Crucial BX500 Dramless SSD review.

Following up the impressive MX500 Crucial sent in it’s smaller sibling the BX500 for review. Unlike other reviews we have the privilege of being sent both the 480GB and 960GB versions allowing a better look at how performance scales. Furthermore the BX500 represents our first look at an SSD with no dram cache.

Our Test system and Procedure

As always we have our standard test system based on an i5-7600K. The system is running windows 10 Professional and was under no load(AV disabled) for all tests. Testing will consist our standard set of tests which we outlined previously.

The BX500

Packaging is what we’ve come to expect with Crucial. We have a retail friendly package clearly indicating the drive model and capacity. Crucial still includes it’s typical shim as well. I do find the packaging a bit lacking in that it doesn’t call attention to the lack of a dram cache something consumers might want to know without digging into the spec sheets. Unfortunately we don’t have the ability to non destructively open the BX500 thanks to the use of a plastic snapped together shell, this is disappointing but understandable in a cost optimized device.

Capacity 250GB 500GB 1TB 2TB
Controller SM2258 SM2258 SM2258 SM2258
Firmware M3CR010
NAND Micron 2nd Gen 256Gbit 3d TLC Micron 2nd Gen 256Gbit 3d TLC Micron 2nd Gen 256Gbit 3d TLC Micron 2nd Gen 256Gbit 3d TLC
Sequential Read 560 MB/s 560 MB/s 560 MB/s 560 MB/s
Sequential Write 510 MB/s 510 MB/s 510 MB/s 510 MB/s
4k Random Read 95,000 IOPS 95,000 IOPS 95,000 IOPS 95,000 IOPS
4k Random Write 90,000 IOPS 90,000 IOPS 90,000 IOPS 90,000 IOPS
Temperature range 0-70°C 0-70°C 0-70°C 0-70°C
Dimensions 7mm X 69.85mm X 100.5mm 7mm X 69.85mm X 100.5mm 7mm X 69.85mm X 100.5mm 7mm X 69.85mm X 100.5mm
Endurance 100TBW 180TBW 360TBW 700TBW
Warranty 5 years 5 years 5 years 5 years

What makes a Dramless drive different

Most mainstream and high end ssds ship with a dram cache with roughly 1MB of ram per 1Gb of data(so 1Gb of ram in at typical 1TB ssd). The applications for this are twofold, one is to buffer incoming writes from the host so that they can be written to NAND in a more sensible manner allowing the drive to reach higher levels, and more consistent performance. The other is the storage of(at least a portion of) the flash translation layer. This translates where your operating system thinks data is to where it actually is in NAND. These two locations tend to differ as ssd’s implement things like wear leveling transparently to the operating system. Without this external cache the BX500 will have to rely on a combination of a small amount of memory in it’s controller as well the nand directly instead.

SSD-Z

SSD-z is still having issues with 3d nand and newer controllers, if someone has an alternative to it(or can contact http://aezay.dk/) we’re open to suggestions. What we do see is working TRIM for this drive. Although SSD-Z isn’t reporting it we know from the spec sheets that Crucial is using the SM2258XT from Silicon Motion. The SMART caution isn’t reflected in other tools and appears to be a false positive in this instance.

ATTO 3.05