Crucial BX500 SSD Review: The DRAMless Invasion Continues (Updated)

Conclusion

Crucial 960GB BX500 Conclusion

With the recent availability of Micron’s 96-Layer TLC flash, Crucial has taken this opportunity to add in a 960GB model to the BX500 SSD series. But, while the company could have stopped there, it didn’t. In addition to the new flash, Crucial added a newer SM2259XT controller.

In the past, manufacturers have swapped out vital components on low-end SSD product lines, resulting in embarrassing backlash from customers when they found their performance figures varied, for the worse, from initial reviews. We don't see quite the same situation with this updated SSD, but it is rather close.

While Crucial's transition to the new 96-Layer flash and improved controller are welcome, it doesn’t drastically change performance for the better. Looking through both the 480GB and 960GB results, we see a slight decrease in performance in some situations, like sustained write performance. The BX500 averaged 85 MB/s of sustained write speed after the SLC cache filled, so we see the decreased performance in our 50GB copy transfer test. Power efficiency suffers as a result.

ProductCapacity (GB)PricePrice Per GBTBWPrice Per TBWWarranty
Crucial BX500960$124.39 $0.13 240$0.52 3
Crucial MX5001000$134.99 $0.13 360$0.37 5
Samsung 860 EVO1000$147.99 $0.15 600$0.25 5
Samsung 860 QVO1000$107.99 $0.11 360$0.30 3
WD Blue 3D1000$127.89 $0.13 400$0.32 3
Intel SSD 660p1024$118.99 $0.12 200$0.59 5

The majority, if not all, of the similarly-priced (or cheaper) drives outperformed the 960GB BX500. The BX500 did well in SYSmark, but when we factor in the overall performance results, the result is a rather underwhelming SSD.

The BX500 does have a low price point, though. At $124.39, or $0.13 per GB, it is very affordable. If you're in search of an affordable high-capacity SSD, Crucial’s BX500 might be for you. But, as we said in our last BX500 review, it has tough competition.

For instance, it is only $10 cheaper than its much faster brother, the MX500. The MX500 also comes with a higher endurance rating. It’s well worth the extra few dollars for the increased performance and endurance. Meanwhile, the Intel SSD 660p is $5 cheaper and offers much more performance across the board. That is due to it being an M.2 NVMe SSD, so it is not a direct comparison if you can’t use an M.2 SSD in your system.

If SATA is all you need or can use, and you really want to cheap out, the Samsung 860 QVO (which features QLC flash rather than TLC), comes in at $107.99. It is significantly cheaper and it will perform similarly, or even better, in some cases. It also comes with a higher endurance rating, too.

Be sure to weigh your options according to what you value most. Your hard-earned dollars could be better spent or saved by looking to alternatives.

Crucial 240GB and 480GB Conclusion

Crucial’s BX500 has a cost-reducing DRAMless architecture, but that has a big impact on performance. Even without DRAM, the SSD can achieve the typical sequential throughput we expect from a SATA SSD, but the BX500's all-important 4K random performance, a key measurement of drive snappiness, is lower than most SSDs.

We have seen this type of performance before from drives like Toshiba's TR200, which also doesn’t have a DRAM cache. Like the BX500, that drive exhibits low performance in random workloads. Write performance also suffers during extended write workloads.

As we saw in the PCMark 8 and SYSmark 2014 benchmarks, the Crucial BX500 is unimpressive in tests that measure real-world application performance. The BX500 surpasses an HDD, without question, but there is a clear divide between it and other SSDs. While it comes with an SSD toolbox and Acronis True Image HD for migrating your data, the BX500's value proposition still leaves a lot to be desired.

ProductCapacityTBW Price WarrantyPrice Per GBPrice Per TBW
Crucial BX50012040$26.99 3$0.22 $0.67

24080$42.95 3$0.18 $0.54

480120$69.99 3$0.15 $0.58
Crucial MX500250100$52.99 5$0.21 $0.53

500180$72.99 5$0.15 $0.41
Kingston A40012040$24.99 3$0.21 $0.62

24080$37.28 3$0.16 $0.47

480160$76.99 3$0.16 $0.48
Samsung 860 EVO250150$52.99 5$0.21 $0.35

500300$72.99 5$0.15 $0.24
WD Blue 3D250100$50.10 3$0.20 $0.50

500200$77.99 3$0.16 $0.39
Intel SSD 545s12872$26.99 5$0.21 $0.37

256144$54.99 5$0.21 $0.38

512288$89.99 5$0.18 $0.31

The BX500 family is priced competitively at $0.15- to $0.22-per-GB, but there are better options for only a few dollars more. It appears the viability of lower-tier products has nearly vanished at these low capacities. The BX500 would need to have a significantly smaller price tag for us to recommend it. Even if you are pinching pennies, we would recommend the WD Blue 3D, MX500, or Samsung 860 EVO. All those drives boast longer warranties, greater performance, and endurance at competitive price points.

Image Credits: Tom's Hardware

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7 comments
    Your comment
  • logainofhades
    Doesn't appear to be a great alternative to other drives already on the market. I'd rather spend the extra on an MX500 for the better warranty alone. I use a 1tb MX500, for extra storage, in my laptop. If you can use M.2 NVME, and are on a tight budget, though, the 660p is kind of a no brainer. I have had no complaints, with system performance, with the 1tb, that I have in my desktop.
  • chickenballs
    are you serious? they want 60 bucks for a 500gb dramless ssd?
    I just bought a MX500 500gb for 65 dollars...
    125 dollars for a 980gb is also laughable when you can get the mx500 1tb for around 140
  • Glock24
    Remind me why do DRAMless SSDs exists? You get lower performance, lower endurance and are almost the same price as decent SSDs. I don't see any benefit.
  • BaRoMeTrIc
    Quote:
    Doesn't appear to be a great alternative to other drives already on the market. I'd rather spend the extra on an MX500 for the better warranty alone. I use a 1tb MX500, for extra storage, in my laptop. If you can use M.2 NVME, and are on a tight budget, though, the 660p is kind of a no brainer. I have had no complaints, with system performance, with the 1tb, that I have in my desktop.

    especially when the mx500 is only $5 more on amazon and newegg
  • LordConrad
    Quote:
    Remind me why do DRAMless SSDs exists? You get lower performance, lower endurance and are almost the same price as decent SSDs. I don't see any benefit.

    Because there was a bigger price difference when DRAM was expensive.
  • rogerdpack
    Review of the 120GB size please?