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MyDigitalSSD BP5e Low-Cost TLC SSD Review


This is the third Phison S10-controlled SSD I've written about recently. The company is really stepping up its game. We always believed that the S10 had a lot of potential, which we weren't seeing from early implementations with the processor inside. For instance, Corsair's Neutron XT didn't live up to the hype. It was probably a little premature. But over the last month, after firmware updates and extensive tuning, more SSD manufacturers are extracting great numbers from the S10.

MyDigitalSSD's BP5e isn't the first product we've seen pairing the S10 and TLC flash. But it is the first implementation we'd consider buying. The difference between this SSD, OCZ's Trion 100 and some of the unreleased models in our lab is night and day. We've seen a ton of low-cost TLC-based drives that can't sustain sequential writes any higher than 90 to 110 MB/s. And yet, we have mechanical hard drives that hit 200 MB/s. Ever since we started testing storage devices with TLC flash, I've maintained that an SSD simply can't drop to hard drive-like performance levels and still be considered acceptable.

What makes the BP5e special is its advanced error-correction technology. There are three levels of data protection. Without them, writing directly to the TLC flash would chew through its endurance rating. MyDigitalSSD doesn't publish those numbers, nor did it have an estimate available when I asked. But we don't put a lot of emphasis on endurance ratings anyway because they often prove inaccurate. A manufacturer can't predict your ratio of random to sequential writes, which affects how quickly the flash wears down. Instead, we get a more general three-year warranty to protect against failure.

The BP5e is the least-expensive 1TB-class SSD right now. I'm not sure how long it'll keep that title, but we have spoken with SSD manufacturers that told us MLC-equipped drives won't hit similar prices any time soon. The flash simply costs too much. If a competitor does introduce a TLC-based drive around the BP5e's price, it'll most likely also include Phison's S10 controller. JMicron and Silicon Motion don't have TLC-enabled controllers that scale well to 1TB, and they can't match the S10's performance.

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Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.