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Crucial BX200 480GB & 960GB SATA III SSD Review (Page 1)

Crucial BX200 480GB & 960GB SATA III SSD Review

Crucial jumps on the TLC flash train, but how does their new 16nm TLC flash perform when powered by Silicon Motion's 2256 controller? Let's find out.

By Jon Coulter from Dec 29, 2015 @ 12:17 CST
TweakTown Rating: 71%Manufacturer: Crucial



Crucial has a reputation for high-performance SSDs. Crucial's MX200 and BX100 are both top performers in their class. Looking to further penetrate the value segment, Crucial has launched a new line of cost-effective SSDs designated BX200. The BX200 differs from the rest of Crucial's SSD portfolio in that this is their first TLC (Triple Level Cell) flash powered SSD. Micron recently introduced their 16nm TLC flash to market and Crucial's BX200 is the first consumer SSD built on Micron 16nm TLC flash technology.

Micron's 16nm MLC flash has been wildly successful, finding its way into more value based SSDs than any other flash on the market. 16nm MLC flash has proven to be a fantastic performer despite its low cost. This is a recipe for success in the universe of solid state storage. Price wars have contributed to the mainstream adoption of SSDs, and as pricing continues to drop, the way forward is more cost effective TLC flash.

Micron has thrown their hat into the ring with the launch of the BX200. TLC flash allows manufacturers to offer larger capacity SSDs at a lower cost. On the face of it, this sounds great, but is it? Capacity is nice, and an increase is something we all want. So far the problem with non-Samsung TLC flash continues to be very poor sustained write performance. So you get more gigabytes per dollar with TLC flash, but that comes at the expense of overall performance.

To augment the typically terrible write performance of TLC flash, SSD purveyors have turned to programming a portion of the drive's flash array to operate as SLC (Single Level Cell). Implementing a pseudo SLC caching layer on a TLC based drive allows a TLC based SSD to deliver good write performance in short bursts. Of course, manufacturers of TLC based drives want to present their products in the best light possible, and as such, list TLC SSDs write performance inside the drives SLC caching layer, with the omnipresent "up to" disclaimer attached. After all, they don't want to say that their TLC SSD actually writes at speeds below that of some platter HDDs when writes occur outside the drive's caching layer. To be fair, most writes in a typical OS setting will be small enough to fall within a TLC drive's SLC caching layer, but there will be times when the inferior performance of planar TLC flash will disappoint.

When looking at TLC vs. MLC and whether or not TLC makes sense for you, there is only one factor to consider - pricing. Recently we have had a wave of poor performing TLC-based SSDs come across our bench, and not only has the performance of these drives been lousy, pricing has been nearly that of MLC-based SSDs. To date, we've seen no compelling reason to go with a TLC based SSD over MLC with the lone exception of the 850 EVO. We believe the highest price that makes sense for a planar TLC based SSD would be about 66% the cost of the lowest priced MLC SSD to adequately compensate for inferior performance. Up to this point, the pricing of planar TLC SSDs has been way too high for our liking when you factor in performance. Why would you not go with MLC flash for just a few more dollars?

Will the BX200 be able to join the 850 EVO as a viable alternative to MLC-based SSDs? Let's take a look.

The BX200 480 and 960GB SATA III SSDs ship with a plastic spacer and downloadable cloning software, making the transition from an HDD to an SSD easy for first timers. Crucial's BX200 480GB SATA III 2.5" SSD is currently retailing for $129.99 at Amazon. Crucial's BX200 960GB SATA III 2.5" SSD is currently retailing for $299.99 at Amazon.

Specifications: Crucial BX200 480GB & 960GB SATA III SSD


Specifications for the 480GB BX200 are identical to the 960GB model. The BX200 SATA III 2.5" x 7mm FF SSD is available in three capacities: 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB. Performance for both larger capacities is listed at 540 MB/s sequential read and 490 MB/s sequential write. Random performance is not given. Crucial backs the BX200 with an industry standard three-year warranty. No TBW is given, but one is implied.

PRICING: You can find the Crucial BX200 480GB SATA III SSD for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:

United States: The Crucial BX200 480GB SATA III SSD retails for $130 at Amazon.

United Kingdom: The Crucial BX200 480GB SATA III SSD retails for £100 at Amazon UK.

Canada: The Crucial BX200 480GB SATA III SSD retails for $175 CAD at Amazon Canada.

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