512GB Class Performance Testing
There are very few entry-level SSDs from providers known for tier 1 quality. If you go to Amazon, you will find several very low-cost SSDs from no-name companies. We tested the Inland Professional SATA III a few months back but only because it was in the top five selling SSDs on Amazon and the drives come from a reputable store, Microcenter.
We have four DRAMless SSDs in our 512GB class charts today. The BX500 goes against the HP S700 and Mushkin Source with all three using the same controller. The BX500 is the only model with 64L TLC. The other two utilize older 32L TLC. The Inland Professional SATA III uses newer 64L memory from Toshiba, but the memory uses Phison's S11 DRAMless controller.
We wanted to fit the previous generation BX SSD in the comparison group, but that's not BX400. Crucial skipped fours in both the MX and BX series. We had to grab the BX300 with the SMI SM2258 with DRAM hanging off the controller and 32L MLC flash. The entry-level market has come a long way since August 2017.
The Plextor M8V also uses the SMI SM2258 controller but utilizes Toshiba 64L TLC memory.
Sequential Read Performance
Entry-level SSD performance never looked so good. The BX500 hides under the results from other drives using the same controller. Flash is so fast, even the previous generation, that SATA sequential reads are capped by the interface and communication protocol. The BX500 is at the top of the queue depth 2 list, but only with a slight lead over the other drives.
Sequential Write Performance
The 480GB BX500 doesn't seem to have an issue with sequential write bursts, either. Again we see most of the drives clustered together with the Plextor M8V as the only standout. Plextor has yet to bring this model to the US market, so it's not a drive can you easily order at Amazon or Newegg.
Sustained Sequential Write Performance
Crucial didn't design the BX500 for transferring large movie files, music collections, or similar activities. This is a drive for casual computer users, what I call a FaceTwit or someone that doesn't process data, they just consume it through the web.
That said, the low price means more users will take a serious look at this series. The sustained write speed after the SLC buffer is much lower than we thought it would be. Getting outside of the SLC buffer while transferring sequential data (movies, music, and large block size data) rewards you with a 100 MB/s file transfer. This is lower than the other drives in the charts, even those with the same controller and previous generation memory.
Random Read Performance
We were optimistic for the BX500. It uses the same memory as the MX500 and other drives with blisteringly quick random read performance. 64L memory from Micron has proven to be the best for 2017 when it comes to low read latencies. The BX500 doesn't reach 10,000 IOPS at QD1 and we're disappointed that it doesn't. The drive does get very close to 8,000 IOPS at QD1 and that is significantly more than any hard disk drive can achieve, even hybrid drives that pair flash and disk technologies.
Random Write Performance
The random write performance is much higher than you might expect from a DRAMless SSD. The BX500 uses a large SLC buffer so you shouldn't even see performance loss under typical consumer-level workloads.
70% Read Sequential Performance
The BX500 also performs well with mixed sequential workloads. There isn't a large performance increase as we ramp up the workload through queue depth, but 400 MB/s is a strong result for any SATA SSD.
70% Read Random Performance
Mixed read / write random data is the most difficult task for DRAMless architectures. Here we see the main difference between the previous generation BX and the latest model that moved to TLC that has to stand on its own without a DRAM buffer for the table map data.
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