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MyDigitalSSD BP5e Low-Cost TLC SSD Review

A Closer Look And Inital Performance Testing

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The BP5e employs a 7mm form factor, so it fits in newer platforms that require the thinner z-height. We recently tested a full-sized notebook that weighs close to eight pounds. Inside, it took 7mm-tall SSDs, and wouldn't accommodate standard 9.5mm drives.

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Inside, we find the standard PS3110-S10 layout for Toshiba flash. The 960GB model uses eight flash packages, each of which connects to the Phison S10 through a dedicated channel. Two DDR3 DRAM packages serve as page table buffers to increase random I/O performance. 

Data Type Performance Comparison

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As we've seen before, Phison's S10 controller gives up small-block throughput when it reads back incompressible data. Using 4KB blocks at a queue depth of one, you're left with one-fifth of the performance versus the same test run using compressible information.

Most of our tests do, in fact, use incompressible data, but your PC won't necessarily be the same. This approach was hotly debated during the SandForce era, before studies on the entropy levels of common file types were published. That research shows most data is compressed to some degree, though there are a few file types that aren't.

Native TLC Sequential Performance

OCZ's Trion 100, the company's first TLC-based SSD, uses Toshiba 19nm TLC and sustains a 64KB-block sequential write speed of 115 MB/s. The drive uses a controller very similar to Phison's S10. The BP5e with Toshiba 15nm TLC and newer firmware than the Trion 100 increases that number to roughly 240 MB/s in the same test. Switching to 128KB blocks results in a performance boost to just under 300 MB/s.

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Toshiba's manufacturing node isn't what improves performance. Rather, Phison's powerful ECC engine (enabled by the quad-core processor) with 120-bit error in 2KB data correction allows the drive to write directly to the TLC flash. That might sound like the standard operating procedure, but it isn't on most TLC-based SSDs. To preserve data-write cycles and extend endurance, most other drives with TLC flash first write to the emulated SLC layer, and then send it to the TLC. This is referred to as folding the data.

In the extended write test pictured above, we see the SLC area soaking up incoming data like a sponge. When that's full, new incoming data goes directly to the TLC, rather than waiting on the SLC and a flush before accepting more. We've said before that, for TLC to be a successful mainstream technology, drive vendors would have to hide its native write performance. It appears that Phison and MyDigitalSSD are doing this with the BP5e.

  • That price is incredible. I remember my first SSD, when it was ONLY 2$/GB. If I was buying today, I'd get 6 * 480 GB drives, and run them in a btrfs raid, just for plain storage. For anyone buying today, for their own use, it makes no sense to go mechanical.

    Can't wait for the next generation Samsung 3d nand.
    Reply
  • Nintendork
    It makes no sense to raid 0 SSD's, you won't improve random 4k performance AND YOU WONT IMPROVE LATENCY (wich is what it makes SSDs faster than a HDD). You're simply adding more fail %.

    NVMe SSD's barely improve those things. We will need intel's 3D Xpoint (or similar tech) for another massive gain in those things.

    Reply
  • cryoburner
    For anyone buying today, for their own use, it makes no sense to go mechanical.

    The price might be relatively good for an SSD, but that's still 25 cents per gigabyte. Mechanical desktop drives, by comparison, are generally around 3 to 5 cents per gigabyte, which for someone needing multiple terabytes for bulk storage or backup redundancy can really add up. For many purposes like storing video, there won't be much of a performance difference either.

    Of course, most people probably don't even need 1 TB of storage in their system, and 240 GB of storage could be more than enough for them, in which case doing away with a mechanical drive in favor of a comparably priced but lower-capacity SSD could make a lot more sense.
    Reply
  • CalHob
    Interesting to see TLC continuing to lead the value market with further refinement of error correction technique while still developing improvements in performance.

    As a REVIEW, it comes up short in evaluting against products in the same performance and price segment. As I started to read the review, I kept looking for Tom's Best Pick 1TB Budget Buy, the Mushkin Reactor, to be included. And, there are also other TLC based drives, that Tom's has reviewed in other capacities, that should be included. In my mind, the review should have included at a minimum: Samsung 850 EVO 1 TB (as the TLC performance reference), ADATA SP550 960GB, and Mushkin Reactor 1TB. At this point in time, the MyDigitalSSD, ADATA and Mushkin drives are competing at the same price point on Amazon and Newegg. Comparing these drives would have brought more meaning to the review.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    Nintendork,
    There are reasons to RAID0 an SSD. For example, working with video can benefit. Plenty of articles with number to prove that, and also to prove that for MOST things real-world benefits aren't there.
    Reply
  • rhysiam
    How likely is it that other Phison S10 drives have benefited significantly from performance-related firmware updates since release? It seems like this drive is better than the competition primarily because of the more mature firmware, but I'm wondering if other drives have also improved since release.
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    Interesting to see TLC continuing to lead the value market with further refinement of error correction technique while still developing improvements in performance.

    As a REVIEW, it comes up short in evaluting against products in the same performance and price segment. As I started to read the review, I kept looking for Tom's Best Pick 1TB Budget Buy, the Mushkin Reactor, to be included. And, there are also other TLC based drives, that Tom's has reviewed in other capacities, that should be included. In my mind, the review should have included at a minimum: Samsung 850 EVO 1 TB (as the TLC performance reference), ADATA SP550 960GB, and Mushkin Reactor 1TB. At this point in time, the MyDigitalSSD, ADATA and Mushkin drives are competing at the same price point on Amazon and Newegg. Comparing these drives would have brought more meaning to the review.

    When Adata released the SP550 drives for review the 960GB model was not ready. We simply do not have that drive. We built a low cost SSD performance database for each of the other capacity sizes and you see similar products grouped together in those reviews. From Computex (last June) until only recently many of the TLC-based drives were not available. In short, we're working on it.

    This review was put together before the OCZ Trion 150 arrived, the two new PNY drives, the new Corsair LE and the stuff we can't talk about yet (but soon).

    The Best of Monthly (what I call it) goes back to being a monthly release starting this week. Several of you read and comment on my reviews so you are here quite a bit. I plan to utilize the monthly column to recap the reviews for the month and give some insight into what to expect for the next month. I've also added several new columns. Expect to see entry-level, mainstream, and premium drives for each capacity as well as new PCIe and All-in-One RAID drives.

    Reply
  • razor512
    Minimal price reduction for a massive reduction in write endurance. It is a bad value unless they can reduce their price by at at least 40% (to match the data density gains that they get from TLC).
    Reply
  • FilipHappy
    When Adata released the SP550 drives for review the 960GB model was not ready. We simply do not have that drive. We built a low cost SSD performance database for each of the other capacity sizes and you see similar products grouped together in those reviews. From Computex (last June) until only recently many of the TLC-based drives were not available. In short, we're working on it.

    This review was put together before the OCZ Trion 150 arrived, the two new PNY drives, the new Corsair LE and the stuff we can't talk about yet (but soon).

    The Best of Monthly (what I call it) goes back to being a monthly release starting this week. Several of you read and comment on my reviews so you are here quite a bit. I plan to utilize the monthly column to recap the reviews for the month and give some insight into what to expect for the next month. I've also added several new columns. Expect to see entry-level, mainstream, and premium drives for each capacity as well as new PCIe and All-in-One RAID drives.

    Even though - good job! The review is useful and one gets a nice overall view. Thank you. :)

    May I ask for your personal opinion? As a budget 1TB SSD - would you buy Mushkin Reactor 1TB, MyDigitalSSD BP5e 960GB, Adata SP550 960Gb, or wait for new releases (or wait even until june)?
    Reply
  • George_71
    I hope "mydigitalssd" has finally gotten their stuff together. I bought a BP4e mSATA drive about a year or so ago. It failed constantly. I contacted "mydigitalssd", RMAed the drive. MDSSD replaced the drive. The replacement drive has the same issues.
    There is a cost/benefit that needs to be taken into account when dealing with drives. This is a low cost option,however do you really want to take the chance? I am sorry i did.
    Reply