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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]As we said before, installing the operating system at an SSD (solid state drive) instead of a hard disk drive is the best way to have a visible speed improvement on your computer, because one of the tasks that takes more time is loading programs. While 120 GiB SSDs are still the most popular due to its low cost, 240/250 GiB units are becoming more preferred.
Today, we will test the Crucial BX100 256 GiB SSD, targeted on users that are looking for an SSD with a good cost/performance ratio. The Crucial BX100 can be found in 120 GiB, 250 GiB, 500 GiB, and 1 TiB capacities.
The model we tested has 256 GiB total memory, but it is sold as 250 GiB because 6 GiB are reserved for “overprovisioning”.
Crucial, by the way, is a subsidiary of Micron, a traditional memory manufacturer. In our tests, we will compare the performance of the BX100 to the Corsair Neutron XT with similar capacity.
Before proceeding, we highly suggest that you read our “Anatomy of SSD Units” tutorial, which provides all the background information you need to know about SSDs. In the table below, we compared the tested units. Both use SATA-600 interface and the 2.5” form factor, with 7 mm height, and MLC memory chips.
|Manufacturer||Model||Model #||Nominal Capacity||Price|
|Crucial||BX100||CT250BX100SSD1||250 GiB||USD 85|
|Corsair||Neutron XT||CCSD-N240GBXT||240 GiB||USD 115|
We researched the prices on the day that we published this review. In the table below, we provide a more in-depth technical comparison between the two drives.
|Crucial BX100||Silicon Motion SM2246EN||256 MB DDR3L-1600 Micron MT41K128M16JT-125 M||4x 64 GiB Micron NW744|
|Corsair Neutron XT 240 GiB||PHISON PS3110||256 MiB DDR3-2133 Nanya NT5CB128M16FP-CG||8x 32 GiB Toshiba TH58TEG8DDKBA8C|
[nextpage title=”The Crucial BX100 250 GiB”] The Crucial BX100 250 GiB comes with a frame that can be glued on the top of the unit, to make it mechanically compatible with laptops that require a 9.5 mm drive, since the BX100 is 7.5 mm height.
The BX100 has a very light metal casing, and the bottom cover is alto metal. On this cover is the sticker with information about the unit, as you can see in Figure 2.
The unit can be opened using a small screwdriver, since its cover uses no screws. Figure 3 shows the SSD open, revealing the printed circuit board. There are no chips on the solder side, but there is room for eight flash memory chips, probably used on the versions with more capacity.
[nextpage title=”Components”] On the component side of the PCB, there are four flash memory chips, the controller, and a DDR3 memory chip that is used as a buffer. Over the controller, there is a small piece of heat conducting material, that transfers the heat generated by the chip to the case of the SSD.
The controller used by the Crucial BX100 is the Silicon Motion SM2246EN.
There is a DDR3L-1600 256 MiB memory chip from Micron itself, model MT41K128M16JT-125 M, that acts as a data buffer.
The NAND flash memory chips are also from Micron, with code NW744. Unfortunately, this chip is not listed at Micron’s website.
[nextpage title=”How We Tested”] During our testing procedures, we used the configuration listed below. The only variable component between each benchmarking session was the SSD being tested. Hardware configuration
- Processor: Core i7-5960X @ 3.5 GHz
- Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty X99 Extreme6/3.1
- Memory: 16 GiB DDR4-2400/PC4-19200, four G.Skill F4-2400C15Q-16GRR 4 GiB modules
- Boot drive: Kingston HyperX Predator 480 GiB
- Video display: Samsung U28D590D
- Power Supply: Corsair CX750
- Case: NZXT Phantom 530
- Operating System: Windows 7 Home Basic 64-bit using NTFS File System
Error Margin We adopted a 3% error margin in our tests, meaning performance differences of less than 3% can not be considered meaningful. Therefore, when the performance difference between two products is less than 3%, we consider them to have similar performance.
[nextpage title=”Compressible Data Test”] As you will have gathered from the previous page, we measured the performance of each drive using CrystalDiskMark. It is important to note that we connected the SSDs to a SATA-600 port on our motherboard rather than a SATA-300 port, which could cause performance limitations. First, we set CrystalDiskMark to “All 0x00 Fill mode” to evaluate the performance of the SSD when dealing with compressible data.
On the random read test with 512 kiB blocks, the Crucial BX100 was 31% slower than the Neutron XT.
On the random read test with 4 kiB blocks, the model from Crucial was 77% slower than the Corsair Neutron XT.
And on the random read test with 4 kiB and queue depth of 32, the Crucial BX100 was 5.6% slower than the Corsair Neutron XT.
On the other hand, on the random write test with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the BX100 was 5% faster than the Neutron XT. [nextpage title=”Incompressible Data Test”] For this test, we set CrystalDiskMark to the default mode, which uses incompressible data.
On the sequential read test, the BX100 was 5.1% slower than the Neutron XT.
On the sequential write test, the BX100 was 27% slower than the Neutron XT.
On the random read test with 512 kiB blocks the Crucial BX100 was 19% slower than the Neutron XT.
On the random read test with 4 kiB blocks, the Crucial model was 26% slower than the Corsair Neutron XT.
But on the random read test with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the Crucial BX100 had the same performance of the Corsair Neutron XT.
Also on the random write test with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, both the tested SSDs had similar performance.[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]Before analyzing the results of our tests, it is important to keep in mind that the Crucial BX100 is aimed at the entry-level market, and it is not a direct competitor to the Corsair Neutron XT, which is a performance-targeted SSD. It can be seen buy the price difference between both units. We chose this method for the review because, unfortunately, we had no direct competitor, with similar capacity, available at the lab.
Said that, we can say the Crucial BX100 250 GiB behaved as expected, presenting a high performance on the sequential read, but a little slower as the random read and write tests. One strong point of this model is that its performance is the same with compressible and incompressible data, which means its controller does not rely on data compression to achieve higher speeds.
With a good performance for its category, and a price tag smaller than the high-end models, the Crucial BX100 256 GiB SSD is a good deal.