, ensuring that drives have the same amount of time to recover.

Let’s take a look at the media set first. The buttons switch between read, write, and copy results.



The results of our media set tests mirror what we saw in our IOMeter synthetics. The Trion 100 and BX200 more or less manage to keep up with the pack in read speeds, but they fall far behind in our write scenarios. The good news is that neither drive got beaten out by the decrepit X25-M this time around. It’s a small victory, but we’ll take what we can get at this point.



In the work set, the BX200 finally starts showing signs of life. Perhaps the smaller file sizes here are more suited to leveraging this drive’s SLC-like caching mechanism. Whatever the reason, we’re glad to see that the BX200 isn’t stuck at the bottom of the barrel.

We were holding out hope that these drives’ writes would fare better in the “real-world” I/O scenarios that constitute RoboBench, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. They stayed at the tail end of the pack for the most part. But their read speeds are respectable, so it’s not all bad news.

 

Boot times

Until now, all of our tests have been conducted with the SSDs connected as secondary storage. This next batch uses them as system drives. We’ve often seen that even the most lethargic SSDs can be useful as system drives. They tend to boot the OS and load applications almost as quickly as the fastest drives money can by. Let’s hope that’s true for the Trion and the BX200, as they’re running out of ways to redeem themselves.

We’ll start with boot times measured two ways. The bare test depicts the time between hitting the power button and reaching the Windows desktop, while the loaded test adds the time needed to load four applications—Avidemux, LibreOffice, GIMP, and Visual Studio Express—automatically from the startup folder. Our old boot tests focused on the time required to load the OS, but these new ones cover the entire process, including drive initialization.

So far, so good. Neither drive is going to break any records, but at least they aren’t significantly slower to boot Windows than the rest of the crowd. Both drives best the notoriously slow-booting Intel 750 Series PCIe SSD, and that’s enough to satisfy us here.

Load times

Next, we’ll tackle load times with two sets of tests. The first group focuses on the time required to load larger files in a collection of desktop applications. We open a 790MB 4K video in Avidemux, a 30MB spreadsheet in LibreOffice, and a 523MB image file in GIMP. In the Visual Studio Express test, we open a 159MB project containing source code for the LLVM toolchain. Thanks to Rui Figueira for providing the project code.

As usual, differences in the application load times of the various drives are minimal. We’re talking about a few tenths of a second separating the slowest drives from the fastest. No point declaring winners and losers here. It’s a relief to see our two budget drives keep up with the rest of the pack. Let’s take a look at in-game performance next.

Like the application load times, the game load times are just fine. You won’t notice any difference between a BX200 and an NVMe 950 Pro when it comes to firing up your favorite games.

These boot and load results give us the good news we’ve been hoping for. Despite an underwhelming showing in IOMeter and RoboBench, the Trion 100 and BX200 redeem themselves a little bit in our OS and application load tests.

That’s it for performance testing. Read on for a breakdown of our hardware and test methods.

 

Test notes and methods

Here’s are the essential details for all the drives we tested:

  Interface Flash controller NAND
Crucial BX100 500GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2246EN 16-nm Micron MLC
Crucial BX200 480GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2256 16-nm Micron TLC
Crucial MX200 500GB SATA 6Gbps Marvell 88SS9189 16-nm Micron MLC
Intel X25-M G2 160GB SATA 3Gbps Intel PC29AS21BA0 34-nm Intel MLC
Intel 335 Series 240GB SATA 6Gbps SandForce SF-2281 20-nm Intel MLC
Intel 730 Series 480GB SATA 6Gbps Intel PC29AS21CA0 20-nm Intel MLC
Intel 750 Series 1.2TB PCIe Gen3 x4 Intel CH29AE41AB0 20-nm Intel MLC
Intel DC P3700 800GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Intel CH29AE41AB0 20-nm Intel MLC
Plextor M6e 256GB PCIe Gen2 x2 Marvell 88SS9183 19-nm Toshiba MLC
Samsung 850 EV0 250GB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MGX 32-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 850 EV0 1TB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MEX 32-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 850 Pro 500GB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MEX 32-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung UBX 32-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung XP941 256GB PCIe Gen2 x4 Samsung S4LN053X01 19-nm Samsung MLC
Samsung SM951 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung S4LN058A01X01 16-nm Samsung MLC
Samsung 850 Pro 500GB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MEX 32-layer Samsung MLC
OCZ Arc 100 240GB SATA 6Gbps Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 A19-nm Toshiba MLC
OCZ Trion 100 480GB SATA 6Gbps Toshiba TC58 A19-nm Toshiba TLC
OCZ Vector 180 240GB SATA 6Gbps Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 A19-nm Toshiba MLC
OCZ Vector 180 960GB SATA 6Gbps Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 A19-nm Toshiba MLC

All the SATA SSDs were connected to the motherboard’s Z97 chipset. The M6e was connected to the Z97 via the motherboard’s M.2 slot, which is how we’d expect most folks to run that drive. Since the XP941 and 950 Pro requires more lanes, they were connected to the CPU via a PCIe adapter card. The 750 Series and DC P3700 were hooked up to the CPU via the same full-sized PCIe slot.

We used the following system for testing, if you missed its turn on the runway on the first page:

Processor Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz
Motherboard Asus Z97-Pro
Firmware 2601
Platform hub Intel Z97
Platform drivers Chipset: 10.0.0.13

RST: 13.2.4.1000

Memory size 16GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Adata XPG V3 DDR3 at 1600 MT/s
Memory timings 11-11-11-28-1T
Audio Realtek ALC1150 with 6.0.1.7344 drivers
System drive Corsair Force LS 240GB with S8FM07.9 firmware
Storage Crucial BX100 500GB with MU01 firmware

Crucial BX200 480GB with MU01.4 firmware

Crucial MX200 500GB with MU01 firmware

Intel 335 Series 240GB with 335u firmware

Intel 730 Series 480GB with L2010400 firmware

Intel 750 Series 1.2GB with 8EV10171 firmware

Intel DC P3700 800GB with 8DV10043 firmware

Intel X25-M G2 160GB with 8820 firmware

Plextor M6e 256GB with 1.04 firmware

OCZ Trion 100 480GB with 11.2 firmware

OCZ Vector 180 240GB with 1.0 firmware

OCZ Vector 180 960GB with 1.0 firmware

Samsung 850 EVO 250GB with EMT01B6Q firmware

Samsung 850 EVO 1TB with EMT01B6Q firmware

Samsung 850 Pro 500GB with EMXM01B6Q firmware

Samsung 950 Pro 512GB with 1B0QBXX7 firmware

Samsung XP941 256GB with UXM6501Q firmware

Power supply Corsair AX650 650W
Operating system Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Thanks to Asus for providing the systems’ motherboards, Intel for the CPUs, Adata for the memory, and Corsair for the system drives and PSUs. And thanks to the drive makers for supplying the rest of the SSDs.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

Some further notes on our test methods:

  • To ensure consistent and repeatable results, the SSDs were secure-erased before every component of our test suite. For the IOMeter database, RoboBench write, and RoboBench copy tests, the drives were put in a simulated used state that better exposes long-term performance characteristics. Those tests are all scripted, ensuring an even playing field that gives the drives the same amount of time to recover from the initial used state.

  • We run virtually all our tests three times and report the median of the results. Our sustained IOMeter test is run a second time to verify the results of the first test and additional times only if necessary. The sustained test runs for 30 minutes continuously, so it already samples performance over a long period.

  • Steps have been taken to ensure the CPU’s power-saving features don’t taint any of our results. All of the CPU’s low-power states have been disabled, effectively pegging the frequency at 3.5GHz. Transitioning between power states can affect the performance of storage benchmarks, especially when dealing with short burst transfers.

The test systems’ Windows desktop was set at 1920×1080 at 60Hz. Most of the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

 

Conclusions

We did set this up as a head-to-head matchup, so we’re going to have to declare a winner. Though neither drive blew us away, the victory goes to the OCZ Trion 100. Both drives struggled to match the speeds of much older hardware (like Intel’s X25-M) in some of our tests, but the Trion 100 put up a better fight. To be fair, these drives aren’t intended to blow your socks off like the high-end drives we typically test. They’re positioned more for buyers who are just getting around to making the switch from mechanical storage or for folks who want a higher-capacity SSD without taking out a second mortgage. These drives would make great replacements for systems still booting off hard disk drives. Their boot and load-time performance is up there with the best, and they handle read-heavy workloads with aplomb.

I believe one problem with the BX200—aside from its lackluster speeds—is simply its name. OCZ played it smart by creating a new and distinct product line for its TLC drive and leaving the Arc 100 in its lineup. The Trion name didn’t create any expectations for me. Contrast that with Crucial’s approach. The company opted to bill the BX200 as both the successor and replacement for the BX100. The natural expectation is for the newer drive to be an evolution and improvement of the one that came before. Alas, the BX200 is anything but. Its MLC-based predecessor is the far better drive.

Newegg currently sells the 480GB Trion 100 for $160, and the 480GB BX200 for $150. The Trion 100 is certainly worth the $10 premium. But if I had $160 to buy an SSD, I’d put $10 back in my pocket and buy Samsung’s 500GB 850 EVO for $150. Right now, the Samsung drive even comes with a free copy of the most recent Assassin’s Creed release to sweeten the deal.

The 850 EVO’s current price demonstrates an issue instrinsic to the budget segment: the ever-changing landscape of SSD deals almost always makes some higher-end drives available for lower prices than budget drives at their full prices. To really get a good value out of “value-oriented” drives, you have to wait for a steep discount to go into effect for your drive of choice.

To sum up, although neither of these drives lead the pack, they have a place in the market. Their speeds may seem sluggish compared to our stable of hot performers, but they still beat the pants off spinning platters in most cases. Once these drives have been around long enough to be included in the regular SSD sales frenzy, their discounted per-gigabyte cost could make them solid options for low-end PC builds.

Comments closed
    • Lsi
    • 4 years ago

    I imagine the results for the BX100, MX200 and M6e were archived test results, as their tested firmwares were pretty out of date when this review was released? The ARC 100’s version wasn’t listed either but hopefully it was 1.01. Nice to see an online review of the Trion 100’s firmware 11.2 as its stock version had some major stability issues.

    • Voldenuit
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<]We did set this up as a head-to-head matchup, so we're going to have to declare a winner.[/quote<] I'd have preferred them both being losers. The real winner would be buying a BX100 for cheap(er) while you can.

    • anotherengineer
    • 4 years ago

    Without these reviews it will get harder and harder to determine what type of nand manufacturer’s are tossing in SSD’s.

    Glad there are reviews so I can avoid TLC nand and get ones with MLC nand.

    • One Sick Puppy
    • 4 years ago

    From what I can see, the difference in real-world performance for the majority of SSD’s is practically insignificant. Most of the benchmarks are within a couple seconds of each other.

    • Visigoth
    • 4 years ago

    On black Friday there was a deal for an Intel 710 100GB SSD for $ 29. Yes, it’s SATA-2, and yes, it’s not as fast as the latest ones, but any SSD will kick a hard drives butt when it comes to speed. I ordered 2 of ’em. I just couldn’t let that deal pass. Plus it comes in real handy when I install them onto friend’s laptops and make their old hardware blazing fast again.

      • ludi
      • 4 years ago

      Just a note: if you’re refurbing old laptops, you can buy Intel 320 160GB drives all day long on eBay for $40. They were deployed in numerous high-end business laptops 3-4 years back and are now being pulled and resold by PC recyclers.

        • drfish
        • 4 years ago

        Yeah, I was pretty surprised to see them popping up in [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA5WM3483302<]sub $200 refurb Elitebooks on Newegg.[/url<] Something like that vs. your typical netbook is a pretty awesome deal. [i<]Edit: FWIW I'd get [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA5WM2N35033<]this one[/url<] if I was getting a tiny refurb.[/i<]

        • Leader952
        • 4 years ago

        I picked up a pair of Intel 535 series 120 GB drives for $39.99 each from the egg pre-black friday.

        [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167307[/url<] They are currently at $69.99 now but keep a look out for them to drop again in the next few weeks.

        • Leader952
        • 4 years ago

        Also keep an eye open on eBay for the “OCZ Deneva R Series 2.5″ SATA II 200 GB MLC” SSD drives. These are Enterprise qualified drives.

        I managed to get one for $43 a few months ago.

    • ludi
    • 4 years ago

    Who ees thees Anthonee Jayee Thomesss?

    • lmc5b
    • 4 years ago

    This would normally be one of those products I ignore but why did they have to go and discontinue the bx100? I really love mine, why didn’t they keep them both around and let the customer decide?

    • The Egg
    • 4 years ago

    Decent article, I just feel that any discussion of TLC should get a significant mention of the data retention and performance dropoff issues that have been seen in some models (840EVO).

    Switching gears, it would be kinda cool if someone made a chart or spreadsheet of all the current SSD models, their NAND type and size, price, rated endurance, and some basic performance metrics for quick and easy comparison.

      • thedosbox
      • 4 years ago

      I’d like to see TR repeat their endurance test on current-gen TLC drives now that they’re more widespread.

        • meerkt
        • 4 years ago

        Write endurance can be improved with more over-provisioning, and is easy for manufacturers to test. So that point is just vaguely interesting. On the other hand, retention can’t be improved without drastic improvements to the underlying tech, and is difficult to test. That would be far more interesting.

          • thedosbox
          • 4 years ago

          [quote<] Write endurance can be improved with more over-provisioning, and is easy for manufacturers to test [/quote<] Obvious point is obvious. The point is I'd like to see how realistic their claimed endurance is, and how much is just marketing speak aimed at segmenting their different product lines.

            • meerkt
            • 4 years ago

            Since it’s easy for them to implement and to verify directly, obviously it will hit the specs and then some, which is already more than most people need. Beyond that, is it that interesting to see how much over it’ll go?

            I don’t think many people shop for TLC drives to save a few bucks and with the goal of using twice the rated TBW, hoping for the best.

    • meerkt
    • 4 years ago

    [url<]https://techreport.com/r.x/2015_11_22_Trion_100_BX200/iometer-db-read.png[/url<] BX200 is labeled the same as the BX100.

      • weaktoss
      • 4 years ago

      Doh. Fixed, thanks!

    • derFunkenstein
    • 4 years ago

    Man this is disappointing. I have two BX100s in two different systems, and the 200 (along with the OCZ) just don’t live up to that. While write speeds aren’t as big a deal as read speeds for my needs, I hate seeing such a disparity. The prices on these “budget” options are going to have to come way down before I’d be at all interested. I won’t pay the same (or possibly more) for reduced performance.

    • LocalCitizen
    • 4 years ago

    The end of the golden era of SSD is here.

    In order to shave pennies off of SSD for the mainstream market, the manufactures are increasingly using inferior, slower, less endurance technology. Very soon, TLC chips will be everywhere. What’s worse, they will elevate MLC based drives as “enthusiast” products, and target those who know the difference (such as TR readers), and charge more for it.

    This “cheapenization” happened 1000 years ago to porcelain, 100 years ago to automobile, 10 years ago to laptop (behold the 1377 x 768 TN in the mainstream), and now the SSD drives. Really, it happens to all products. First you have the early adopter paying premium, then technology brings us better performance at lower prices, finally the bottom scrapers come in with inferior products at low low prices.

    So for those who are looking to pick up a quality fast SSD, do it soon, before TLC takes over. If you are not convinced, try to find a new SSD based on SLC chips.

      • dragontamer5788
      • 4 years ago

      [quote<]The end of the golden era of SSD is here[/quote<] Why now, when the industry is shifting from MLC to TLC drives? Why not 5 years ago, when the industry shifted from SLC to MLC drives? I overall welcome the TLC shift. MLC has saturated all 6gbps of the SATA3 link. TLC is natural evolution if the industry can figure out how to improve the speed of TLC drives. MLC will live on in higher-end drives using NVMe (M.2, SATAe, or PCIe physical forms). But as it is, there is no differentiation between MLC SATA3 drives anymore. So going for "cheaper" just makes sense. EDIT: I'll personally continue to buy MLC drives in the near future. TLC seems to have too many issues (and they aren't actually cheap enough yet). Once the firmware issues, driver bugs, and costs go down, I'm sure TLC will be a price/performance contender. [quote<]If you are not convinced, try to find a new SSD based on SLC chips.[/quote<] Why bother? Extremely-high end MLC drives like the Intel 750 virtually saturate a 4x PCIe link, let alone the significantly slower standard SATA3 link. There's literally no application today where an SLC chip can take advantage of its speed advantage over MLC. I mean, a few RAIDed 750s do [url=http://www.pcper.com/files/review/2015-05-28/ssd%20750%20x5-10%204k%20random%20qd32%20CPU%20scaling-.png<]this to your CPU[/url<]. Yeah, MLC is fast enough to become CPU-limited when running on an (significantly) overclocked i7-5960X (running 4.5 GHz instead of 3.5GHz). SLC is thoroughly redundant levels of speed. People aren't even typically using 4x PCIe lanes to feed their MLC drives. So... I don't see any benefit to SLC anymore.

        • LocalCitizen
        • 4 years ago

        your reply doesn’t make sense.

        we are not getting a proper MLC replacement at a lower price point. the new TLC drives are duds. they are much slower and have much worse endurance, for only a few dollars less.

        [quote<]I overall welcome the TLC shift.[/quote<] [quote<]I'll personally continue to buy MLC drives in the near future.[/quote<] you are contradicting yourself. you are not looking at the big picture. the cheap TLC will be replacing MLC even as the connectors move to PCIe. but they will continue to be slow. at the same time, MLC based will increase in price because they will be put in a different market segment. more profit for the makers, less value for you. this is a few years down the road, but it's inevitable. will TLC be better in a few years time? certainly. but will it be better than TODAY's MLC? maybe not. so you are giving up a few years technology advance for the savings of a few dollars. in fact there will be less spent on MLC development because TLC will bring in more profits. let me use another example: a good fast USB 2.0 drive from a few years back will still outperform today's mainstream USB3.0 drives from Walmart. The cheap stuff is everywhere from big box stores to gas stations, but even on a faster interface, it is still slow.

          • ludi
          • 4 years ago

          [quote<]let me use another example: a good fast USB 2.0 drive from a few years back will still outperform today's mainstream USB3.0 drives from Walmart.[/quote<] Well, yeah, but do you remember what a "good, fast" USB 2.0 drive cost when it first came out? And, in contrast, what was for sale on Walmart shelves back then?

          • Takeshi7
          • 4 years ago

          [quote<]a good fast USB 2.0 drive from a few years back will still outperform today's mainstream USB3.0 drives from Walmart.[/quote<] No, they won't.

            • bhtooefr
            • 4 years ago

            Actually, have you seen some of the bottom-tier USB 3.0 drives? There’s quite a few of them that literally can’t saturate USB 2.0.

          • dragontamer5788
          • 4 years ago

          [quote<]we are not getting a proper MLC replacement at a lower price point. [/quote<] So buy an MLC drive. Keep buying say... the MX200 or something. I don't see what your beef is. If you don't like TLC drives, then continue to buy MLC drives. Personally speaking, I'm happy that tons of other people are buying TLC drives. By the time I end up purchasing one, all of the "Guinna Pig" status / beta-testing will be complete and I'll benefit from the TLC advances. [quote<]this is a few years down the road, but it's inevitable.[/quote<] Nice crystal ball you got there. Instead of hyperventallating about the future that I don't know about, I live in the present. And at present, I can still buy [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA4RE2Z37684&cm_re=M500_SSD-_-20-148-694-_-Product<]M500[/url<] drives (2013 model). I expect that the BX100 will remain available until 2017 (if it has a similar trajectory as the 2013 M500). And newer model MLC drives will likely continue to come out throughout this year and next year (especially performance models) If in the future, the BX100 outperforms future TLC drives, I'll just buy the BX100 again. It seems unlikely that BX100 prices will increase (old-models almost always get cheaper over time). So no, I'm not worried at all.

            • bhtooefr
            • 4 years ago

            Crucial’s already made the BX100 “available as a legacy product while supplies last”: [url<]http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/storage-ssd-bx100[/url<] So, it's discontinued. Already.

            • dragontamer5788
            • 4 years ago

            Just like the M500. Which is why I brought up the M500. Doesn’t change the fact that M500 SSDs are [b<]still[/b<] available on Newegg and Amazon. In the worst case, pick up an ADATA or some other SSD from some other company. There are dozens of SSD companies out there selling MLC drives still.

        • Takeshi7
        • 4 years ago

        [quote<]There's literally no application today where an SLC chip can take advantage of its speed advantage over MLC.[/quote<] The main advantage of SLC is write endurance, not speed. It does have better speed though.

          • dragontamer5788
          • 4 years ago

          [url<]https://techreport.com/review/27909/the-ssd-endurance-experiment-theyre-all-dead[/url<] I don't think write-endurance is an issue for the vast majority of consumers. The amount of data needed to kill an MLC drive today is well beyond what most people need. The 900TB lifespan on a [b<]TLC[/b<] Samsun 840 means that the average user can write 246 GB/day (ie: rewrite the [b<]entire drive[/b<] every day) for ten years before the TLC drive crashes. Let alone the MLC drives that lasted to 2PB or longer. Note that a larger drive (like 500GB or 1tb) MLC will double, or quadruple the lifespan (or more, depending on how much over provisioning there is) TechReport has more or less sealed the argument as far as write endurance. MLC is more than good enough.

      • yuhong
      • 4 years ago

      It would still be much faster than hard drives though, which is what is shipping in most OEM systems now.

        • Noinoi
        • 4 years ago

        Sometimes I wish SSDs were standard among all systems, but at least as an option instead of the HDD. I’m sure some would take the capacity loss for significantly faster performance under most circumstances.

        Though it is distressing that we have SSDs on sale today whose performance is worse than a HDD in terms of seqwrites… I mean, maybe not everyone needs that, but I found myself doing a lot of video file copying across computers lately, and 74 MB/s and 140 MB/s? Yeah, I think I’ll probably keep doing these kind of writes on a WD Black.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 4 years ago

      [quote<]This "cheapenization" happened... 100 years ago to automobile[/quote<] If ssd's follow the "cheapenization" of cars, sign me up. Do you realize how safe, reliable, and high performance your average family sedan is these days?

    • Ushio01
    • 4 years ago

    So has there been any press releases from SSD makers about releasing SSD’s with capacity’s higher than 1TB yet? Samsung has had two for months with no competition.

    • gbcrush
    • 4 years ago

    Tony (and others) can I make a reader’s suggestion for future SSD tests? Please scale down some of the bar graphs to just a medium-sized selection few appropriate candidates.

    Usually on recent SSD reviews I’ve been skimming the texts and spending my time studying the graphs. This time around, my eyes passed right over the bar graphs and went straight for the text. Why? Because the first impression of the graphs is that they’re wall-of-text inserts.

    Each SSDs are already lengthy in name. You’ve got: [i<] Manufacturer + Hyped Up Name + Series/Revision + Capacity [/i<]. When you go 19 models deep in that, I feel like I'm being asked to parse a lot more wordy data than I am visual/numeric data. While I appreciate the thoroughness, I think this undermines the efficiency of presenting data visually. Multiply that feeling by the number of times a bar graph appears in the article and really...well written text just becomes much more appealing to study. Compare and contrast: the graphs in your Samsung 850 Evo 2TB review feel a little short, but sweet as far as "punch per" square inch delivery. Geoff's 850 Evo review graphs are mind blowingly long...but at that many candidates (paradoxically) there's something more pleasing about the vertical length of the graph. The line graphs are great with just 6-8 candidates per view. I know, I know, I'm, being picky. Thank you if you read through all that. 🙂

      • Takeshi7
      • 4 years ago

      I like that they include all of the competitors in the graphs.

        • gbcrush
        • 4 years ago

        I like it too, actually. I was just a little bothered by the graphs today, and when I tried to think about it, these thoughts presented themselves.

        • jihadjoe
        • 4 years ago

        Agree. It’s great to see how these drives compare to NVMe, including that monstrous DC-P3700.

      • Freon
      • 4 years ago

      I like to see at least some sample from perhaps slightly higher or lower tiers to judge how much it really matters. For instance, comparing the 850 EVO to its big brother the 850 PRO can be helpful deciding if the extra money spent on the nicer product matters at least from a performance perspective. Generally I think most of us used that type of information to decide it is not, saving us some money and stick with BX100 or 850 EVO over the MX100 and 850 Pro, for instance.

      The color coding of the drives in question and their closest siblings seems sufficient to me. The remainders left in a dull color means the eye can still focus. It only gets really bad with line graphs that overlap, and I see there is some care there to limit the selection.

        • fellix
        • 4 years ago

        850 Pro and EVO drives are pretty much neck to neck in the benchmarks. Samsung made some clever engineering with the EVO line to compensate for the lackluster write rates of TLC, thanks to the VNAND buffering and the new controller series used in EVO. The 850 EVO is definitely the best TLC drive out there and the only reason to go for the 850 Pro model is the ridiculous 10 year long warranty.

    • gbcrush
    • 4 years ago

    Fantastic! I was hoping to see a TR review of the BX 200 after reading some initial words elsewhere that it fails to live up to the “successor” hype.

    …I’m saddened to see that you guys agree. I know which drive I’m definitely avoiding now! (Sorry Srsly_Bro, I’m an OCZ hater, but even I’d pick that over the bX200 right now :D).

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 4 years ago

      I mostly hate them from all the bad RAM I was lucky enough to win from them. I’m not willing to try another OCZ product.

      Hate on!

      I did recommend to a family member to get the MX200 instead of the crappy BX200.

    • Firestarter
    • 4 years ago

    Over here the BX100 1TB is still cheaper per GB than the BX200 960GB, that makes the BX200 a non-starter from the get-go. Both the BX200 and the Trion 100 should be competing with the SanDisk Ultra II, which is the only drive that seems to be able to deliver on the promise of cheap storage using TLC flash. I’m looking at 960GB+ drives here and the SanDisk Ultra II is sitting at a very competitive €0,25/GB while everything else is at least 10% more expensive at €0,28/GB

    • Takeshi7
    • 4 years ago

    I think the industry needs to rename MLC to BLC, because it’s bi level. Technically TLC is also Multi level. The way it is now is just confusing.

      • xeridea
      • 4 years ago

      And TLC can be Terribly Lethargic Crud.

      • Freon
      • 4 years ago

      Too late now, the ship has sailed.

      • jihadjoe
      • 4 years ago

      I vote for calling them Two Level Cells!

        • Takeshi7
        • 4 years ago

        Genius!

      • eofpi
      • 4 years ago

      DLC.

      Oh wait….

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 4 years ago

    I hope to see some “OCZ is the worstest ever” comments. Don’t disappoint.

      • Chrispy_
      • 4 years ago

      Son, I am disappoint.

    • drfish
    • 4 years ago

    Ugh, that BX200, such a shame.

    Over the years my “standard” pick of SSD has gone like this (with some oddballs along the way)

    2009 – OCZ Vertex
    2010 – OCZ Vertex 2
    2011 – OCZ Vertex 3
    2012 – Samsung 830
    2013 – Samsung 840 Pro
    2014 – Samsung 840 EVO
    2015 – Crucial BX100
    2016 – ???

      • HERETIC
      • 4 years ago

      You missed out on the M4 there………
      2016-Best value for reasonable performance seems to be 850 EVO at the moment….

        • KeillRandor
        • 4 years ago

        I got an 850 EVO a couple of weeks ago as soon as the price at my usual retailer dropped to £66. I *finally* upgraded to Windows 7 :p (Since I found some drivers for my soundcard (at last.)) Not regretting it at all so far… (Shame I don’t have all the money to buy the games I now want to play… At least Kodi is up and running now, though, so I’ll have plenty to watch…)

          • LoneWolf15
          • 4 years ago

          Seconded on the 850 Evo. As much as Samsung messed the 840Evo, there are no problems I’ve heard of with the 850, and the 500GB one in my desktop runs lightning fast.

          To me (drfish), you missed the Crucial M4, M500 and M550. They had great features and reasonable performance. The current drives after that, I’ve found to be lackluster.

          EDIT: (specified who I was addressing, fixed my stuck spacebar)

    • Chrispy_
    • 4 years ago

    As always, these things fail on pricing:

    TLC is twice the capacity from the same NAND, so the 480GB TLC drive should be priced around the level of a a 240GB MLC drive.

    Instead, it’s not even a fair fight. MLC drives wipe the floor with these things at similar prices – Sandisk and Samsung get closest to MLC performance but even then they fall flat on their face for anything other than short benchmarks whereupon the SLC cache is depleted and TLC’s horrific performance penalties can no longer be disguised.

    [i<]edit: My logic failed slightly - TLC should be 66% the price of MLC, not 50%, but yeah, still nowhere near MLC price![/i<]

      • Waco
      • 4 years ago

      TLC is 50% more capacity over MLC, not double.

        • UberGerbil
        • 4 years ago

        And they probably have to set more aside for wear-levelling also, to keep reliability / write life expectancy where it needs to be.

          • travbrad
          • 4 years ago

          Yep plus some of the cost of SSDs is in the controller/firmware/R&D costs. Much like with HDDs if you look at the really low capacity drives the cost/GB actually gets worse because of those base components.

          I’m not sure TLC is will actually have as many durability problems as many people are claiming though, especially for what most people are using them for (OS, applications, and games)

        • Chrispy_
        • 4 years ago

        Why do people ALWAYS confuse binary for decimal?

        SLC, [b<]one[/b<] bit per cell can store 2^[b<]1[/b<] values: 0 or 1 = 2 values MLC, [b<]two[/b<] bits per cell can store 2^[b<]2[/b<] values: 00, 01, 10, or 11 = 4 values TLC, [b<]three[/b<] bits per cell can store 2^[b<]3[/b<] values: a 000, 001, 010, 011, 100, 100, 101, 110, or 111 = 8 values. Each individual cell in TLC NAND can store eight values whilst an MLC cell only stores four values; For two similar capacity drives, the TLC drive will have, quite literally, [i<]half[/i<] the NAND. The manufacturer saves by spending way less on NAND and in return you get lower performance, lower endurance and almost nonexistent savings. TLC really isn't appealing at anything close to MLC pricing. If it were closer to half the price of MLC it would at least soften the blow of such a huge performance/endurance penalty but you can always find MLC drives at comparable prices.

          • meerkt
          • 4 years ago

          Exactly. 3 bits are 50% more than 2 bits. It’s not about the number of possibilities.

          Hmm… but it indeed would be very nice if doubling a memory bus from, say, 64-bit to 128-bit , get you 18.4 billion billion times the bandwidth. 🙂

          • mno
          • 4 years ago

          No, you’re the only one confused here.

          Bits [b<]are[/b<] capacity. There's a reason storage is sold in units of bytes, each of which is eight bits. A single cell stores a single value, regardless of whether it's SLC, MLC, or TLC. The amount of information stored in that single value is then 1, 2, or 3 bits respectively (the log of the number of states possible, or in other words the number of binary digits necessary to encode those states). Storing eight values instead of four is precisely a one bit increase in information stored (so TLC is 1.5x MLC); each additional bit doubles the state space.

          • jihadjoe
          • 4 years ago

          But the data is still standard hexadecimal (or whatever $filesystem uses), so only the number of bits matters.

          A 16-bit word will be spread across 16 cells on SLC, 8 cells on MLC, or 5⅓ cells on TLC, so 50% capacity over MLC is correct. This doesn’t take into account that TLC will have a higher bit error rate, and lower write endurance, which will mean more cells will need to be left as unallocated reserves.

            • Chrispy_
            • 4 years ago

            Aw, yeah – because although you have eight possible values it can only store one in any cell :\

            What a huge amount of effort, controller complexity and mess that is for only 50% gains, and half of that gain is wasted because TLC is worthless without SLC cache eating into the savings!

            • Waco
            • 4 years ago

            SLC cache can be done on the fly though (running TLC in SLC mode essentially). It doesn’t have to be dedicated.

            • Chrispy_
            • 4 years ago

            …but that eats capacity doesn’t it – if 8GB of SLC is used and it’s running on the fly, it’s using the same amount of NAND that would usually be 24GB in TLC mode, right?

            If they did that (hypothetically) on the 120GB drives for example that would eat up one fifth of the whole drive just for 8GB of cache.

            Maybe it just SLC’s all it can based on free space. If you have a full drive the only cache is spare area which probably explains the dire performance in the torture test.

            • Waco
            • 4 years ago

            Right – good implementations vary it on the fly, so don’t run them maxed out (which is a bad idea on most filesystems too).

          • Waco
          • 4 years ago

          People already corrected you, but yeah, only the number of bits matter, not the number of combinations possible.

      • travbrad
      • 4 years ago

      It’s worth noting the BX200 is down to $140 on newegg now instead of $150, so it’s $20 cheaper than the MX200 now. They both come with cloning software too.

      MLC drives may “wipe the floor” with TLC drives in some of these benchmarks (especially sequential writes), but I doubt most people are sequentially writing large files to SSDs. If that is your use case then these are definitely bad drives to get, but if you are just using it for OS/applications/games I’m sure they’d be fine, and you probably wouldn’t notice a difference between a TLC and MLC drive.

      I went from a 128GB M4 to a 512GB MX200 (which scores much better in benchmarks) and can’t tell any difference at all, apart from having more capacity.

        • TruthSerum
        • 4 years ago

        Samsung 500 gb evo with $60 game code for $138 today.

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