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Crucial's new BX200 SSD delivers affordable TLC

Crucial's first 16nm TLC NAND Flash delivers performance at a price point that's consumer friendly in a neat 2.5-inch SSD.

Crucial's (Micron) new BX200 SSD is a high-end, consumer grade SSD without the high-end price that usually accompanies an SSD. An SSD is the best upgrade money can buy and can breathe new life into a sluggish system that's otherwise maxed out on RAM. And now your money buys more SSD than ever before. Forget about the days of $1.00 per gigabyte for a decent SSD. You can even put $0.50 per gigabyte into the annals of history. How about an SSD for $0.30 to $0.33 per gigabyte?

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That's what I heard about from the good people at Crucial today. Crucial's new lineup of BX200 SSDs are inexpensive, fast, and durable. Who says you only have to pick two of those? Not me. Not anymore.

I had the opportunity to spend 30 minutes with Crucial's Storage Marketing Manager, Jonathan Weech, who told me about the BX200 series drives.

I've come to expect quite a bit from SSD technology and Crucial always delivers. And what it delivers today is three new SSDs that not only scream speedwise, but they also scream, "Buy me."

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Sure, you can buy a 2.5-inch 1 TB HDD for around $50.00 or a 2 TB for $125.00, but can you buy a 1 TB HDD that delivers 540 MB/s sequential read, 490 MB/s sequential write, 66,000 IOPS random read, and 78,000 IOPS random write? The answer is "No, you can't." But you can buy a 1 TB (960 GB) SSD for $299.99 that doesn't toil nor does it spin.

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The BX200 series actually comes in three sizes: 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB. No more 120 GB mini disks. Who can use a 120 GB disk anyway? OK, Linux people can, but you can't if you run Windows. Trust me, I've tried that. I ran out of space in one day trying to use a 120 GB disk with Windows 8.x.

BX200 Specifications:

  • Micron® 16nm TLC NAND Flash
  • RoHS-compliant package
  • 13X faster than an HDD
  • 40X more efficient than an HDD
  • SATA 6 Gb/s interface
  • SM2256 Controller
  • Acronis True Image HD for data migration
  • Replaces the BX100 SSD
  • Hot-plug/hot-remove capable
  • Power loss protection for data-at-rest
  • Reliability - MTTF: 1.5 million device hours
  • Three-year warranty

I haven't yet reviewed this SSD, but am going to as soon as it arrives. Let me warn you that your benchmarks will vary depending on your hardware. For example, if you install one of these into a system that has a SATA 3 Gb/s interface, your numbers will be off from the benchmarks. I personally have experienced a 10- to 20-percent hit from the 3Gb/s interface. Alas, it can be more. And some SSDs won't function at all with a 3Gb/s SATA interface.

Now, you might be concerned with the disadvantages of three-layer cell (TLC) NAND as compared to enterprise multi-level cell (eMLC) or single-level cell SLC NANDs. Historically TLC, and all MLC NAND, had issues with uncorrectable bit errors (UBER) and with significantly lower write speeds. However, as you can see from the graphic above, write speeds for TLC are no longer a significant drawback at 490 MB/s sequential and 78,000 IOPS random.

As for uncorrectable bit error rates, Crucial's 16nm cell size provides <1 sector per 10^15 bits read. It is true that TLC has disadvantages, but those are offset with increased storage density, lower cost per unit (GB), and software to compensate for the higher error rates.

So, who is this BX200 drive for?

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Gamers, designers, artists, and business users who need that extra punch when loading applications or who work with some disk-intensive programs. You'll notice a significant difference in load times, especially for applications such as Photoshop or other programs that load libraries or hundreds of fonts. Those who perform movie rendering will also notice a huge improvement over the performance of spinning hard drives. Of course, boot times are shorter, OS load times are shorter, and application load times are shorter.

If you're seriously considering spending several hundred dollars to replace your laptop, try spending a lot less on an SSD to boost your performance. An SSD can make a huge difference in your computing experience. The Crucial BX200 is an excellent choice for such an upgrade.

Have you upgraded to an SSD yet? If so, tell me about your experiences.