Crucial BX200 960GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


It has been almost a year since Crucial introduced the BX100 SSD and set a new standard for how much SSD you could get for your money; bringing large capacity and fast storage in the reach of more people who were dissatisfied with the slow performance of their mechanical hard disk and didn’t want to sacrifice capacity with a smaller SSD. Today I’m taking a closer look at the next step on Crucial’s goal as they just released the Crucial BX200 SSD in three capacities and at a more than good price.

The Crucial BX200 is the perfect entry-level SSD for anyone who wants to take the step away from mechanical storage, but it isn’t exclusive for those people. It could also be a great choice for people who purchase their third, fourth, or fifth SSD as you get more capacity than you are used to. The Crucial BX200 is 13 times faster than a hard drive and at the same time it is 40 times more energy-efficient. It also boots your system a lot faster and almost instantaneously on a modern operating system. Even older systems will reap the benefits of the fast boot times and it also decreases your application and game loading times significantly.

The BX200 isn’t just Crucial’s first drive to use Micron’s 16nm TLC NAND, it is the first overall drive to use Micron’s new TLC NAND. Triple-Level-Cell NAND is capable of storing more bits per cell and thereby reduce both power consumption and costs, but it does cost a little performance and endurance. The two downsides to this should however not be anything that any normal user ever will notice nor be affected by.

Crucial also used a newer controller in the BX200 over the predecessor. The new BX200 comes with a SiliconMotion SM2256 controller where the BX100 used the SM2246. The Crucial BX200 comes with a good performance rating, both when it comes to sequential and random performance. The sequential read performance is rated to 540MB/s reading and 490MB/s writing. The random performance is rated to 66K IOPS reading and 78K IOPS writing. These figures are almost all better than the predecessor, only the random read performance went down a little bit.

As previously mentioned, TLC NAND does affect performance a little bit, but not much and when used the right way it’s barely noticeable. In return, you get a great efficiency and low power consumption where the 480GB model is rated for just 150mW power draw when active, 65mW when idle, 4.6W maximum, and just 10mW when DevSleep is activated.

The Crucial BX200 comes with a mean time before failure (MTBF) of 1..5 million hours, same as the BX100 and MX200 series do. The total bytes written (TBW) rating is set to 72TB. The most important factor in this area is however the warranty and Crucial are backing the BX200 with a 3-year warranty. My personal opinion is that this is more than enough as you’re most likely going to upgrade to a newer drive after that time.

The BX200 comes in a default 2.5-inch form factor and with a height of 7mm. It is available in three capacities, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB and the drives come with a respective MSRP of £66.49 ($84.99), £116.99 ($149.99), and £234.49 ($299.99). The drives all come with a 9.5mm adapter bracket to make it better suited for laptops that require this size and they all come with a copy of Acronis True Image HD included. Acronis True Image is a very useful cloning and backup program to have and it makes the move between your old and new drive a lot easier. A few clicks, a little wait, and you’re ready to rock on with faster speeds.

Crucial also updated the Crucial Storage Executive at the same time as they released the new BX200. The SSD Toolbox helps you to keep the firmware updated and shows you the drive’s status and health. It also enables encryption reset and burst performance with momentum cache mode. New in this version is the user configurable over provisioning for enhanced endurance and performance, something quite a few people will welcome the ability to manage themselves.

Inside the SSD we find a simple PCB that is well utilized with 16 Micron 16nm TLC NAND chips, two Micron Cache chips, and the Silicon Motion SM2256 SSD controller.

The casing is the simple snap-together casing that we’ve seen a lot on SSDs over the past couple of years and it works completely without screws and eliminates another weak point in that direction.

Advanced Features

  • Multistep Data Integrity Algorithm
  • Thermal Monitoring
  • SLC Write Acceleration
  • Active Garbage Collection
  • TRIM Support
  • Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART)
  • Error Correction Code (ECC)
  • Device Sleep extreme low power mode (DEVSLP)

Packaging

Crucial’s SSDs always come in a beautiful wrapping and it is no different this time. The front of the box displays the drive itself, the series, and the capacity size that has been packed inside.

The rear of the box contains a little more information such as the drive size and what’s included in the box. It also provides all the different certification logos and a link where to find more resources for the drive.

Inside the box is a 9.5mm drive adapter next to the drive itself as well as a leaflet with your Acronis True Image HD software activation code.

Team Group Announces L3 EVO Series SATA3 SSD

Team Group just launched their all new L3 EVO SSD that thanks to its SATA3 interface is compatible with almost any system. While M.2 and U.2 along with PCIe might be what the future looks like right now, SATA is still the most compatible interface out there and the one that most people can take advantage of.

The name, L3 EVO, suggest a budget drive and it is, but the Team Group L3 EVO still provides some good performance figures. The drive is also available in a wide variety of capacities, ranging from 120GB over 240GB and 480GB onto the biggest version with 960GB capacity.

The bigger the capacity, the better the performance rating. The 120GB model is rated up to 530MB/s read and 400MB/s write while the 960GB version can read with the same, but write with up to 500MB/s. The figures look about the same when we look at the random performance where the 120GB model can do 70/20K IOPS in 4K read/write benchmarks and the 960GB model performs with up to 85K/60K IOPS.

The new Team Group L3 EVO series has an MTBF of 1 million hours and comes backed by a 3-year warranty. Team Group didn’t announce what NAND or controller they used at this time and a release date and price wasn’t revealed either.

Toshiba Introduces Q300 and Q300 Pro SSDs

Toshiba announced two new internal solid state drive series with large capacity and great performance. The two new drives are the Q300 series built for a balance of performance and value and the Q300 Pro series aimed at the enthusiasts and gamers. Both drives are built with Toshiba’s own controllers and NAND, and they use Adaptive Sized SLC cache technology to increase the performance.

The Toshiba Q300 series is built with Triple-Level-Cell (TLC) NAND and it uses the TC358790 controller. The Q300 comes with capacity options up to 960GB, making it an ideal upgrade from that old, slow, and loud mechanical hard drive. This SSD delivers quiet operation, low power consumption, and tough shock resistance for greater long-term durability. All in a 7mm 2.5-inch design and backed by a 3-year warranty.

The Toshiba Q300 Pro series is built for those that need that extra bit of performance. It has a Toshiba TC58NC1000 controller and Toshiba’s own 2-bit MLC NAND on the insides. That brings greater performance over the TLC NAND, but also a capacity reduction and the Q300 Pro is only available up to a size of 512GB.

The sequential performance is almost equal between the two drives. The Q300 can read with 550MB/s and write with 530MB/s while the Q300 Pro reads and writes with 550MB/s and 520MB/s. When we look at the random performance, we see that the drives aren’t so equal anymore. The Q300 has a random performance rating up to 87K/83K IOPS read/write where the Q300 Pro does 92K/63K IOPS.

The endurance rating is another place where the two differentiate. The 512GB Pro model has an endurance of 320TB total bytes written while the Q300 480GB drive only has a rating of 120TB total bytes written. That is a difference. The Pro model also consumes less power, making it a more optimal choice for notebook users. The last difference between the two is the warranty and the Q300 Pro offers an additional 2-years, making it 5-years in total for the Q300 Pro versus the 3-years for the Q300.

The new Toshiba Q300 and Q300 Pro series SSDs are available now. The MSRP for the Q300 Pro Series is $124.99 for 128GB, $199.99 for 256GB, and $389.99 for 512GB. The Q300 Series has an MSRP of $99.99 for 120GB, $159.99 for 240GB, $309.99 for 480GB, and $449.99 for 960GB.

ADATA Launches the Premier SP550 SATA SSD

ADATA launched their newest drive, the ADATA SP550 SATA3 SSD, that is said to bring a great performance vs cost ratio. The drive is built with SMI’s SM2256 controller that comes with plenty of features as well as triple-level cell NAND, SLC Caching, and DDR3 cache, which when coupled should create an amazing drive.

The ADATA SP550 is available in four different capacities, 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB, a choice for everyone. The drive comes in a standard 2.5-inch 7mm form factor and is bundled with a 9.5mm adapter to make it compatible with laptops that have the bigger slots. The SMI2256 controller also supports DevSleep, which is another bonus for laptop and netbook users as it will draw a lot less power when idling. Besides DevSleep, you also get LDPC ECC (low-density parity check error correction) and RAID engine for enhanced data protection, stability, and reliability.

One of the things that ADATA highlight on this drive, besides the performance vs cost ratio, is the overall lifetime thanks to the TBW rating that it comes with. The two smallest drives have a 90TB TBW rating while the 480GB can write 180TB and the 960GB version has a total bytes written rating of 360TB. The read performance is rated up to 560MB/s on all models and 510MB/s write performance, except the 120GB version that only can 410MB/s when writing. The 4K random performance is rated to 75K reading and writing for the 3 largest models while the small one only does 60K reading and 70K writing.

The three small drives are already listed for purchase while the 960GB still has to be dispatched. The 120GB can be found starting at €54, the 240GB from €90 and the 480GB starting from €180. So a fair guess would be 360 Euros for the 960GB version, when available. The drives are backed by a 3-year warranty.

Samsung Unveils New Class of Solid State Drives for SMBs

Samsung have been incredibly successful with their 840 and 850 series of drives in the consumer market and the drives have been well received for their performance vs price ratio. But Samsung also makes drives for the more business oriented sector and they’ve just introduced the latest high-performance SATA solid state drives for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), the Samsung PM864 and SM863 SSDs.

The PM863 and SM863 solid state drives are the ideal solution for SMBs as they offer a much higher density in the 2.5-inch form factor which in return saves IT managers precious real estate in the data center without sacrificing power or performance.

The PM863 and SM863 deliver outstanding performance and reliability thanks to the V-NAND technology. The 3-bit MLC V-NAND-based PM863 is developed for mixed pattern applications and ideal for use in content delivery networks and streaming or Web servers. Alternatively, the write-intensive SM863 based on 2-bit MLC V-NAND is an optimal choice for online transaction processing (OLTP) and serves as an ideal choice for email and database servers.

There are plenty and great capacity choices in these two drive series. The Samsung PM863 comes in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1.9TB and 3.8TB capacities and offers sequential read speeds up to 540 MB/s and random read speeds of up to 99,000 IOPS.

The Samsung SM863 provides more options for configurable over-provisioning and is available in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, and 1.9TB capacities. It features read speeds up to 520 MB/s and write speeds up to 485 MB/s. Both drives will be available to SMBs in early August 2015 and are already available for the enterprise customers now.

The price isn’t all that bad, but it is of course a premium price over ordinary desktop drives such as the Samsung 850 series. The PM863 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1.92TB, and 3.84TB capacities have an MSRP of $124.99, $159.99, $289.99, $1099.99, and $2199.99 respectively. The SM863 drives will cost you $139.99, $179.99, $329.99, $869.99, and $1259.99 respectively for the 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB and 1.92TB drives.

Kingston Releases 960GB KC310 Business-Class SSD

Kingston released a new SSD drive with both the capacity to replace mechanical hard drives as well as the performance to meet business demands. The new KC310 SSD comes with 960GB storage capacity and utilities the quad-core Phison PS3110-S10 controller to achieve speeds up to 550MB/s reading and 520MB/s writing.

Sequential speeds aren’t everything and the eight-channel SSD controller allows this drive to perform with maximum 4K read and write scores of 99K and 89K respectively while Random 4K reads and writes still come in at impressive 96K and 88K. The drive comes packed with all the features you’d want from enterprise S.M.A.R.T. tools for reliability tracking, usage statistics, life remaining, wear leveling, and temperature as well as end-to-end data protection, trim, garbage collection and firmware-based power loss protection that enables the drive to recover from unsafe power shutdowns.

The endurance isn’t the highest we’ve seen, but it isn’t bad either with 0.66 complete drive writes per day and a total bytes written rating of 681TB. The MTBF is set to 1 million hours and the drive is backed by a three-year warranty and Kingston’s well-known technical support.

The drive is available in two options, either just the drive for $462.01 or packed with an upgrade kit for $471.26 that includes an external enclosure and all the cables and software you need to clone your old drive onto your new SSD.

Corsair Adds 480GB and 960GB Capacities to Force LS Series

Corsair expanded their Force LS solid state drive lineup with two new and larger capacities. The Force LS series is now also available as 960GB and 480GB sized models for those of you who need more space than the previous 240GB, 120GB, and 60GB models had to offer.

The Corsair LS series of drives provide consumers with a cost-effective way to upgrade their notebook or desktop PCs to faster and more reliable solid-state storage. The drives come as 7mm high 2.5-inch form factor, as most SSDs do, which makes the drive universally usable across all platforms and systems. The drives are using SATA3 technology but are backwards compatible with both SATA2 and SATA.

The Force LS series of solid state drives can deliver file transfer speeds of up to 560MB/s read and 540MB/s write. Feature-wise the drives support TRIM, garbage collection, and S.M.A.R.T commands and include built-in an advanced dynamic and static wear-leveling algorithm to extend the lifespan of the drive’s flash memory. The downloadable Corsair SSD Toolbox software allows you to keep track of everything as well as update firmware and perform secure erase of your drives.

The Force Series LS 960GB and 480GB SSDs are estimated to sell at an average price of $379.99 and $189.99 respectively. The SSDs are available immediately from Corsair’s worldwide network of authorized retailers and are backed by a three-year warranty.

OCZ Vector 180 960GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


It has been a while since OCZ first introduced us to the Vector 180 series, actually almost a year. The company wasn’t fully happy with the drive back then and decided to keep working on it until they had the best possible product to release. Now it’s finally that time and the OCZ Vector 180 drives are ready and released.

The first drive I’ll be taking a look at in the new Vector 180 series is the 960GB model, the biggest. This is the first time OCZ is releasing a client-level SATA SSD in the 1TB category, and one I’m sure will be welcomed by many users. SSD prices have dropped and these large sizes are increasingly becoming a valid option for more and more people.

The OCZ Vector 180 is built around the in-house created Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 controller and coupled with the latest generation of Toshiba A19 MLC NAND flash for great sequential speeds up to 550MB/s while reading and 510MB/s while writing while also performing up to 100k IOPS; this surely is a drive that will wake the interest of enthusiasts.

The drive is aimed at the mainstream but delivers more performance than most in this segment and it lands right in the middle between performance and features. Not only does the drive come with great speeds, it also has great endurance with an official rating of 50GB/day. Power failure management plus (PFM+) is another new feature that prevents partial data loss and corrupting in case of power failure.

There are capacitors that ensure the data at rest is safe but all user data in the DRAM buffer will still be lost in the case of sudden power loss. The capacitors ensure that all metadata is safe and that the drive will continue to operate normally after a power loss, i.e. the NAND mapping table won’t be lost, which can brick the drive or at least slow down the next boot up as the drive has to go through recovery process. While not perfect, it’s a really great feature and extra security to have and one that you mostly find in the enterprise class drives.

The Vector 180 SSD is using a total of 16 NAND chips with 8 on each side of the PCB to achieve the 960GB capacity. To ensure that the transfer rates stay up and you have a smooth operation, the Vector 180 960GB SSD has two Micron RAM chips which should be 512MB.

The drive carries OCZ’s 5-year ShieldPlus warranty where a purchase receipt isn’t required and all defective drives will be replaced with brand new units. It also comes with a bundle of accesories, including a 3.5-inch adapter and Acronis True Image disk cloning software. Other available capacities are 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB

Patriot Launched new Ignite SSDs

Patriot wants to ignite the speeds in your system with their newest solid state drive, the Patriot Ignite SSD. The new 2.5-inch 7mm drive will come in two sizes, 480GB and 960GB and features some impressive speeds. The new drive features a lot of great features such as error correction and end-to-end data protection besides the normal features such as TRIM, wear-leveling and garbage collection.

“These are some of the fastest drives that we have had in our lab,” Said Les Henry, VP of Engineering at Patriot. “As you can see we are able to advertise some of the fastest sequential speeds in the market for these capacities. We were able to hit scores above 1000 using the AS SSD benchmark test with these drives.”

Patriot Ignite utilises the new Phison S10 controller and is paired with high quality NAND memory to reach reach maximum sequential read and write speeds of up to 560MB/s and 545MB/s while boosting random figures of 80K IOPs reading and 75K IOPs writing.

 

The new Patriot Ignite SSDs come backed by a three-years warranty and will be available for purchase this month or early February. NewEgg already has the drives listed for pre-order for $199.99 and $399.99 respectively.

Specifications

  • Phison S10 Series SSD Processor paired with qualified MLC NAND flash for best performance value and reliability
  • DRAM Cache: 480GB = 512MB | 960GB = 1024MB
  • SATA3 6Gbps/SATA2 3Gbps
  • TRIM support (O/S dependent)
  • End-to-end data path protection (ETEP)
  • Advanced wear-leveling
  • Advanced Garbage Collection
  • Smart ECC: Recovery up to 115bits/2KB
  • Smart Refresh
  • Operating Temperature – 0° ~ 70°C
  • Native Command Queuing (NCQ) – Up to 32 commands
  • MTBF: 2,000,000 hours
  • 4K Aligned Random Read & Write: 80K IOPs Read | 75K IOPs Write
  • Sequential Read & Write Transfer: Up to 560MB/s Read | 545MB/s Write
  • O/S Support: Windows® XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / Mac® OS / Linux

Thanks to Patriot for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Patriot

Corsair Released Neutron XT SSDs

We could report a couple of months ago that Corsair was getting ready to launch their new line of Neutron XT SSDs, and now it finally come that time. Corsair announced the release of the new Neutron Series XT SSDs in 240GB, 480Gb and 960GB capacities.

The Neutron XT is using a Quad-core Phison SSD controller and MLC NAND. Those two make the drive able to perform sequential read speeds of 560MB/sec and sequential write speeds of 540MB/sec. SmartFlush and SmartRefresh technologies offer enterprise-level data management and retention in the event of power failure and advanced wear-leveling and garbage collection help to maintain performance over the life of the drive.

The Neutron XT is backed by a five-year warranty and should be available immediately for an MSRP of $149.99 for the 256GB, $269.99 for the 512GB, and $539.99 for the 960GB model.

Thanks to Corsair for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Corsair

Kingston Unveiled HyperX Predator PCIe SSD

Kingston has presented their new HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe 2.0 x4 Solid State Drive. The new SSD is based upon the Marvell 88SS9293 controller and comes as both a half-height half-length (HHHL) PCIe card and as bare M.2 2280 gum stick module.

The new PCIe SSD has some great figures with reading speeds up to 1.4 GB/sec, writing speeds up to 1 GB/sec, and will comes as 240 GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacity options. It also uses AHCI instead of NVM Express, making it bootable on standard desktop boards. NVMe still has some issues in this area.

The two small cards are coming February while the big one is announced for mid-2015. They will be backed by a three-year warranty and free technical support, but no word on pricing yet.

Thanks to Kingston for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Kingston

OCZ Introduces Saber 1000 Enterprise SSD

OCZ announced its new enterprise-class Saber 1000 SSD series designed for read-intensive applications and targeting high-volume deployments such as hyper-scale, web-hosting, and distributed computing environments. Where we’ve seen many recent enterprise-class SSDs come in other form factors, the Saber 1000 comes as a standard 2.5-inch SATA3 drive.

Using the A19nm NAND flash from Toshiba and OCZ’s own Barefoot 3 controller is a combination that can deliver consistent and sustained I/O performance to the drive that will be available in 240GB, 480GB and 960GB capacities.

Designed for read-intensive applications such as front-end web servers, virtual desktop management or video-on-demand streaming, and many other areas, the Saber 1000 can deliver up to 550MB/s and 470MB/s in sequential reading and writing. The random performance is rated to 98K IOPS reading and 20K writing.

The components used ensure a low power consumption and the drive is said to only drain 3.7 watts during typical usage. While speaking of power, the Saber 1000 SSD uses a technique called Power Failure Management Plus (PFM+) which holds up the circuitry long enough to ensure the integrity of the device in the event of a power failure.

The OCZ Saber 1000 SSD has an MTBF of 2 million hours and features AES-256-bit encryption and Device Activity Signal (DAS). It’s backed by a 5-year warranty and can endure 0.5 full drive writes per day (DWPD).

OCZ has also added the StoragePeak 1000 SSD Management system that enables IT managers to centrally monitor and administer connected Saber 1000 SSDs as well as other OCZ enterprise-class solutions from a web-based management interface. It is a cross-platform system and will work on both Linux and Windows systems and includes warning features as well to alert administrators of impending trouble.

Thanks to OCZ for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of OCZ

Crucial M500 960GB SSD Up For Sale?

Crucial M500 960GB, a drive which was said that to be the first terabyte-class drive under $600 price mark and which was shown off in CES, but there was no word of its launch date. Recently, Tweaktown spotted the SSD in an Australian based online retail website Upgradable.com.au for AUD 875. As per what its said, since Australian retailers always charges higher in comparison to U.S. counterparts, we may see the drive to be priced for USD600- 650.

According to the specifications mentioned on the website, it uses Micron’s MLC flash NAND and Marvell 88S9187 controller with Micron’s own custom firmware. It didn’t point out if Crucial has M500 SSD drives with lesser capacities, so most likely these will sell with 960GB unformatted capacity.

What’s more is that the marketing material claims that this will give  near instantaneous boot times, powerful data transfer speeds, increased multi-tasting capability and rock-solid reliability. Crucial made the promise that M500 will give ‘dramatic’ performance gains at an affordable price.

What’s even more interesting is the following claim made by Crucial:

Unlike other SSDs on the market, Crucial SSDs treat all files the same, regardless of whether they’re compressed or uncompressed. While many SSDs on the market achieve faster speeds by using file compression, many of the most common file types can’t be compressed, resulting in SSDs that often deliver slower speeds than advertised. This is important because the files most people use every day – videos, mp3s, advanced graphic files and zip files – are compressed files and thus unable to be compressed any further. With a Crucial SSD, the specs we advertise are the same specs you’ll see in the real world.

As far as marketing numbers go, Crucial M500 promises to give a sustained sequential read of up to 500 MB/s and sustained sequential write of up to 400 MB/s with 4KB random read and write of up to 80,000 IOPS.

Whether the benchmarks and other testing show that the marketing claims are true or not is something we’ll know when its reviewed. As of now, its only put up in one online retail website.

Source: Tweaktown