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Crucial BX100 500GB SSD Review

Crucial is aiming for those of you who have yet to take the SSD plunge. Is the BX100 ho-hum, or does it have a little magic under the hood?

@JonCoulterSSD
Published Thu, Apr 23 2015 9:05 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:59 PM CST
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Crucial

Introduction, Drive Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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VIEW GALLERY - 65 IMAGES

Crucial is targeting their BX100 SSD at those that are still using HDDs for their main storage devices. Crucial tells us right off the bat that their BX100 is not the fastest SSD on the market. While not the fastest SSD on the market, the BX100 is still fast. Crucial claims their BX100 is more than 15X faster than traditional spinning hard disks. Crucial points to reliability as another compelling reason to make the switch. Crucial claims their BX100 is at least twice as reliable as a spinning hard disk. As if that wasn't enough, Crucial points out that their BX100 delivers over 2X the energy efficiency of a traditional spinning hard disk.

Crucial emphasizes other compelling reasons to make the switch. First and most obvious is of course nearly instant booting. Nothing I can think of is more frustrating than waiting five minutes to boot to a usable desktop. Loading programs is lightning quick, as opposed to a long wait for a spinner to load up your system's RAM or virtual memory pool. The benefits of solid-state storage are well known to most of us, but still must be experienced first-hand to be fully appreciated. The SSD experience is one of those rare things in life that will make you wonder how you ever got by without it. Solid-state storage will become essential to anyone who gives it a try. In that respect, SSS (Solid State Storage) is the most important component found in a modern system today.

Crucial's BX100 is the new kid on the block in a neighborhood of entry-level SSDs. This neighborhood is populated with many low-cost solutions, that while much faster than HDDs, do not process all data at the same speed. There is a huge proliferation of entry-level SSDs that leverage compression technology for increased write speed. Crucial's BX100 is not one of them, and that is an advantage. Crucial designed the BX100 to be data agnostic. SSDs that rely on compression for write speed can write at advertised speeds, but only if the data being written is compressible. However, if the data being written is already compressed (most data is compressed), then they will suffer compression slow-down. Compression slow-down is a real issue and can cause some SSDs to write at only 35% of their advertised speed. Crucial's BX100 processes both compressed and uncompressed data at advertised speeds, giving the BX100 an inherent advantage over many competing solutions.

Crucial is looking to replace your HDD by pricing the BX100 low enough, at a high enough capacity that will make it an attractive alternative to those of you in need of a large capacity hard disk. Although Crucial's BX100 is a low-cost entry solution, it employs a premium flash array. This is important because flash is the heart and soul of any SSD. MLC flash (two-bit per cell flash) inherently provides superior reliability, speed and endurance in comparison to TLC (three-bit per cell flash). TLC flash although inherently inferior to MLC, is attractive to manufacturers because it costs much less per GB to implement, and that's the reason we see so many entry level SSDs utilizing TLC flash arrays.

Because the BX100 is priced so attractively, it really makes sense that those of you looking for a 1TB desktop SSS solution should really be thinking about RAID 0 as an alternative. For the same price as a single 1TB SSD, you can instead get two 500GB BX100 drives and have double the performance running RAID 0. SSDs like the BX100 are very reliable and although RAID 0 is inherently less reliable than a single disk due to potential disk failure, we feel that is really a thing of the past. I trust my data to an SSD array over a single HDD every time. Just as it is with a single disk, you should maintain regular backups when running RAID 0. To demonstrate the speed available from a 2-drive BX100 array, we will be charting the performance of said array alongside various SSDs.

Crucial's BX100 looks to be a great entry level SSD, so let's see it performs.

Specifications

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Crucial's BX100 SATA III SSD is available in four capacities: 120GB, 250GB, 500GB and 1TB. Sequential read performance of Crucial's BX100 is listed at 535MB/s. Sequential write speed varies by capacity, topping out at 450MB/s. Random read performance varies slightly by capacity. Random write performance is 43K at 120GB and 70K at all other capacity points.

Crucial warrantees the BX100 for three years or 72 terabytes written, (equivalent to: 40GB per day for five years), whichever comes first. The 2.5" SSD ships with a spacer should you need to increase the drives thickness to 9.5mm.

PRICING: You can find the Crucial BX100 500GB SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive - CT500BX100SSD1 for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Crucial BX100 500GB SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive - CT500BX100SSD1 retails for $179.99 at Amazon.

Australia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at PLE Computer's website.

Canada: The Crucial BX100 500GB SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive - CT500BX100SSD1 retails for CDN$209.99 at Amazon Canada.

Drive Details, Test System Setup, Array Properties

Drive Details - Crucial BX100 500GB SATA III 2.5" SSD

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Crucial packages their BX100 SATA III SSD in an attractive blue and silver flip-top box. There is a picture of the drive on the top of the box.

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The rear of the box lists the contents, as well as another picture of the drive and the included spacer.

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The complete contents of the drives retail packaging are displayed here.

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Crucial moved away from their typical reverse labeling with the BX100. The top and sides of the drives enclosure are formed from a single piece of sheet metal that interlocks with the bottom half of the enclosure. There is an attractive blue and silver sticker on the face of the top half of the drives enclosure.

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The bottom and inner sides of the drives enclosure are formed from another single piece of interlocking sheet metal. A manufacturer's sticker lists the drives capacity, shipping firmware, model number, serial number and various other relevant information.

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Cracking the enclosure open, we are presented with the bottom half of the drives PCB.

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This is the BX100 completely disassembled. There are no screws in the design. The PCB is snapped into place and the enclosure interlocks. It's a solid design with a quality feel to it.

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There are a total of (8) 64GB 16nm BGA NAND packages, (1) 512MB DDR DRAM package and a Silicon Motion SM2246EN 4-channel flash processor. 8-channel controllers power most SSDs so the BX100 is at a write performance disadvantage in that regard, but having only four channels is advantageous in that the BX100 consumes less power and is more cost effective to deploy. There is a thick square thermal pad affixed to the drives flash processor, which we removed for this photo.

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The back of the drives PCB is completely devoid of components.

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This is a close-in view of the drives Silicon Motion SM2246EN 4-channel flash processor. The chip is laser etched, but this is very difficult to see in our photo.

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This is a close-in view of one of the drives (8) 64GB 16nm flash packages.

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Finally, a close-in view of the drive's lone DRAM package. This DDR3 DRAM package is 512MB (4Gb) in density and sports a data rate of 1600 MHz.

Test System Setup

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We would like to thank the following companies: ASRock, Crucial, Intel, Corsair, RamCity, IN WIN, and Seasonic for making our test system possible.

- Drive Properties

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The majority of our testing is performed with our test drive as our boot volume. Our boot volume is 75% full for all OS Disk "C" drive testing to replicate a typical consumer OS volume implementation. We feel that most of you will be utilizing your SSD's for your boot volume and that presenting you with results from an OS volume is more relevant than presenting you with empty secondary volume results.

System settings: Cstates and Speed stepping are both disabled in our systems BIOS. Windows High Performance power plan is enabled. Windows write caching is enabled, and Windows buffer flushing is disabled. We are utilizing Windows 8.1 64-bit for all of our testing except for our MOP (Maxed-Out Performance) benchmarks where we switch to Windows Server 2008 R2 64 Bit.

SSD Toolbox

Micron Storage Executive SSD Toolbox

A couple months back, Micron introduced a nice piece of software for SSD management. This toolbox works with all Crucial SSD's from the M500 forward. Storage executive has all the necessary management features that compliment SSD ownership. With Storage Executive, you can monitor your drives health, view how much data has been written to the drive, perform a secure erase and update firmware easily.

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Storage Executive opens in your internet browser. The System Information tab gives you a brief system overview, lists your attached SATA drives, their health status, capacity, serial number and firmware status. The System Information page tells you the current temperature of your Crucial/Micron drives.

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Clicking on a drive gives you more detailed information, including the amount of data that has been written to the drive over its lifetime.

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The S.M.A.R.T. tab lists all monitored attributes of your Crucial/Micron SSD.

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The Firmware Update tab allows you to update Crucial/Micron firmware. Ours is up to date.

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If we hit the Sanitize Drive tab, we can select the Crucial/Micron drive we want to secure erase. Note: You can only SE in AHCI mode, RAID mode is not compatible at this time, and is our lone complaint about Storage executive.

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Before Storage Executive will reboot your computer and secure erase it, you have to grant permission.

Overall, Micron's Storage Executive is a very nice piece of management software. The only complaint we have is that you have to be in AHCI mode for the Sanitize Drive function to work. It would be nice if Sanitize Drive would execute in RAID mode as well.

Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO, Anvil Storage Utilities, CrystalDiskMark & AS SSD

ATTO

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.47

ATTO is a timeless benchmark used to provide manufacturers with data used for marketing storage products.

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Sequential read transfers max out at 547 MB/s. Sequential write transfers max out at 444 MB/s. Write speed is quite not hitting spec, but keep in mind that this is our boot volume and it's 75% full.

Sequential Write

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Crucial's BX100 has a lower sequential write speed rating that the rest of the drives on our chart. Our BX100 is performing exactly as advertised. This chart clearly demonstrates why we recommend a 2-drive array over a single large SSD.

Sequential Read

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Read performance is where all SM2246EN based SSDs really shine. Crucial's BX100 500GB SSD is the fastest SM2246EN based drive we've tested to date.

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1.0

Anvil's Storage Utilities is a storage benchmark designed to measure the storage performance of SSD's. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests; you can run a full test or just the read or write test, or you can run a single test, i.e. 4k QD16.

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Scoring

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Anvil's scoring gives a good indication of a drive's overall performance. Again, we have to say Crucial's BX100 is performing exactly as advertised.

Read IOPS through Queue Depth Scale

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The BX100 does not excel at random read performance; at least not to the level of the premium SSD's that populate our chart. Our 2-drive does manage to surpass the performance of those premium SSDs at QD16 to QD32.

Write IOPS through Queue Scale

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Random write performance while not stellar is still very good. Our BX100 single drive is able to best both Intel's 730 and SanDisk's Extreme Pro at QD2. Our 2-drive BX100 array delivers nearly twice the performance of a single BX100 and easily smokes the premium drives on our chart. This is why we recommend you get two smaller capacity drives and RAID them.

CrystalDiskMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

CrystalDiskMark is disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4k and 4k queue depths with accuracy.

Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at QD4.

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Crucial's BX100 has superior sequential read performance, second only to Samsung's 850 Pro. Outstanding performance with half the channels, that's what Silicon Motion's SM2246EN is all about. Take a look at our 2-drive array, its damn fast; delivering roughly twice the sequential performance of any single SSD on our chart.

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Overall, the BX100 has slightly lower write performance than the rest of the drives on our chart. This is really good performance from a 4-channel controller. Once again, we can clearly see the advantage a 2-drive array brings to the table.

AS SSD

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.7.4739.38088

AS SSD determines the performance of Solid-State Drives (SSD). The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD.

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Crucial's BX100 again delivers excellent performance for an entry-level SSD. Let's see what our workload simulation testing reveals.

Benchmarks (Trace Based OS Volume) - PCMark Vantage, PCMark 7 & PCMark 8

Light Usage Model

We are going to categorize these tests as indicative of a light workload. If you utilize your computer for light workloads like browsing the web, checking emails, light gaming, and office related tasks, then this category of results is most relevant for your needs.

PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.0.0

The reason we like PCMark Vantage is because the recorded traces are played back without system stops. What we see is the raw performance of the drive. This allows us to see a marked difference between scoring that other trace-based benchmarks do not exhibit. An example of a marked difference in scoring on the same drive would be empty vs. filled vs. steady state.

We run Vantage three ways. The first run is with the OS drive 75% full to simulate a lightly used OS volume filled with data to an amount we feel is common for most users. The second run is with the OS volume written into a "Steady State" utilizing SNIA's guidelines. Steady state testing simulates a drives performance similar to that of a drive that been subjected to consumer workloads for extensive amounts of time. The third run is a Vantage HDD test with the test drive attached as an empty, lightly used secondary device.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

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OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State

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Secondary Volume Empty - Lightly Used

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There's a big difference between an empty drive, one that's 75% full/used, and one that's in a steady state.

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The important scores to pay attention to are "OS Volume Steady State" and "OS Volume 75% full." These two categories are most important because they are indicative of typical of consumer user states. When a drive is in a steady state, it means garbage collection is running at the same time it's reading/writing. This is exactly why we focus on steady state performance.

Crucial's entry-level BX100 500GB performs better than most premium SSDs in this light workload simulation. It even manages to set a new lab record for a single empty SATA III SSD running Windows 8.1.

PCMark 7 - System Storage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4.0

We will look to Raw System Storage scoring for an evaluation because it's done without system stops and therefore allows us to see significant scoring differences between drives.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

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There is little difference between the drives on this chart with the exception of Samsung's 850 Pro. Samsung's flagship SATA III SSD outperforms the rest of the group by a large margin in this test. Our entry-level SSD so far is managing to run well against our premium SSDs.

PCMark 8 - Storage Bandwidth

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.4.304

We use PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

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PCMark 8 is the most intensive light model workload simulation we run. As the workloads intensify, Crucial's BX100 falls a little further behind, but still its performance is exceeding expectations for what it is.

Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) - Max IOPS, Disk Response & Transfer Rates

Iometer - Maximum IOPS

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1.0

We use Iometer to measure high queue depth performance.

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Our BX100 has no issues meeting and exceeding Crucial's max random IOPS spec. of 80K/70K.

Iometer - Disk Response

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1.0

We use Iometer to measure disk response times. Disk response times are measured at an industry accepted standard of 4k QD1 for both write and read. Each test is run twice for 30 seconds consecutively, with a 5-second ramp-up before each test. The test drive/array is partitioned and attached as a secondary device for this testing.

Write Response

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Read Response

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Average Disk Response

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As expected, the BX100 has slightly higher response times than the rest of our premium drives.

DiskBench - Directory Copy

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.6.2.0

We use DiskBench to time a 28.6GB block (9,882 files in 1,247 folders) of mostly incompressible random data as it's transferred from our DC P3700 PCIe NVME SSD to our test drive. We then read from a 6GB zip file that's part of our 28.6GB data block to determine the test drives read transfer rate. Our system is restarted prior to the read test to clear any cached data, ensuring an accurate test result.

Write Transfer Rate

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Read Transfer Rate

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We're pleasantly surprised to see such good transfer performance from our BX100. How can this be you ask? Micron/Crucial has a little magic sauce built into their current flash. This third-generation magic sauce is called "Native Write Acceleration" technology.

Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) - PCMark 8 Extended

Futuremark PCMark 8 Extended - Consistency Test

Heavy Usage Model

We consider PCMark 8's consistency test to be our heavy usage model test. This is the usage model most enthusiasts, heavy-duty gamers, and professionals fall into. If you do a lot of gaming, audio/video processing, rendering, or have workloads of this nature, then this test will be most relevant for you. PCMark 8 has built-in, command line executed storage testing. The PCMark 8 Consistency test measures the performance consistency and the degradation tendency of a storage system.

The Storage test workloads are repeated. Between each repetition, the storage system is bombarded with a usage that causes degraded drive performance. In the first part of the test, the cycle continues until a steady degraded level of performance has been reached. (Steady State)

In the second part, the recovery of the system is tested by allowing the system to idle and measuring the performance after 5-minute long intervals. (Internal drive maintenance: Garbage Collection (GC)) The test reports the performance level at the start, the degraded steady-state, and the recovered state, as well as the number of iterations required to reach the degraded state and the recovered state.

We feel Futuremark's Consistency Test is the best test ever devised to show the true performance of solid-state storage in a heavy usage scenario. This test takes on average 13 to 17 hours to complete, and writes somewhere between 450GB and 14,000GB of test data depending on the drive. If you want to know what an SSD's performance is going to look like after a few months or even years of heavy usage, this test will show you.

Here's a breakdown of Futuremark's Consistency Test:

Precondition phase:

1. Write to the drive sequentially through up to the reported capacity with random data.

2. Write the drive through a second time (to take care of overprovisioning).

Degradation phase:

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for 10 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 8 times, and on each pass increase the duration of random writes by 5 minutes.

Steady state phase:

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for 50 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

Recovery phase:

1. Idle for 5 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

Storage Bandwidth

PCMark 8's Consistency test provides a ton of data output that we can use to judge a drives performance.

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We consider steady state bandwidth (the blue bar) our test that carries the most weight in ranking a drive/arrays performance. Performance after Garbage Collection (GC) (the orange and red bars) is what we consider the second most important consideration when ranking a drives performance. Trace based consistency testing is where true high performing SSDs are separated from the rest of the pack.

Crucial did not design the BX100 for heavy workloads. Although respectable, the BX100 trails the rest of the field in a steady state, heavy workload scenario.

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We chart our test subject's storage bandwidth as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations. This gives us a good visual perspective of how our test subjects perform as testing progresses.

Total Access Time (Latency)

We chart the total time the disk is accessed as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations.

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Disk Busy Time

Disk Busy Time is how long the disk is busy working. We chart the total time the disk is working as reported at each of the tests 18 trace iterations.

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When latency is low, disk busy time is low as well.

Data Written

We measure the total amount of random data that our test drive/array is capable of writing during the degradation phases of the consistency test. Pre-conditioning data is not included in the total. The total combined time that degradation data is written to the drive/array is 470 minutes. This can be very telling. The better the drive/array can process a continuous stream of random data, the more data will be written.

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These results seem counterintuitive, but they are dead on accurate. Crucial's BX100 is able to outperform most of the drives on our chart by writing more random data in the same amount of time. Samsung's 3D NAND monster is brought to its knees by this test.

Maxed-Out Performance (MOP)

Maxed-Out Performance

This is where we show you what our test subjects performance looks like when powered by the fastest operating system with regard to storage ever made; Windows Server 2008. This is the exact same hardware just an OS change.

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Highest single drive PCMark Vantage score to date for any SATA based SSD to hit our bench.

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You can't get performance like this from Windows 8 or 8.1, you can get very close with Windows 7, but nothing performs as well as Server 2008 when it comes to solid state storage. 4K write performance is vastly superior on Server 2008 and Windows 7 in comparison to Windows 8, 8.1 or Server 2012.

Final Thoughts

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Crucial is aiming to replace your HDD with their BX100 SSD. If you have been on the fence, the BX100 could be just what you have been waiting for. It's cheap, it's fast, and it's reliable. If you have never used an SSD, then be prepared because it's everything you've heard and then some. Our time with Crucial's BX100 as our boot volume was even better than we expected. In fact, we would be hard pressed to notice much of a difference between it and a whole host of premium SSDs.

I imagine we will see Crucial's 500GB BX100 fall to $150 or even lower in the coming months, making it an incredible value, and the perfect avenue for you to experience life in the fast lane. If you have a computer that's a few years old, upgrading to an SSD will breathe new life into your rig. There is no CPU, DRAM, or any other upgradeable component that can do for you what an SSD can.

Let's talk for a moment about what we liked and disliked about Crucial's BX100 500GB SATA III SSD.

What we disliked: We would like to have a five-year warranty instead of a three-year warranty. We would also like bundled imaging software, although that is being a bit picky considering there are plenty of free tools available that can do the job.

What we liked: Premium components, quality build, exceptional light workload performance, superior transfer rates, and low cost of ownership.

We can recommend Crucial's 500GB BX100 without reservation. In fact, we recommend you get two BX100 drives and RAID 0 them.

PRICING: You can find the Crucial BX100 500GB SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive - CT500BX100SSD1 for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Crucial BX100 500GB SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive - CT500BX100SSD1 retails for $179.99 at Amazon.

Australia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at PLE Computer's website.

Canada: The Crucial BX100 500GB SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive - CT500BX100SSD1 retails for CDN$209.99 at Amazon Canada.

TweakTown award
Performance89%
Quality including Design and Build92%
General Features90%
Bundle and Packaging85%
Value for Money95%
Overall90%

The Bottom Line: In our opinion, Crucial's BX100 SSD is a perfect avenue for those looking to ditch their outdated spinning rust buckets (hard drives) and move into the fast lane at a good price.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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