Crucial BX100 (120GB, 250GB, 500GB & 1TB) SSD Review
by Kristian Vättöon April 10, 2015 1:20 PM EST
- Posted in
- Silicon Motion
- Micron 16nm
Introduction, The Drives & The TestA Look at Storage Executive — Crucial’s SSD ToolboxPerformance ConsistencyAnandTech Storage Bench — The DestroyerAnandTech Storage Bench — HeavyAnandTech Storage Bench — LightRandom PerformanceSequential PerformanceMixed Read/Write PerformanceATTO & AS-SSDIdle Power Consumption & TRIM ValidationFinal Words
Crucial has been doing very well in the client SSD market during the past year. Crucial’s/Micron’s ability to quickly roll out the 16nm NAND node definitely paid off because the MX100 really nailed it when it came to cost and overall value. The MX100 set a new bar for mainstream SSD prices while still providing solid performance in typical client-level workloads. It gained a strong recommendation from us and has remained at the top of my «what to buy list» for nearly a year now, and honestly it has been one of the most popular mainstream SSD during its lifespan.
Back at CES Crucial introduced some fresh faces to its client SSD lineup by announcing the MX200 and BX100, which are replacing the MX100 and the aging M550. The MX200 is essentially a retail version of Micron’s M600 that was launched last year and which we already reviewed, but the BX100 is a totally new product from several angles. First off, the ‘BX’ series is new to Crucial’s lineup and denotes a budget-oriented drive, whereas the ‘MX’ brand is kept for higher performance drives. It has become a common strategy in the SSD industry to offer a mainstream drive that focuses solely on cost along with a higher performance model with better feature set for the enthusiasts and professionals. Crucial already kind of had that strategy with the M500 (later MX100) and M550, but the two lacked any real differentiation in both performance and feature set, so the BX100 and MX200 are here to fix that.
The BX100 isn’t Crucial’s first try with a low-cost drive as some of you may recall the infamous Crucial v4, which was frankly one of the worst SSDs I’ve ever reviewed. It looks like Crucial learned its lesson because we never saw a successor to the v4. Fortunately the BX100 has a lot more potential as is powered by Silicon Motion’s SM2246EN controller. Crucial/Micron worked closely with Silicon Motion to develop the firmware for the BX100, so the firmware is unique to Crucial and we won’t be seeing it in any other SM2246EN based drive. I’ve covered the technical details of the SM2246EN controller in our ADATA Premier SP610 review and our tests have shown that it’s an excellent controller for mainstream client SSDs, so on paper at least the BX100 shouldn’t end up the same way as the v4 did. Generally speaking Silicon Motion has been gaining a lot of market share lately and the new partnerships with Crucial/Micron and SanDisk has made the company become a tier-one controller manufacturer.
|Crucial BX100 Specifications|
|Controller||Silicon Motion SM2246EN|
|NAND||Micron 16nm 128Gbit MLC|
|4KB Random Read||87K IOPS||87K IOPS||90K IOPS||90K IOPS|
|4KB Random Write||43K IOPS||70K IOPS||70K IOPS||70K IOPS|
|DevSleep Power Consumption||15mW|
|Slumber Power Consumption||115mW|
|Max Power Consumption||4W|
Since Crucial’s motivation behind the BX100 is to differentiate the product lineup, the BX100 doesn’t have the hardware encryption support that we got used to with the previous drives. While the SM2246EN is capable of supporting Opal encryption, it makes sense for Crucial not to include it in the BX100 because there’s always additional validation costs that go along a feature. Besides, the MX200 has full encryption support and obviously Crucial wants to guide the buyers who need the feature towards the more expensive (and likely higher profit) MX200.
The BX100 does however have the same partial power loss protection that protects against lower page corruption during sudden power losses (I suggest you read the M600 review for the full details of Crucial’s power loss implementation). The implementation itself is a bit different from the Marvell based drives (I don’t have the details, but I suspect it has to do with the SM2246EN controller), but the design provides the same >200µs of holdup to ensure that ongoing upper page programs won’t corrupt the data in the lower page.
The BX100 is using the same Micron 16nm 128Gbit MLC NAND as the MX100 and MX200. I covered Micron’s 16nm NAND in more detail in the MX100 review, but in short it is a die shrink of the 20nm node and utilizes the same high-K dielectric cell structure which is likely the reason why Micron was able to roll out the 16nm so quickly with good yields (whereas Toshiba/SanDisk seem to be having issues with their 15nm node since it has yet to find its way into a shipping product).
|Raw NAND Capacity||128GiB||256GiB||512GiB||1024GiB|
|# of NAND Packages||4||4||8||16|
|# of Die per Package||2||4||4||4|
|Over-Provisioning||12. n capacities and I also suspect that even hundreds like 500GB are easier to market than 480GB or 512GB given that consumers are accustomed to hard drive capacities.
A Look at Storage Executive — Crucial’s SSD Toolbox
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Crucial BX100 250GB SSD Mini Review
When it comes to the world of storage, there are so many options in 2015! Do you need internal, external, or would you rather use the cloud? If you want to manage things yourself and go the internal route, are you using a PC or laptop? Do you need an SSD or HDD? It all sounds a lot more complicated than it needs to be though there is a mass of options available for you to choose from. Personally, I would recommend a healthy mix of an SSD for your Operating System and favourite programs and games, then a standard HDD for storing all your movies and music on, especially if you don’t move them around much.
Today I will be taking a look at the Crucial BX100 250GB SSD which comes with a price tag of £63.39 on Amazon UK at the time of review. The 250GB variant of the BX100 boasts a 535 MB/s Read and 370 MB/s speed which is fairly impressive. One thing to take note of, generally speaking, the bigger the size of the SSD, the faster it will be. It is a standard 2.5″ form factor and is based on a standard SATA3 6.0Gb/s connection. Coming with a 3-year warranty, it will be nice to see how well this SSD holds up, but first let’s take a closer looks at the specifications and SSD itself.
As this is an SSD, the packaging is rather small and simple! Crucial have still done a good job making it look nice as to grab any potential customers attention. On the front, we can see the size of the drive down in the bottom left, as well as the model towards the top right corner. On the back, we have a list of what is in the box, which is simply the SSD and a 7.5mm to 9.0mm spacer as well as an indication of where to go should we need help installing it.
While I didn’t have time to open up the SSD and get the proper specifications, you can guarantee Micron have used their own memory and controller in the BX100 and as such, I know the quality is top-notch. I have had previous BX100 SSD’s and never an issue with them, just due to time constraints I didn’t have time to properly inspect and photograph this one.
The driver itself is a nice silver colour with a blue sticker on the front which is reminiscent of the box. On the back side of the drive are all the model, part and serial numbers that hopefully most people will never need, but in the case of an RMA, they are there.
To test the performance, I ran a few of the more standard benchmark programs used for testing storage devices.
Unfortunately, at this time I don’t have any other SSD benchmarks to compare this to for my site though I have tested various SSD’s and can give you my full opinion on this one here today.
When it comes to performance, one thing to remember is that results may vary depending on the test system used. However, VIA all my testing, I was able to hit both the stated read and write speeds for the BX100 in at least one program. I know some people may be looking back at the write speeds thinking they are a bit slow, but it is worth remembering this is the 250GB version of the BX100. The 500GB and 1TB feature a faster 450MB/s write speeds. All in all, I was able to hit the stated speeds so there is really not too much that can be said about the standard read and write performance.
On to the design and well, it’s an SSD, there’s not a whole lot going on with it aesthetically though it does look quite nice with the blue and silver styling. As mentioned, I didn’t have time to open it up and get all the proper details to speak on it from an engineering design point. However, what I can tell you is that the drive is designed to last and it comes with an MTBF rating of 1.5 million hours, were as Crucial claim a standard hard drive only has a 0.6 million rating. It’s also worth noting that Micron is one of the largest flash based storage manufacturers in the world, which should offer a bit of a piece of mind.
Taking a quick look around Amazon UK and the Crucial BX100 is right in the middle of the price war, there are a few cheaper and a few more expensive drives out there. This is excellent as the performance offered by the other drives isn’t noticeably better and while some may come with a bit longer warranty, the 3-year warranty on the Crucial BX100 is decent. All in all, you are paying for a drive that performs well and comes with a decent warranty for just under £65.
Optical fiber transmission characteristics and protocols | Publications
Most fiber technicians are aware of the difference between multimode and singlemode fibers. But not everyone is aware of the characteristics of optical fibers and the protocols for transmitting information through them. The article provides descriptions of specific characteristics of optical fibers and Ethernet transmission protocols, which sometimes cause conflicting interpretations.
Optical fiber specifications
There is probably no fiber specialist who does not know the difference between multimode fibers and single-mode fibers. We are not going to repeat common truths in this article. Let us dwell on the specific characteristics of optical fibers, which sometimes cause conflicting interpretations.
Optical fibers allow data signals to propagate along them, provided that the light signal is introduced into the fiber at an angle that provides total internal reflection at the interface between two media of two types of glass having different refractive indices. In the center of the core is extra pure glass with a refractive index of 1.5. The core diameter ranges from 8 to 62.5 µm. The glass surrounding the core, called the optical cladding, is slightly less free of impurities and has a refractive index of 1.45. The total diameter of the core and shell is in the range from 125 to 440 microns. Polymer coatings are applied over the optical cladding to reinforce the fiber, security threads, and outer cladding.
When optical radiation is injected into a fiber, a beam of light incident on its end at an angle greater than the critical one will propagate along the interface between two media in the fiber. Every time radiation hits the interface between the core and cladding, it is reflected back into the fiber. The angle of input of optical radiation into the fiber is determined by the maximum allowable input angle, called numerical aperture or aperture fiber. If this angle is rotated along the axis of the core, a cone is formed. Any beam of optical radiation incident on the end of the fiber within this cone will be transmitted further down the fiber.
Being inside the core, optical radiation is repeatedly reflected from the interface between two transparent media with different refractive indices. If the physical dimensions of the optical fiber core are substantial, individual light rays will be injected into the fiber and subsequently reflected at different angles. Since the input of optical energy rays into the fiber was carried out at different angles, the distances they travel will also be different. As a result, they reach the receiving area of the fiber at different times. The pulsed optical signal that has passed through the fiber will be expanded compared to the one that was sent, therefore, the quality of the signal transmitted over the fiber will also deteriorate. This phenomenon is called modal dispersion (DMD).
Another effect that also causes degradation of the transmitted signal is called chromatic dispersion . Chromatic dispersion is caused by the fact that light rays of different wavelengths propagate along the optical fiber at different speeds. When transmitting a series of light pulses through an optical fiber, modal and chromatic dispersion can eventually cause the series to merge into one long pulse, causing signal bit interference and loss of transmitted data.
Another typical characteristic of optical fiber is attenuation . The glass used to make the optical fiber (OF) core is very pure, but still not perfect. As a result, light may be absorbed by the glass material in the optical fiber. Other optical signal losses in a fiber can be scatter and loss, as well as attenuation from poor optical connections. Splicing losses in fibers can be caused by misalignment of fiber cores or fiber end faces that have not been polished and cleaned properly.
Network protocols for Ethernet optical transmission
Let’s list the main protocols for Ethernet transmission over multimode and single-mode optical fibers.
10BASE-FL — 10 Mbps Ethernet over multimode fiber.
100BASE-SX — 100 Mbps Ethernet transmission over multimode fiber at 850-nm wavelength. The maximum transmission distance is up to 300 m. Longer transmission distances are possible using a single-mode optical fiber. Backwards compatible with 10BASE-FL.
100BASE-FX — 100 Mbit/s Ethernet (Fast Ethernet) transmission over multimode optical fiber at 1300-nm wavelength. The maximum transmission distance is up to 400 m for half duplex connections (with collision detection) or up to 2 km for full duplex connections. Longer distances are possible with the use of a single-mode optical fiber. Not backward compatible with 10BASE-FL protocol.
100BASE-BX — 100 Mbit/s Ethernet transmission over single mode fiber. Unlike the 100BASE-FX protocol, which uses two fibers, 100BASE-BX operates on a single fiber with WDM (Wavelength-Division Multiplexing) technology, which allows you to separate the signal wavelengths at reception and transmission. For transmission and reception, two possible wavelengths are used: 1310 and 1550 nm or 1310 and 1490 nm. Transmission distance up to 10, 20, or 40 km.
1000BASE-SX — 1 Gbit/s Ethernet (Gigabit Ethernet) transmission over multimode optical fiber at 850-nm wavelength and up to a maximum distance of 550 m, depending on the class of optical fiber used.
1000BASE-LX — 1 Gbit/s Ethernet (GigabitEthernet) transmission over multi-mode optical fiber at 1300-nm wavelength for a maximum distance of up to 550 m. The protocol is optimized for transmission over long distances (up to 10 km) over single-mode optical fiber.
1000BASE-LH — — 1 Gbit/s Ethernet transmission over single mode optical fiber up to a maximum distance of 100 km.
10GBASE-SR — 10 Gbit/s Ethernet (10 GigabitEthernet) transmission over multimode fiber at over 850-nm wavelength. The transmission distance can be 26 m or 82 m, depending on the type of optical fiber used with a core of 50 or 62. 5 microns. Support for transmission over a distance of 300 m via multimode optical fiber class OM3 and above, with a bandwidth ratio of at least 2000 MHz / km.
10GBASE-LX4 — 10 Gbit/s Ethernet transmission over multimode optical fiber at 1300-nm wavelength. Uses WDM technology for transmission over distances up to 300m over multimode fibers. Support for transmission over single-mode fiber over distances up to 10 km.
In conclusion of the article, we will give some data on the types of multimode optical fibers used and transmission standards. The data are summarized in Table 1 (excerpts from the Standards).
International Standard: ISO/IEC 11801 “GenericCablingforCustomerPremises”
International Standard: IEC 60793-2-10 “Product Specifications — Sectional Specification for Category A1 Multimode Fibers”
ANSI/TIA/EIA-492-AAAx “Detail Specification for Class 1a Graded-Index Multimode Optical Fibers”
( 1) class OM1 multimode optical fiber with 62. 5-µm or 50-µm core.
(2) class OM2 multimode optical fiber with 50-µm or 62.5-µm core.
(3) Class OM4 was ratified by IEEE in June 2010 and is the 802.ba Standard for 40G/100G Ethernet. Operates over distances up to 1000m over 1Gbps Ethernet, 550m over 10Gbps Ethernet, and 150m over 40Gbps and 100Gbps Ethernet network protocols.
(4) The international standard ISO/IEC 11801 defines the maximum attenuation value of the optical fiber. The IEC and TIA standards describe the (minimum) or average attenuation of a bare optical fiber.
Source: Evgeny Zaporoshchenko, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Chief Technical Specialist Sonet Invest LLC
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