Model: Crucial BX100 500GB Solid State Drive
Provided By: Crucial
Crucial is a global brand of Micron Technology, Inc., one of the largest memory and flash storage manufacturers in the world. The company's product lineup includes award-winning solid state drives (SSDs) and computer memory upgrades (DRAM) for more than 50,000 systems. These products have been qualified and approved by major original equipment manufacturers and every single module has been rigorously tested at the component and module level. Each SSD also undergoes over a thousand hours of prerelease validation testing and hundreds of qualification tests to ensure optimal reliability and performance.
One of the latest additions to Crucial's line of solid state drives is the BX100. Aimed at the budget-conscious consumer looking to upgrade their system to an SSD, the BX100 offers substantial yet affordable performance gains. Powered by Silicon Motion's SM2246EN controller and available with up to 1TB of Micron's 16nm 128gb NAND, the drive delivers true 535 MB/s sequential reads on both compressible and incompressible data for faster boot up speeds and shorter application load times. Also, with Crucial's Extreme Energy Efficiency technology, the BX100 is two times more energy efficient than a typical hard drive, allowing users to run their systems longer, using less power.
The BX100 is available in 120GB, 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities. For this review, Crucial sent us the 500GB version of the drive which is capable of delivering up to 535 MB/s sequential read and 450 MB/s sequential write speeds as well as up to 90,000 random read and 70,000 random write IOPS.
|Crucial BX100 500GB Solid State Drive|
Needless to say, this is only a taste of what the BX100 has to offer. To give you an idea of what to expect, we'll take a closer look at Crucial's new SSD and then see how well it performs. Does the BX100 have what it takes? Is it the best bang for your buck? Keep reading as we find out.
The BX100 comes in a small, blue box. While there aren't a lot of technical details, the front and back of the box show the drive from a few different angles and provide information like the capacity and a list of the box's contents. Inside, you'll find the SSD as well as a mounting spacer for use with traditional 9.5mm drive bays. If you're looking for an install guide or warranty information, you will need to visit Crucial's support website.
The BX100 looks very similar to Crucial's other 2.5-inch SSDs. The outer casing is made entirely out of metal and is covered by a grey, textured finish. The top of the drive also has a large, blue and gray sticker showing that it is part of Crucial's BX series.
As I mentioned earlier, the BX100 uses Silicon Motion's SM2246EN controller. The SM2246EN is powered by a 32-bit RISC CPU and supports four NAND flash channels with up to 8 Chip Selects per channel. The controller also offers support for 256-bit encryption and the TCG Opal protocol, but, for whatever reason, they are not enabled on the BX100.
For the 500GB version of the MX100, Crucial opted to use Micron's 16nm 128Gb MLC NAND flash. Looking at the picture above, you can see that there are eight 64GB NAND flash packages on top of the PCB. The drive also has a 512MB Micron DDR3 memory chip that is used for caching.
The test system used in this review was an HP 8200 Elite. The computer came equipped with an Intel Core i5-2400 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 1333MHz memory, Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3250312AS 250GB SATA 6 Gb/s hard drive, NVIDIA Quadro FX580 512MB PCIe graphics card and an Intel 82579-LM gigabit network card. For the operating system, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 8.1 Enterprise.
To test the performance of Crucial's 500GB BX100, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1, HD Tach RW 188.8.131.52, ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46, AS SSD, HD Tune Pro 5.00, Anvil's Storage Utilities and Iometer. For comparison, I've also included test results from the Samsung 850 EVO M.2, Samsung 850 EVO mSATA, AMD Radeon R7, Silicon Power Slim S80, Samsung SSD 850 EVO, OCZ ARC 100, SanDisk Ultra II, Crucial MX100, SanDisk Extreme Pro, Samsung SSD 850 PRO, Plextor PX-256M6S, Toshiba Q Series Pro, Plextor PX-256M6M, Samsung SSD 840 EVO mSATA, OCZ Vector 150, OCZ Vertex 450, Silicon Power Slim S55, Samsung SSD 840 EVO, Seagate 600 SSD, SanDisk Extreme II, Plextor PX-256M5M, OCZ Vector, Plextor PX-256M5Pro Xtreme, Samsung SSD 840 Pro and Samsung SSD 840.
As I mentioned earlier, the BX100 is based on Silicon Motion's SM2246EN controller chip. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that it performs equally well with both incompressible (0%) and compressible (100%) data.
First, I ran a few quick tests using CrystalDiskMark. This benchmark tool measures the performance of a storage device by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its random read and write speeds using blocks 512K and 4K in size.
According to Crucial, the 500GB BX100 is capable of reading at 535MB/s and writing at 450MB/s when connected to a SATA 6 Gb/s port. While the drive performed well, it came up a bit short of these numbers in CrystalDiskMark's sequential read and write speed tests.
The BX100 performed equally well when using highly compressible 0x00 (0 Fill) data. This time around, the drive was able to read at 518.0 MB/s and write at 432.6 MB/s.
HD Tach RW 184.108.40.206:
Next, I used HD Tach to test the BX100's read, write and burst speeds as well as its seek times and CPU usage.
Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the BX100 had average read and write speeds of 401.2 MB/s and 327.0 MB/s respectively, as well as a burst speed of 413.3 MB/s.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46:
I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the BX100's sequential read and write speeds. The tests are run using blocks ranging in size from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length set to 256MB.
When tested with ATTO, the BX100's read speeds topped out at about 561 MB/s and its write speeds at 465 MB/s.
AS SSD is a relatively new benchmark designed specifically for solid state drives. The application contains five synthetic tests used to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of a drive.
AS SSD also includes a copy benchmark. This test copies an ISO (two large files), program (many small files) and game (small and large files), returning the speed and duration of each.
HD Tune Pro 5.00:
Next, I ran a series of tests using HD Tune Pro. This hard disk utility measures a drive's performance by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its access time, burst rate and CPU usage. For this review, I'm also going to use it to benchmark the BX100's random read and write speeds, random access times and the number of operations per second.
The BX100 didn't do as well as I had expected when benchmarked with HD Tune. The drive had average read and write speeds of 378.9 MB/s and 311.0 MB/s, respectively, and a burst rate of 309.1 MB/s when reading.
Crucial BX100 500GB - HD Tune Random Access Read
Silicon Power S80 480GB - HD Tune Random Access Read
Crucial BX100 500GB - HD Tune Random Access Write
Silicon Power S80 480GB - HD Tune Random Access Write
The BX100 didn't disappoint when doing random reads and writes though. When reading 4KB blocks, the drive reached 16,600 IOPS and had an average speed of 64.847 MB/s. The BX100 was slightly faster when writing, reaching 17,276 IOPS with an average speed of 67.486 MB/s.
Anvil's Storage Utilities:
Anvil's Storage Utilities is another new benchmark designed with SSDs in mind. The standard storage benchmark measures a drive's performance by testing its transfer speeds, access times and IOPS.
Lastly, I ran a series of tests using Iometer. This tool can be configured to benchmark a number of things. In this case, I used it to measure the BX100's read and write speeds and the number of operations per second. The tests were run using random bytes and a queue depth of 3.
The BX100's performance was very similar to what we saw in our other tests. The drive was able to read at 512.47 MB/s and write at 439.82 MB/s.
The BX100 also performed relatively well when doing random reads and writes. In our tests, the drive was able to read at 117.88 MB/s and write at 265.95 MB/s.
According to Crucial, the 500GB BX100 is capable of 90,000 IOPS when reading and 70,000 IOPS when writing 4K blocks. In our tests, the drive reached 30,177 random read IOPS and 68,082 random write IOPS. As with most drives, the BX100 performed better at higher queue depths. With the queue depth set to 32, it reached 68,984 random read IOPS and 73,609 random write IOPS.
While SSD's offer many benefits, there are some downsides to using flash memory. One of the biggest issues people run into is performance degradation. Over time, an SSD will run out of fresh blocks and will have to write over data the file system has marked as deleted. This procedure is very complicated and can slow an SSD's write speeds considerably.
To fix this problem, most manufacturers have added TRIM support to their SSDs. The TRIM command allows an operating system, such as Windows 7, to tell an SSD which data blocks are no longer in use. Using this information, the drive pro-actively erases these blocks and adds them to the free block pool.
To test the BX100's TRIM and garbage collection functions, I first put the drive in a "dirty" state. I used Iometer to fill the entire drive and then ran a random write test for 30 minutes. This had little impact on the BX100's read speed. However, its average writing speed dropped to 246.3 MB/s.
Crucial BX100 - Dirty
To see how well the BX100 could recover, I let the computer sit for about 45 minutes and then reran the test. The drive wasn't able to reach the factory fresh performance shown in our earlier tests. However, its average write speed climbed up to 297.7 MB/s.
Crucial BX100 - After TRIM
Lastly, I used Parted Magic to perform a secure erase on the BX100. With the drive wiped clean, it had average read and write speeds of 409.1 MB/s and 304.6 MB/s, respectively.
Crucial BX100 - Secure Erased
If you're looking for the best bang for your buck, Crucial's new BX100 SSD just might be it. The drive combines Silicon Motion's SM2246EN controller with Micron's 16nm 128gb NAND to deliver a fast, responsive computing experience at an affordable price. In our sequential read and write tests, the MX100 was able to read at speeds as high as 561 MB/s and write at speeds in excess of 431 MB/s. It also did surprisingly well in our random write tests, producing more than 68,000 IOPS at low queue depths. Moreover, it performed equally well with compressible and incompressible data and was able to sustain these speeds, even after intensive use.
With its lower price tag, it shouldn't be too surprising that the BX100's feature set isn't as extensive as Crucial's other consumer-class SSDs. The drive covers the basics by offering thermal monitoring, data path protection, active garbage collection and TRIM support, but lacks support for more advanced technologies like Data Defense, RAIN and Dynamic Write Acceleration. The BX100 doesn't offer support for hardware based encryption either. This probably won't be an issue for the average consumer. However, if data security is a concern, Crucial's MX200 SSD may be a better choice.
- Available in 120GB, 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities
- Good sequential and random read and write performance
- Performs equally well with compressible and incompressible data
- SATA 6Gb/s interface
- Large DRAM cache
- Supports TRIM, SMART and active garbage collection
- DEVSLP power mode
- Ultra-slim form factor
- Includes mounting spacer for 9.5mm applications
- 3 year warranty
- Affordably priced
- Does not support hardware-based encryption
- Lower capacity drives have slower sequential write speeds