Crucial has just announced their MX500 SSD, which succeeds the MX300 - they'll skip the MX400 nomenclature because the number "four" has a bad connotation in some Asian countries.
The MX500 uses an SMI controller instead of the controller from Marvell we've seen in all previous MX-Series drives from the company to date. This move is explained by the never-ending drive to lower prices in the SSD market; the SMI controller costs much less than the Marvell model - the challenge is in making it work quickly and efficiently.
Also added is a novel method of approaching the data write sequence, which Crucial states to completely protect data at rest (they call it "power loss immunity"). This approach also doesn't require large capacitors on the PCB anymore, which further helps with cost optimization.
For flash storage, Micron uses the company's own 64-layer 3D TLC NAND chips, which is a first for the company. While TLC chips provide cheaper cost per Gigabyte over more traditional MLC NAND, they also come with lower write performance. In order to work around that, Crucial designates a small, variably sized amount of memory as SLC cache, which writes a single bit to each TLC cell instead of three. While much faster, such a setup is basically a speed vs. size tradeoff. According to Crucial, the SLC cache is variably sized to provide the best performance.
The MX500 Series is available in capacities of 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB. At this time, only the 1 TB drive is shipping, with the other capacities coming to market very soon; M.2 form factor models will follow, too. Price-wise, the MX500 is the most affordable drive on the market, with a price of $260 for the Crucial MX500 1 TB we are reviewing today.
|Specifications: Crucial MX500 1 TB|
|Controller:||Silicon Motion SM2258|
|Flash Type:||Micron, 16 nm TLC|
|Endurance:||360 TB total bytes written|
|Form Factor||SATA 2.5"|
|Thickness:||7 mm (Ultrabook compatible)|
|Capacity||1000 GB (932 GB usable)|
24 GB additional overprovisioning
|Interface:||SATA 6 Gbps (compatible w/ 1.5 & 3 Gbps)|