Published on Wednesday, 20 April 2016 19:28
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It's no secret that although SSD (solid state drive) prices have dived significantly this past year they are still nowhere close to competing with the price/capacity ratio offered by regular mechanical drives today. To that end as time goes by we expect even more (if not all) manufacturers to turn towards lower-cost (yet almost as durable) hardware components for their entry-level SSDs in order to offer a more tempting solution for consumers looking to get their hands on the next best thing in terms of performance compared to regular mechanical drives (TLC NAND was a good start with 3D NAND next on the table). Thanks to Silicon Motion and their SM2256A NAND flash controller several manufacturers begun to take their first steps towards the completion of that goal in late 2015 and today we're going to take a thorough look at yet another budget oriented SSD using that particular solution the BX200 960GB by Crucial.
Crucial.com is a leading online retailer specializing in computer memory (RAM) and solid state drives (SSD), and is operated by a subsidiary of Micron Technology, Inc., one of the world's leading manufacturers of computer memory products. Crucial.com offers more than 250,000 compatible products for nearly every computer system: home and business, old and new, PC and Mac® computers. Utilizing a suite of easy-to-use, free online tools, including the Crucial® System Scanner and the Crucial Memory Advisor™ tool, crucial.com makes it easy to find a compatible upgrade to improve computer performance and restore system reliability.
The BX200 line of SSDs is not only the successor to the quite successful BX100 line we had the chance to test over a year ago but it also happens to be the first model by Crucial/Micron to use their very own 128Gb 16nm TLC NAND flash (3D TLC should be right around the corner however). Now we've already mentioned in other reviews that TLC (Triple Level Cell) can't compete with MLC and SLC NAND flash in anything other than price (meaning performance and endurance) but thanks to the use of a "virtual" SLC caching layer (a small amount of TLC acts as SLC) and advanced error correction offered by controllers like the SM2256A by Silicon Motion that's not something casual consumers should fear (besides Crucial provides an MTTF of 1.5 million hours with a TBW of 72GB). Once again the SM2256A NAND controller used here includes a single 32-bit Argonaut RISC processor core which in turn features their NANDXtend ECC technology (LDPC & RAID5-like data recovery) and fully supports DevSleep (power save feature), TRIM (garbage collection), SATA v3.1, AES-256bit hardware encryption and TCG Opal 2.0. So the time has come for us to check and see what Crucial brings to the table with their very first TLC based SSD.