Crucial’s MX500 500 GB and 1 TB SSDs reviewed

Back in the summer of 2016, Crucial released the successor to its popular MX200 drive. The MX300 left behind the 16-nm planar MLC we knew and loved in its predecessors for IMFT’s then-newfangled 3D TLC NAND. Despite our initial misgivings concerning the move from MLC to TLC, the MX300’s 3D chops were enough to ensure that its speeds kept up with the older drive. Just a couple of months ago, Crucial took the wraps off of the next drive in the MX line, the MX500. 

As you can see, little has changed on the exterior. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Like the MX300, the MX500 is built on IMFT’s 3D TLC NAND, but this time it’s stacked 64 layers high instead of a mere 32. And a Silicon Motion chip has displaced the Marvell controller which ran the show before. More on that in a second. The MX500 is available in 250-GB, 500-GB, 1-TB, and 2-TB capacities. We’ve got the 500-GB and 1-TB models on hand to play with.

Crucial MX500
Capacity Max sequential (MB/s) Max random (IOps)
Read Write Read Write
250 GB 560 510 95K 90K
500 GB 560 510 95K 90K
1 TB 560 510 95K 90K
2 TB 560 510 95K 90K

We wasted no time in breaking open our toys.  The top side of each drive is identical; eight NAND packages are arranged neatly behind the controller and 512 MB of DRAM. Each package houses two of Micron’s 64-layer, 256-Gb 3D TLC dies.

The controller is a Silicon Motion SM2258 with Micron-customized firmware. We’ve seen the SM2258 paired with Micron NAND before in a couple of Adata products, but the last Crucial-branded drive we touched with Silicon Motion gear inside was the somewhat uninspiring BX200.  But that drive included planar TLC and an aging SM2246EN controller, so don’t despair for the MX500 just yet.

The back of the MX500 500 GB PCB

The other side of the 500-GB drive’s PCB is completely barren, while the 1 TB’s underside is a bustling metropolis.

The back of the MX500 1 TB PCB

Another eight of the same 3D TLC packages and an additional 512 MB of DRAM give the 1-TB drive a simple doubling of the 500 GB’s loadout.

As we’ve become accustomed to in Micron’s MX series, the MX500 enjoys burst write speed boosts courtesy of Dynamic Write Acceleration. It also benefits from the same hardware-accelerated encryption capabilities the MX300 had, adhering to the TCG Opal specs and IEEE-1667 standards. Crucial also highlights the MX500’s power-loss protection in case your system isn’t already guarded by a UPS.

Micron’s suggested launch prices were $140 for the MX500 500 GB and $260 for the MX500 1 TB, but each drive has already taken a ten-dollar haircut at Newegg. The MX500 drives are backed by a five-year warranty, unless you manage to exceed the respective endurance ratings of 180 and 360 terabytes written over the guarantee period. 

The enthusiast SATA storage scene is in sore need of a challenge to Samsung’s market dominance. Let’s see if the MX500 can fill the role.

 

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 128-KB block size.



The MX500 drives’ sequential reads are about as fast as SATA allows. Writes are also quick, but they can’t keep up with the very fastest SATA drives like Samsung’s higher-capacity 850- and 860-series units. Across the board, the MX500 makes substantial gains over the MX300, though.



Random read response times are markedly improved over the MX300, but write response times are about the same. 

So far, so good. The MX500 isn’t setting any records, but it is putting out the strong SATA performance we expect of Crucial’s MX series. 

 

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, a setting that 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.


The 500-GB drive’s sustained performance is straightforward. Dynamic Write Acceleration keeps its speeds strong for about the first hundred seconds before speeds decline to steady-state. The 1-TB drive’s performance is similar, but it spends another 150 seconds or so oscillating before finally collapsing to its steady state. Both drives’ performance peaks quite high for SATA drives. Let’s see just how high now.

Quite high, in fact. The MX500 500 GB claims the highest peak random-write speed we’ve yet seen from a SATA drive. More importantly, both drives come close to doubling the steady-state write rate of their predecessor.

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 maximum 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.


The 500-GB drive’s transaction rate scales more or less linearly until QD8. The 1 TB sticks it out till QD16 before flattening off. Both scale much more noticeably than the MX300 did, as the next graphs will make obvious.


Across our database test, the MX500 puts up much sharper slopes than the old MX300 gave us. We rarely expect consumer SATA drives to exhibit a whole lot of scaling as queue depth increases, but the MX500 does a decent job of it.

The MX500 has run our gauntlet of synthetics without revealing any major flaws, showing almost uniform advancement over 2016’s MX300. Now for some real-life challenges.

 

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 media set results mirror what we saw in our QD1 and QD4 sequential results. The MX500’s reads live at the very edge of SATA’s potential performance. Both drives exhibit read speeds about 10% higher than the MX300’s. The drives’ writes are strong too, but again, there’s a small set of SATA drives that can put up even better numbers.

Now for the work set.



The story is much the same for this test. The MX500 puts up large improvements over the MX300 on the read side and smaller improvements on the write side.

The MX500 reads, writes, and copies files close to as well as any SATA drive can. Our last set of tests will see how quickly it can boot up Windows and load various applications.

 

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’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.

The MX500 drives boot Windows a tad faster than the MX300 did, whether bare or loaded. 

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 790-MB 4K video in Avidemux, a 30-MB spreadsheet in LibreOffice, and a 523-MB image file in the GIMP. In the Visual Studio Express test, we open a 159-MB project containing source code for the LLVM toolchain. Thanks to Rui Figueira for providing the project code.

The MX500s tend toward the lower side of these load-time graphs, but there are only sub-second differences between their results and the MX300’s.

Those slow times for Batman may hurt the MX500 drives in our final reckoning, but otherwise the drives seem to handle loading games as well as any of their competitors.

With great boot times and mostly good load times, the MX500 drives have proven to be perfectly suited to primary storage purposes. That’s it for our testing, so flip the page for our test methods or skip ahead to the conclusion.

 

Test notes and methods

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

  Interface Flash controller NAND
Adata Premier SP550 480GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2256 16-nm SK Hynix TLC
Adata Ultimate SU800 512GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2258 32-layer Micron 3D TLC
Adata Ultimate SU900 256GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2258 Micron 3D MLC
Adata XPG SX930 240GB SATA 6Gbps JMicron JMF670H 16-nm Micron MLC
Corsair MP500 240GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Phison 5007-E7 15-nm Toshiba MLC
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
Crucial MX300 750GB SATA 6Gbps Marvell 88SS1074 32-layer Micron 3D TLC
Crucial MX500 500GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2258 64-layer Micron 3D TLC
Crucial MX500 1TB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2258 64-layer Micron 3D TLC
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
Mushkin Reactor 1TB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2246EN 16-nm Micron 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 Trion 150 480GB SATA 6Gbps Toshiba TC58 15-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
Patriot Hellfire 480GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Phison 5007-E7 15-nm Toshiba 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 512GB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MEX 32-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung 860 Pro 1TB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MJX 64-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung UBX 32-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung 960 EVO 250GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung Polaris 32-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 960 EVO 1TB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung Polaris 48-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 960 Pro 2TB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung Polaris 48-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung SM951 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung S4LN058A01X01 16-nm Samsung MLC
Samsung XP941 256GB PCIe Gen2 x4 Samsung S4LN053X01 19-nm Samsung MLC
Toshiba OCZ RD400 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Toshiba TC58 15-nm Toshiba MLC
Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SATA 6Gbps Toshiba TC358790XBG 15-nm Toshiba MLC
Toshiba TR200 480GB SATA 6Gbps Toshiba TC58 64-layer Toshiba BiCS TLC
Toshiba XG5 1TB PCIe Gen3 x4 Toshiba TC58 64-layer Toshiba BiCS TLC
Transcend SSD370 256GB SATA 6Gbps Transcend TS6500 Micron or SanDisk MLC
Transcend SSD370 1TB SATA 6Gbps Transcend TS6500 Micron or SanDisk 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, 950 Pro, RD400, and 960 Pro require 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:

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 Trion 150 480GB with 12.2 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

Transcend SSD370 256GB with O0918B firmware

Transcend SSD370 1TB with O0919A firmware

Power supply Corsair AX650 650W
Case Fractal Design Define R5
Operating system Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Thanks to Asus for providing the systems’ motherboards, to Intel for the CPUs, to Adata for the memory, to Fractal Design for the cases, and to 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

Crucial’s MX500 duo delivers just the sort of performance we expect out of an enthusiast SATA drive. Read speeds and sustained write speeds are much improved over the MX300, but burst writes and load times weren’t quite so clear of a victory. On the whole, we expect the two drives to land close to where the MX300 did in our rankings.  We distill the overall performance rating using an older SATA SSD as a baseline. To compare each drive, we then take the geometric mean of a basket of results from our test suite. Only drives which have been through the entire current test suite on our current rig are represented.

The 1-TB drive lands right in line with the MX300 750 GB, and the 500-GB model unsurprisingly trails slightly behind. This is squarely in the high-performance SATA band, just a sliver behind the substantially pricier Samsung 860 Pro 1 TB. This is just where Crucial wants these drives to be.

It’s a bit of a shame that the MX500 didn’t land ahead of the MX300 in our overall rankings, but reducing our test suite to a single index value naturally glosses over each drive’s individual strengths and weaknesses. I have no doubt that the MX500 is a better drive than the MX300, but our geometric mean doesn’t give any more weight to a 10% better performance in real-world file transfer speed, for example, than to a 10% slower load time in Batman. Regardless of its relative prowess against it predecessor, the MX500 has more than enough grunt to leave us impressed.

Now, let’s take a moment to consider its value proposition.


 

Not bad at all. The MX500 drives are quite far off to the left for their vertical height. In other words, they’re good values. The MX500 500 GB’s $130 price tag works out to 26 cents per gigabyte, and the MX500 1 TB’s $250 sticker comes out to 25 cents per gigabyte. These costs per gig come close to challenging Mushkin’s Reactor 1TB, which has been an unstoppable force for a very long in terms of sheer bang-for-buck.  The fact that the the MX500 1 TB matches the 860 Pro 1 TB’s performance for a little over half its price highlights how strong of a contender the Crucial is. Only those with strongest vendettas against TLC performance or endurance need splurge for the high-end Samsung.

While there’s not much new or groundbreaking to the MX500, there’s also not much to complain about. The drive’s read performance skirts the line of what’s possible over the SATA interface, and its write performance isn’t too far behind. Crucial has succeeded in releasing another 3D TLC drive worthy of the MX name at an easily digestible price, and that’s more than enough to notch another TR Recommended award. Look for this drive in System Guides to come.

Comments closed
    • NovusBogus
    • 2 years ago

    Very respectable. I’m thinking about upgrading my large games+VMs SSD to something bigger because 500GB just isn’t cutting it anymore, and this and the new Mushkin are strong contenders.

      • Vhalidictes
      • 2 years ago

      The OLD Mushkin is a strong contender. Looking at prices and TR’s review, it looks to me like the ancient Reactor 1TB MLC drive is about even with the new hotness, for a slightly lower price.

      Time to buy three more before they are no longer sold.

        • NovusBogus
        • 1 year ago

        Fair point–the smaller Reactors got screwed over by a product line refresh about a year ago but the OG 1TB version is still available in abundance.

    • Questar
    • 2 years ago

    Micron still doesn’t supply a manual TRIM utility.

      • MOSFET
      • 2 years ago

      There are plenty of ways to TRIM in Windows, especially post-7. Background GC is usually fine, even long-term.

      Windows 8/10 has TRIM (Optimize) built-in.

      For Win7, you can initiate a TRIM with Anvil Storage Utilities, which TR used for SSD endurance testing.

      What situations cause you concern?

        • Questar
        • 2 years ago

        Cool, thanks I’ll try Anvil.

        I use Primocache for write caching, which I believe doesn’t pass TRIM.

      • Waco
      • 2 years ago

      …which only really matters if you care about write speeds, which nearly no consumer does.

    • jihadjoe
    • 2 years ago

    Abit confusing that the Intel 750 is at the top in the “Overall Performance” chart, but it’s not at the highest y-position in the Performance/$ scatter plot.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      Indeed, but it seems to be that the 960 series only appeared on the scatter plot and nowhere else.

        • jihadjoe
        • 2 years ago

        960 Evo is present on both.

        It was at 299% on the Overall Performance chart, yet on Performance/$ it’s above the 750 which was at 389%

          • derFunkenstein
          • 2 years ago

          well that’s what I get for skimming

            • jihadjoe
            • 2 years ago

            Nah my bad, turns out that 299% was the 250GB version.

      • weaktoss
      • 2 years ago

      Sometimes you just gotta lop off some data for no good reason. Fixed!

    • HERETIC
    • 2 years ago

    Nice drive Micron.
    Charts certainly don’t do it justice…………

    • BillyBuerger
    • 2 years ago

    Seems like the only thing that gave the MX300 the lead in the overall performance is loading times. But in those tests, you’re talking fractions of a second differences. I generally skip right past those results as there is almost nothing to look at. As long as a drive doesn’t flop or do something crazy awesome, load times are a wash. It seems that should have a smaller weight in the overall rating.

    I’ve been using mostly Crucial SSD drives for years and these will likely be my next go to drive.

      • Chrispy_
      • 2 years ago

      As much as I love TR’s overall performance metric, game/application load times are certainly irrelevant as long as they’re within the margin of error and not insane outliers.

      I mean, the 850EVO 250GB, for example is all over the load time results, being either the very fastest drive, or almost the slowest.

      Genuinely bad drives like the old Trion 100 or BX200 with cheap controllers and 1st-gen planar TLC are equally randomly placed in the load time charts, and the X25-M should be at the bottom of the charts always. In every storage-bound metric, it is a slower drive than the rest of the pack, yet it beats dozens of drives in the load tests.

      I think it’s fair to say that the load times are simply not a storage bottleneck issue. I know you run the tests 3 times, Tony, but what’s the variance between runs on those tests? Unless it’s very tight, I agree that the overall geometric mean should be modified to reduce the impact of the load-time tests. Average all the load times and call it one score? You pretty much say as much in your conclusion, excusing the inability of the mean to differentiate between important real-world file transfers and a game load that doesn’t even care which SSD it’s running from.

      I get that it means work to recalculate the scores for drives, but hopefully it’s not too much work and you agree with us (and yourself) that the results would be more useful and relevant.

        • strangerguy
        • 2 years ago

        Forget SSDs, games don’t even load any faster on RAM drives which are magnitudes faster than any SSD.

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 2 years ago

          I run Guild Wars 2 from my SSD. All of my other games live on a large 7200 rpm hard drive. Maps load in about 2/3 the time from the SSD.

          • jihadjoe
          • 2 years ago

          SATA3 is kinda awesome that way. Bottlenecked and yet somehow sufficient.

            • defaultluser
            • 2 years ago

            That’s because the hard drives weren’t even close to pushing the maximum throughput of SATA, (which has fairly low latency). The SSDs can sustain 80k read IOPs with ease, while hard drives are lucky to handle a few hundred.

            So suddenly the processor has become the limiting factor in game load times.

            It’s good to see flash prices finally falling again after a year and a half of rising. I bought my MX300 525GB for $110 off Amazon at that time, and it’s never been below $140 after that.

          • Waco
          • 2 years ago

          Yep. I’ve play with decent RAM drive software and game loading times really don’t change much from any recent SSD to a big RAM drive. I run my games off of an admittedly stupid 8-way RAID 0 SSD array – load times are better only on gargantuan games that do streaming reads. I only built it because it was fun and the drives were cheap.

    • Voldenuit
    • 2 years ago

    My Mushkin Reactor 1 TB Steam drive and Crucial BX100 512GB system drive are still going strong.

    Meanwhile, I just got a new gaming laptop which has a Samsung 961 512 GB, which is many times faster than my desktop SSDs.

    What a time to be alive.

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      Pisses me off when many laptop specs don’t say what model SSD they’re using. It gives me no choice except to assume that it’s the cheapest garbage they could get their hands on.

        • Voldenuit
        • 2 years ago

        The specs page for my laptop doesn’t list the ssd model, but I’d just taken the laptop apart to repaste with liquid metal.

      • Chrispy_
      • 2 years ago

      I put an SM961 into my machine as an OS drive last year too. Can’t tell the difference over the drive it replaced which (I think) was an ancient 180GB Intel SSD330?

      TR’s load time results page says it all. Whatever SSD you have – your OS, applications, and games don’t care; They’re just pleased you aren’t running them on rust.

        • K-L-Waster
        • 2 years ago

        All of which makes these drives interesting. Same performance as everyone else… and they’re cheeeep!

        • Goty
        • 2 years ago

        I noticed a difference moving from my 80GB X25-M G2 to a Crucial BX100, but not much of one when moving from the BX100 to a 960 Evo. Law of diminishing returns, I guess.

          • Chrispy_
          • 2 years ago

          The X25-M was amazing for its day but its barely an SSD by modern standards, so your BX100 would have been running circles around it.

          I have fond memories of the X25-M but when you compare the stats it’s just not a fair fight:
          [url=http://hex.ro/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/intel_x25m_crystaldiskmark.png<]X25-M[/url<] [url=https://theaveragetechnician.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/crystal-52.jpg?w=345&h=311<]BX100[/url<]

    • FireGryphon
    • 2 years ago

    I feel like I just woke up in the future and SSDs are cheap.

    How do these drives do in external enclosures? Are there any snags?

      • Chrispy_
      • 2 years ago

      I’ve been putting old SSDs in enclosures for a long time now and they all seem to work pretty well. There’s a little bit of overhead for the SATA-to-USB bridge but amusingly I can run an OS off an external USB SSD even when it’s in a super-cheap, super-old, USB 2.0 enclosure.

      I guess the OS cares about QD1 IOPS and even a good controller is only managing 5000 IOPS at 4K QD1, which is just 19MB/s. USB 2.0’s measly 35MB/s is enough bandwidth to let most SSD controllers stretch their legs, it would seem, even if it’s a huge bottleneck for sequential data.

        • HERETIC
        • 2 years ago

        Have you found the power limit of USB2 affecting SSD’s?

          • derFunkenstein
          • 2 years ago

          Lots of bus-powered USB2.0 enclosures have a Y-cable with a second USB connector for power. I have such a device with a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive connected to my daughter’s Wii U and it works great.

          • Spunjji
          • 2 years ago

          I weirdly have a large amount of experience in the area of booting Windows from various SSDs in various USB 3.0 caddies. Broadly speaking my experiences have been okay, but certain drives (Samsung 850 Evo 500GB is an example) will spontaneously disconnect when under the sort of heavy load generated by software installations and Windows Updates occurring simultaneously. This is, obviously, bad when you’re running Windows from it.

          If it’s something you’re considering then definitely go for an enclosure that supports some sort of additional 5V input and make sure it has UASP.

          • Chrispy_
          • 2 years ago

          Nope, but that’s because I generally put old SSDs into enclosures, and these are all universally lower power than the mechanical drives that the enclosures were designed for.

          I think it was the increase in controller complexity required for TLC NAND that drove active power consumption up. At idle, SSDs are effectively zero compared to mechanical drives (20-100mW) but old MLC ssds use a Watt or two at peak, newer TLC drives claim they can use up to 5W (but few ever do if the benchmarks are accurate).

          I guess the 5W limit occurs only during multi-threaded, QD32 IOPS, which is uncommon for client workloads and only really seen when running a synthetic benchmark. However, I’ve done that too without problems so I have to assume that the USB2 bandwidth/latency handicaps prevents the SSD from every operating close to that peak load of 5W that would exceed the (default) USB2 power limit.

            • HERETIC
            • 2 years ago

            Thanks,that last sentence explains it nicely.
            My thoughts were-it’ll probably work but at reduced performance.

      • blastdoor
      • 2 years ago

      My feelings exactly. I remember looking forward to $1/GB,.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 2 years ago

        Back in the day, I scoured Computer Shopper to find a 47 MB Seagate ST157N for $450.

      • linkman10
      • 2 years ago

      Not cheap yet in my book. With these at around $.25/GB and HDDs around $.025/GB the archival winner is still the HDD. SSDs are in the somewhat affordable category for 1TB though.

        • blastdoor
        • 2 years ago

        Well, sure archival, yeah — HDD all the way there.

        But for anything where the drive could be perceived by a user as limiting performance, SSDs are looking really good. And I’d say that might even include regular backups.

        Speaking as a Mac user, I’m kind of bummed/annoyed that Apple hasn’t implemented Time Machine with APFS yet (at least not sfaik). Once they do that, I think I’ll move my regular Time Machine backup drive to SSD.

    • blitzy
    • 2 years ago

    Have a 2TB version of this sitting on my desk at home ready to drop into my PC, good performance for the price by the looks and should last me a while till next upgrade

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