Final Words & Conclusion
Final Words & Conclusion
I have to say I am pretty impressed in the relation of what exactly this SSD brings to the market, it screams value. Value often comes with compromises. Now honestly, I initially expected this driver to be QLC as a compromise, but it is TLC and comes with a DRAM-less buffer design, instead is uses a big SLC cache, which Microns calls Dynamic Write Acceleration. Anyhow, relatively speaking really it's great value for money.
TLC from Guru3D
Now if I'd are to purchase this SSD, I would advise buying the bigger version, the 480GB model as tested. Endurance is further limited, and as we've shown you the more cells an SSD has the longer one longevity. At 20GB writes per day each day of the year I think this model would pass 15 years of lifespan. Also, perhaps Micron is just on the conservative side. These units would make an excellent add-in SSD for your games, or even think about this one, you can fill up your NAS cheaper with QLC SSDs in the near future. That will bring you the benefit of very fast access times, performance and you remove the mechanical liability that HDDs bring with them. What about that write gap. Well, Crucial has got it covered, the huge ~32GB SLC cache will prevent you from ever noticing it. That said if you write more than 32 GB continuously, the performance drops badly towards a measured 85 MB/sec. Realistically though, how often do you move over 32 GB? And the unique occasions that it happens, would you really be bothered by that 85 MB/sec? Here again, I do need to make a note, the 32 GB SLC cache is for the 480GB unit, the 240 we think would get 16GB and the 120 GB version an 8GB cache. Personally, for this reader base, 240 GB is already too shy, as we feel that 500 GB for an SSD is the norm. The numbers show this SSD is properly fast enough to be called a proper SATA 6 SSD. Write perf will be a notch lower here and there, we doubt you'd ever notice it though.
Endurance then, Crucial guarantees this 480GB SSD for 3 years under warranty and/or a 120TB (terabytes) written (TBW) for this model. That's 65GB writes per day for 5 years continuously. Crucial is rating it as follows. Endurance in Terabytes Written are:
- 480GB (120 TBW)
- 240GB (80 TBW)
- 120GB (40 TBW)
So with our 480 model, we could, in theory, write 20 GB each day and per day for five years. Considering an avid end-user that heavily uses its SSD writes roughly 15 to 20 GB per day, you can reach even 16.4 Years .... That's storage anno 2018 lads & gents. Obviously and please do take note of this, TBW values are higher and better with larger volume sizes as there are more cells available the SSD can recuperate from. That is okay really, but not super. So, it'll remain to be a mid-range SSD in terms of endurance. But especially the larger models will last you a long time.
This SSD writes and reads serious amounts of tiny files in a fast enough fashion. You can notice a drop-off point once the caches really run out of stamina, but you will need to have written many GBs before that happens, and even then you are still looking at a "slow" 400 MB/sec. IOPS is not something you as a consumer should worry about too much unless you are doing a lot of database related work or create similar workloads on your PC, but this SSD certainly ranks high within this aspect. Trace testing - we think by far the best test in our entire benchmark suite is PCMark Vantage 64-bit. This is a trace test and can emulate what you guys do on your PC but then multiply it by a factor of 100, this test puts more focus on read performance as opposed to writing though. The outcome of the results with the Crucial BX500; sustained read/write performance, again fine. Zoom in at both IOPS and trace performance and you'll notice that the SSD can manage serious workloads without breaking so much as a drop of sweat. So whether you write lots of small files, copy MKV movies or do it all together, the SSD remains a solid performer on all fronts.
Value is what the BX500 series is all about, and it is exactly that. But is it good value? I am inclined to say yes, as the SSD is plenty fast for normal usage and even some temporary heavy workloads. The Achilles heel is a bottleneck after 32 GB writes for this 480 GB model. I ask you again, how often do you need to write 32GB continuously? Most of you would answer hardly at all or even never. As mentioned, I really thought this product would be QLC based, as all indications pointed to that. It isn't though, however, QLC will become big in 2019, not only will it make NAND way more affordable, you can make bigger SSDs as well, multi TB units in on that roadmap, and trust me when I say, QLC might be the biggest fear for the traditional HDD builders. Once we see 2, 4 or even 8 TB QLC based NAND SSDs the HDDs will get phased out, it's as simple as that. And don't think for a second that we're years away from that. You can argue the endurance of QLC SSDs, but here my advice is bigger is better. More cells = more secure. I sidetracked, sorry. Back to this TLC SSD, so the 480 GB model we tested could write 20 GB per day 365 days per year for 17 years before the NAND cells run into problems. With a retail price tag of 89 USD for the 480 GB model we now reach 18~19 cents per GB where a couple of years ago that number sat at 1 USD per GB. The new BX500 series will be great for your budget choices.
We do say this though, the Crucial MX500 series is the better product overall with a very healthy margin, and the 500GB model is precisely 10 bucks more expensive. For the difference of that 10 bucks, I am very much inclined to steer you to the MX500 as it does have an extra DRAM buffer, 5 years warranty, and extended TBW values. The Crucial BX500 series SSDs come with three years warranty. It is a fitting product in an entry level value segment. If you are aware of its restrictions, functionality, and purpose then you'll likely agree with me that we're at the dawn of a new storage era. This is a properly good value proposition.