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Crucial BX200 SSD Review (480GB/960GB)

Crucial has always been quite aggressive with their value driven strategy in the SSD market and it has resulted in success for many of their products. This has led to their most recent product launches of the MX200 and the introduction of a new entry-level product line earlier this year with the BX100. The BX100 was set out to be a revised step into this market. After initial failure with the Crucial V4 line, they knew they had to improve big time if they were going to try again. This time around, it was a success. By contracting with Silicon Motion, Crucial was able to release a reliable and great performing entry-level product.

Nearly a year later, things are getting tougher and there is still much more market potential. Even though SSDs are getting much cheaper, many still haven’t switched over to even entry-level SSDs due to their cost/GB ratio compared to HDDs. As you may have noticed, companies seeing this issue are working hard on entry-level products in order to get everyone up to speed as soon as possible, including Crucial. So, through the use of Silicon Motion’s latest controller, the SM2256, and 16nm Micron TLC NAND, today we see their latest response to the market, the Crucial BX200.

Crucial BX200 Main

The BX200 sounds strikingly similar to that of the 240GB ADATA SP550 we recently reviewed, which utilizes the same controller, but instead of Micron’s TLC, SK Hynix’s TLC. To an avid reader here, this may come to you as a disappointment however. To others, we will explain why. In the SP550’s case, continuous write performance was not impressive past a few GBs. Beyond the small SLC buffer, speeds have dropped down to below 100MB/s in sequential performance, even as far as just 48MB/s. Similarly, many other TLC based SSDs face the same issue. Once a workload runs past a few GB we start to see TLC’s major flaws in the result of much lower performance. Therefore, today’s analysis of the BX200 is going to be interesting, especially once we throw some real world file transfers at it. Will the Crucial’s first TLC SSD have what it takes to stand out from the entry-level competition like the BX100 once did or will it just be another cheap, low performance option among the rising many in this TLC SSD category? Continue on and let’s find out!

SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING, AND AVAILABILITY

The BX200 is a SATA 6Gb/s 2.5″ 7mm form factor SSD. If you need anything in a M.2 or MSATA form factor, look elsewhere. Also, Crucial has decided to drop the 120GB capacity option, the BX200 is only available in capacities of 240GB ($84.99), 480GB ($149.99), and 960GB ($299.99). The BX200’s read performance is rated for up to 540MB/s while write performance is rated for up to 490MB/s thanks to SLC Write Acceleration. Random IOPS are rated for up to 66K/78K read/write. In terms of endurance it is rated for up to 72TBW with a 3 year warranty. There is also power loss protection for data-at-rest, thermal monitoring, and DevSleep support.

Crucial Storage Executive 3.24

Also included is access to Crucial’s SSD toolbox, Crucial Storage Executive. It gives you information about your drive, options to update the firmware, Secure erase, enable Momentum Cache, and newly added with this revision (3.24) you even manually adjust over provisioning within the software to help improve performance and endurance.

PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS

The BX200’s packaging is similar to their previous iterations. There is a picture of the drive on the front with the capacity located in the bottom right via a sticker and on the backside there is a list of what is included.

Crucial BX200 Packaging Crucial BX200 Front & Back

Looking at the drive itself, it looks identical to the BX100. It has a matte silver finish and the model information such as serial number, storage size, firmware revision, etc., are on the back.

Crucial BX200 Accessories Crucial BX200 Dissassembled

Inside we can see the drive is packaged in an anti-static bag and comes with two accessories. One being a 7mm to 9mm spacer and the other, a free copy of Acronis True Image HD for cloning over your existing OS drive if need be.

Disassembling the drives we can see that Crucial has used a clamp closed case in order to keep costs lower by not needing screws during assembly. Also, unlike some other SSDs we have tested, Crucial does include a thermal pad to help dissipate controller heat in to the drive casing.

A CLOSER LOOK INSIDE

Overall, the SSD’s design is fairly standard. There are a single SSD controller, places for up to 2 DRAM packages and up to 16 NAND packages on the full sized PCB. As you can see below, the 480GB model on the left utilizes a single DRAM package and 8 NAND packages while the 960GB model on the right doubles those.

Crucial BX200 PCB Front Crucial BX200 PCB Back

Again, the controller used in this drive is the Silicon Motion 2256. We did a dedicated engineering preview of the controller back in February, so if you are interested in learning more, please go take a look here. This controller is a bit more advanced as it has low-density parity checking (LDPC) error correction code, which is what you usually end up needing when using TLC.

Crucial BX200 Controller, NAND & DRAMAbove and to the right side of the image we can see the 16nm Micron TLC NAND packages. Each package is 64GiB in capacity. Once formatted the 480GB model 447GB usable space and the 960GB model has 894GB. Finally, along with the Micron NAND, Crucial is also utilizing Micron LPDDR3 DRAM. Each package is 512MB in capacity and thus the 480GB has a 512MB cache and the 960GB model has a 1GB cache.

  • HERETIC

    Definitely a race to the bottom as far as performance is concerned.

    Would have been nice to have BX100 and perhaps Sandisk Ultra 2
    in the charts for comparison…………

    Any chance of a review on Sandisk Plus-Has been in the shops for
    months as a budget drive-Can’t even find what flash or controller.
    Thanks

    • Mike

      How about Intel 535, Patriot Blast, Toshiba Q300. These all seem more interesting.

      • HERETIC

        My comment on the Sandisk Ultra2 was a TLC comparison and BX100 was
        to compare it’s replacement…………………..

        As much as I like Intel’s reliability I could not for the life of me buy a Sandforce-2281 drive..The 535 probably much the same as 530………..
        Patriot’s low end drives-Blaze and Blast-Much like the BX200 are best
        forgotten……………
        The Q300 I know absolutely nothing about.
        But if this review is accurate it’s another contender for the bottom of the pile-
        http://www.digitaltrends.com/hard-drive-reviews/toshiba-q300-hdts748xzsta-review/

      • I agree, the only good option in that list would be the Intel 535, but you are really just paying a markup for the name imo. You can get a Samsung 850 EVO for much cheaper though.

      • Benjamin Hojnik

        The sad part is, that it’s not even an intel drive. It uses SKhynix flash, sandforce controller. SO really just an intel badge.

      • motix

        All other TLC drives behaves similar. OCZ Trion 480GB TLC based model drops to ~100MB/s sustained writes after cca 10 sec (see: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ocz-trion-100-series-ssd,4202.html ). Patriot Blast 120GB drops even lower (~50MB/s) and ADATA SP550 around 60MB/s after 5-10sec (see: http://www.overclockers.ru/lab/71280_3/obzor-i-testirovanie-ssd-120-gbajt-adata-premier-sp550-i-patriot-blast-blesk-i-nischeta-bjudzhetnyh-ssd-2015-goda.html – Russian site, but the pictures don’t need translation). For TLC drives CrystalDiskMark should use larger data pattern. Usually all tests use “only” 1GB, maybe with using 20GB we could get better feedback how drives behaves. I think the main problem with TLC drives is the price. For price difference less that 5$ you can get better MLC drive (BX100 vs Bx200, OCZ Trion vs OCZ ARC, Patriot Blast vs Patriot Ignite, Adata SP550 vs Adata SP600, … ). I think that most users would be satisfied if TLC drive could sustain the high speed write for at least 10% of storage, together with some reasonable price they will be a good choice.

    • I was looking for my Ultra II sample, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I will try to get the BX100 in there for comparison soon, it is just in another system at the moment and I didn’t have time to clone over to a different drive yet.

    • Benjamin Hojnik

      I got a chance to test Sandisk SSD plus; it performed quite nicely for a budget drive.

      http://shrani.si/f/1M/1S/28Z59AfY/sandisk.png
      http://shrani.si/f/18/wb/4jASgoRG/as-ssd-bench-sandisk-sds.png

      I’m gonna guess this uses Marvell controller and some type of MLC flash.

      • HERETIC

        THANKS
        Looks respectable on those no’s.
        Through I always hate to see the saw-tooth………………………

      • Benjamin Hojnik

        Yeah, its pretty good performance for a drive, that retails for 74€ as of right now (was as low as 68€ at some point).

        And it’s not crappy TLC flash, so there’s that also.

  • Benjamin Hojnik

    Looks like we have another V4 on our hands. Unless this comes down to 50€/240GB, this makes no sense, as there are better options out there.

    I wonder why crucial didn’t opt for adaptive SLC caching thingy like they did on the MX200…

    This would surly help with performance. But i guess they just grab reference SM firmware and tweak it a bit for their flash.

    Another thing i wonder… How is endurance on 16nm TLC..

    • Well, it is rated for 72TB endurance. So we can at least bank on it lasting that long.

      • Benjamin Hojnik

        So roughly 300 p/e…

  • Mike

    If bx200 480gb file transfer speed is 92mbs how slow is 240gb 46mbs?

    • Benjamin Hojnik

      Maybe there is a reason, why reviewers didnt get the 240G version 🙂

  • Mike

    Back To The Future. Maybe the top engineers at Crucial are just trying to teach the rest of the ssd industry how to make the next generation sata 3 ssds backwards compatible with sata 1? Its almost 2016, who needs sata 3 file transfer speeds anyway? Not the average Joe apparently.

    • Dan

      Yet contrasted with the reviews from other sites the conclusion here, as usual, seems to be that the glass is half full and borders on comedic at this point.

      • Like shown in our testing, this drive performs fine for light workloads. Light workloads are typical of consumer usage. This SSD is placed as an entry-level HDD replacement for HDDs for consumers who have HDDs. For those who need a HDD replacement, something like this would be fine, however, at the current prices for these entry-level SSDs it does not make them a competitive or worthwhile option compared to the many SSDs out there today. I remember back when the Crucial M4 was the big rage. I had a 64GB model and it suited me fine for years, it still does and it only writes at ~90MB/s completely. For the most part the seq. write speed did not matter, it wasn’t until I had multiple faster SSDs that I appreciated the higher write speed, but it really wasn’t and still isn’t really needed for day to day use. For the OS, something like this is fine, especially for the many who are on HDDs. And remember, seq read speeds are still over 500MB/s, random 4K speeds are very respectable, and access times are good as well…it is still a flash storage device after all. Again, at the current prices, however, it is best to look elsewhere. IMO, these SSDs really need to be more price competitive and if you are an enthusiast such as us, these aren’t even an option to consider. That is why there is competition and multiple options on the market… So, we can just ignore these entry-level SSDs and look to better performing mainstream and high-end SSDs for us.

      • Benjamin Hojnik

        Or Crucial should just up the game and release a tweak firmware for the drive, that uses their dynamic SLC caching (found in mx200).

        I bet this would help greatly with write speeds.

      • I think that would be a good idea too. That could change things dramatically for this drive and differentiate it much more over other options.

      • Mike

        Maybe Crucial/Micron, Toshiba, SK Hynix, should just stick with MLC and toggle, there the best at that and let Samsung and only Samsung make TLC drives. Why try to make Michael Jordan Tom Brady or Tom Brady Michael Jordan. There both the best but in different sports. Forget TLC Why make drives slower just to keep up with Samsung do your own thing stick with MLC.

      • Benjamin Hojnik

        They should atleast wait for 3D to be ready and then come out with TLC drives.

        But 16nm and TLC was a mistake. There is reason why sammy didn’t want to go with TLC on their 16nm node.

      • Mike

        And probably why Intel didn’t partner/venture with Micron on the 16nm. They stopped at 20nm and use SK Hynix for the 16nm.

      • Mike

        Good points but. Why buy a 240gb entry level tlc ssd drive for $84.99, when you can buy a 1tb hdd for $49.99 and the sequential write speeds are higher. And after the startup and initial opening of programs windows caches everything anyways so the next time you click on programs it’s going to be fast. The Ocz ark 240gb with mlc is $64.99 on Newegg, way better deal. If tlc is bringing the prices down it should be lower than mlc right.

      • I don’t agree with you on the HDD. Whenever I have to work on a system with a HDD it is such an annoyance for me. (I work as a part time PC tech in my area). I have been converting clients to SSDs for years now and every time I have to work on their systems it speeds up my work significantly and they love their now much faster system. Again, seq. write speed does not matter as much as you are giving it credit for. Most of what consumers use their drives for, random speeds and access times matter much more. If you need faster sequential performance, then go get a faster writing drive. If you need higher capacity, get a cheap HDD. For plain storage they still work great. If you need both, find better SSD options than this type…there are plenty out there. It is simple as that.

        I agree 100% on your mention of buying something like an ARC 100 instead for cheaper. It is a much better performing drive, especially if you need faster seq write speeds for your usage. These lower performance SSDs need to be priced much lower in order to be competitive options. There is no point in buying these entry-level TLC SSDs when there are better performing options for similar or even cheaper prices.

      • Mike

        You guys know more about ssds than I do. but here’s the thing I have 3 ssds in my laptop and I don’t like bottlenecks so if 1 ssds write speed is 90mbs it will slow down all my large file transfers and routine backups. I just can’t seem to accept these new >500mbs read and 90mbs write ssds, it’s such a mismatch. especially when my older ssds are able to get >500mbs read >300mbs write. And when I use cache software my benchmarks are off the charts >5000mbs read >5000mbs write.

      • Yes, I understand that, but look at your usage. You are not the target consumer for these low performance SSDs! Therefore, you shouldn’t even be caring about how these perform. You are an enthusiast, not the average Joe!

      • Mike

        I don’t want to irritate you guys but. I don’t think average Joes buy ssds it’s the enthusiast. Many people don’t even know what an ssd is, And enthusiasts don’t want something slower than 5 years ago.

      • Not irritating us at all but sales and statistics remain the same; enthusiast sales are only a fraction of the overall picture. Over the past few years, I have installed over a hundred SSDs in PCs of people in my community and very few were anything more than typical PC users that wanted a PC that would start faster and be quicker…

      • Mike

        Mr Les You are the fore most enthusiast and if you installed hundreds of ssds they were on your recommendation. So basically it was an enthusiast sale. If I recommend an ssd being an enthusiast,its going to be what I think is the best if the price is right. I’m not going to recommend some tlc drive to a friend/familly/client. So when all the enthusiasts recommend drives to there friends/relatives average Joes its really an enthusiast sale. Every ssd you installed is a enthusiast sale. If I don’t Tell my friends/family the benefits of an ssd, they wont even think about it, its the enthusiasts that count.

      • Regardless of throughput, SSDs and HDDs cannot be compared simply because of the disk access times that is so vastly different and makes SSDs what they are. Many people will never even feel out the read and write speeds as their typical activities are reliant on nothing more than the disk access times that give SSD empowered systems that massive boost. Think back for just a bit….starting a HDD computer…forever…starting a SSD computer…15 seconds.

      • Mike

        This drive is the successor to the BX100 and it advertises faster read write speeds so one would think its a better drive wright. What’s not advertised is that its a tlc drive and it is actually slower than the BX100. if you look at Newegg and Crucial the site does not even mention tlc nand. Other manufacturers are up front with there tlc drives, Ocz trion, ADATA Premier SP550, Toshiba Q300. This doesn’t seem wright.

  • Cicero_68

    Screen shot with AS SSD copy-benchmark for 480 GB model shows results for “Samsung SSD 850″…

    • Ooops, thanks for that catch. I updated it with the proper screenshot!

  • Scour

    This SSD is an insult for SSD-Fans like me..

    After the SLC-Cache is full the 480GB-BX200 have a write speed of 75MB/s which is absolute awful. I´m not a fan of TLC all the time but this is crap. My good old 128GB M4 reaches ca. 190MB/s from start til end. I Have also a M500 and used some Crucials for PCs and Notebooks of colleagues and friends, but this could be over now.

    I don´t see any ense to offer bigger capacities all the time and decrease the speed to the bottom.

    • Mike

      I agree with you there, making sata ssds slower and calling them budget, entry level, just to save a few pennies or to have different tier products makes no sense to me. That’s why Samsung seems like there winning because even though they use TLC there drives get faster and faster not slower. It seems like the Phison controller ssds are the only ssds trying to compete with Samsung but they don’t seem to get the recognition that they should. There benchmarks are at the top, but why are they not recommended that much? And maybe barefoot 3.

      • Scour

        There are many SSDs available with different controllers like Marvell, SMI, Phison, Indilinx with using MLC. But Samsung have many fanboys, using “marketing strategies” with many dollars to win reviews. And they can do it like Aplle: Pay less for produciing, getting much from consumers.

        The first TLC-drives from Samsung were slower than the 830, but actually it maybe depends on the 3D-NAND, the 850 Evo have a similar level like MLC-drives

      • Just to clarify…the mighty dollar has nothing to do with review outcome regardless. The SSD Review community, in fact, is very tight and there are very few SSD reviewers; we all know one another. As much as we are friends, business is also competition and none would be too shy on calling the other out publicly if they floated a review based on anything but their own results and opinion. Reviews must be independent and impartial.

      • Scour

        I don´t meant this page, you understand it wrong.

        But I know some big magazines who aren´t afraid of the dollars some brands pay for big commercials in the magazine…and they say “Thank you” with good testresults

    • dave777

      I disagree. Have a 480gb BX200 in this HP Pavilion g7 laptop for weeks, its 4 years old and was slow like molasses in winter. Now, its like a new machine faster than light compared to newer models without SSD. Windows 10 installed so fast from USB that I was not sure if it worked, and it did. Put the old spindle drive in a cheap enclosure for backup storage.

      Excellent upgrade for older PCs and Laptops, as we might even have a SATA II interface and no need to pay more for what the system cannot use. Going to upgrade the other laptop with the same as its the best upgrade for them.

      • Scour

        Is it your 1st SSD?

        I think you don´t get my point. For sure, every SSD, even the old Intel X-25 beats every fast HDD in everyday-use.

        But if I buy a SSD with capacity of 480GB and more I don´t use it only for Windows and some litte programs, I use it for videocut with large files, I copy recordings from external SSDs from my 3 STBs, 60GB and more in a row,

        And that means after copied some GB the BX200 is slower than my 5400rpm-HDDs in my Desktop. 75MB/s ist extremly slow, Sandisk cheap Ultra II stays at over 200MB/s

      • dave777

        I am not getting your issue, but I setup the system to trim, cache and storage executive including the longevity option. I put a 480gb in one, put 240gb on another last night. Speed is great. These laptops are older, running Window 10. No need to spend a lot more. Getting 95% of the benefit for 60% of the price. No need to buy Pratt and whittney for a VW. While I am new to SSD, I was doing solid state storage on embedded systems when 16mb was considered large. A 70s electronics electronics graduate. I used to use VMware, now use VirtualBox for other OSes to avoid partition nonsense. Sandisk is not cheap here. Run Windows optimize to trim your drive. Speed issues are from a bad config.

      • Scour

        Ähm, how can a speed of 75MB/s great for a SSD?

        I dunno the prices where you live but the 480GB BX200 costs ca. 130€ here. You can get for almost the same price a Sandisk Ultra II, Sandisk Plus, a 512GB Mushkin Reactor, a Toshiba Q300. All but the Toshiba hold the write speed over 200MB/s which is over 2,5x faster than the BX200

        TRIM won´t help if you write lots of large files to the drive, tgis is not a config issue but a problem of the BX200.

        Maybe nobody can feel it if he only run windows and copy less than 10GB in a row, but I repeat: I use SSDs for videocut and copy 60-80GB in a row from USB3-SSDs which allow speed over 200MB/s, the BX200 will it slow down to 75MB/s

      • dave777

        60-80gb of video a day is far from a typical user. Again, these are older laptops, not top end. No need to buy a Samsung Pro 2T at $2000 for a $500 5+ year old laptop. But agree, if I was moving 60-80gb of video a day, and very few users do, I would be using a workstation and not a consumer or business PC.

        BX200 is quite suitable in price and performance for consumer laptops. One is a 4gb i3 sata II. Could not even use the speed of drives costing more. But was impressed, was getting a lot better than 75gb same disk copy with the i5 that has sata III. I used a mix of 50gb of ISO and video files.

        Sort of like one size shoe does not fit all. Same goes for ssd. And reviews I read, cannot say Q300 is worth the premium, I would choose Samsung 2Tb if money was no object.

      • Scour

        Well, I wrote about the prices here in my country and I would prefer still all other SSDs because the slowest, OCZ TRion, is ca. twice as fast as the BX200, the cheaper Sandisk have the triple write speed of BX200.

        I don´t move everyday 60-80GB, but every 2 weeks I move about 200-300GB (3 external SSDs with recordings from 3 DVBs) in a row. I fon´t need a Pro-SSD that have a stable write speed of 450MB/s because my external SSDs with ext3-filesystem and USB3.0 only deliver a speed of 160MB/s – 220MB/s, but it´s nice to use a SSD that don´t slow my external (cheap Sandisk SSDs) drives 🙂

        Maybe the BX200 is OK for using in Notebooks those only used for internet and some streaming, but in all other profiles I still don´t know why I should spend more money for the BX200 as for faster SSDs from some competitors

        That´s all I can say atm, except the BX200 gets cheaper in near future.

        BTW, Mushkin offered a new SSD with 512GB and MLC for only 5€ more than a 480GB BX200

  • Ettore

    Hi,
    I would like to know how I can open this SSD (BX200) in order to let it fit inside my laptop. I would remove the metal chassis.

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