Although Crucial M500 vs BX500 are available in similar capacity options, you need to know that they employ different technologies and features. Crucial M500 is good if you want a more durable SSD with built-in encryption, whereas Crucial BX500 is an affordable option suitable if you have a limited budget.
What we will discuss below include:
– The technologies used by Crucial M500 and Crucial BX500
– The security features of Crucial M500
– The software that is included with Crucial BX500
– The performance of Crucial M500 vs BX500
– Which SSD that is generally better and more recommended
Crucial M500: Technologies
When it was first launched, Crucial M500 was the first to use the new 128Gb MLC NAND die from Micron. Thanks to the cost saving and the increased density offered by the new NAND die, Crucial M500 was able to come with a very affordable price tag. No wonder that people were hyped about it.
In the past, high-capacity SSDs were ridiculously expensive, so people tried to live with less storage than they needed. Now, Crucial M500 has the potential to give you all the storage that you need, without compromising on performance or durability. You won’t need to constantly monitor and select large-sized media files to delete any more. There are 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB options available.
The NAND die is also one of the main differences between Crucial M500 vs BX500. As mentioned above, Crucial M500 uses MLC NAND; meanwhile, Crucial BX500 relies on TLC NAND. In general, MLC NAND is more reliable and durable than TLC NAND.
Now, into the deeper look. Crucial M500 is armed with the Marvell 9187 controller, which is an upgraded version with improved speed and features of the Marvell 9174 controller. It also has a custom firmware from Crucial/Micron. As an additional note, Crucial (which aims the end-user market) and Micron (which provides OEM drives) will make use of the same M500 branding. See also: Crucial M500 Vs M550.
One benefit from the Marvell 9187 is the DDR3 memory support. In the largest variant of Crucial M500, there is a 1GB DDR3-1600 DRAM. According to the manufacturer, however, only 2 – 4 MB of user data will end up in the DRAM, as the majority of the space is used for caching the table that maps logical blocks to pages. Although the structure of the mapping table is not provided in detail, we can assume that it is more-or-less a flat structure that is easy to manage.
Crucial M500 also comes with the ONFI 3.0 support. In addition to the power saving benefits, such as lower voltages and on-die termination, ONFI 3.0 also offers an increased maximum interface speed. Note that the maximum interface speed will decide the maximum speed at which you can transfer data to and from the NAND device.
While the previous version could only reach around 200MBps, ONFI 3.0 is able to double that number to around 400MBps. That said, the implementation in Crucial M500 seems to be limited to around 330MBps. Yet most NAND devices are able to perform dual-channel operations, so the higher-capacity implementations should have a maximum NAND-to-controller transfer speed of at least 600MBps. There is plenty of headroom here.
Crucial M500: Additional Features
The next important difference between Crucial M500 vs BX500 is the hardware encryption engine – Crucial BX500 doesn’t have this feature. Just like other modern drives that employ encryption, Crucial M500 uses a 256-bit AES encryption engine. All things that are written into the drive are stored encrypted.
By default, setting a password is not necessary; everything is encrypted and decrypted on the fly with the key that is stored in the controller. However, if you set a new ATA password, you can force a new key to be generated and stored in the controller in order to ensure that nobody can access your data.
Some people may argue that ATA passwords aren’t really secure, so the AES-256 encryption implementation is a bit of an overkill. But this is not the only security feature offered by Crucial M500.
Crucial M500 has set itself apart by coming with a firmware that is compliant with TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667. While the TCG Opal 2.0 support alone already allows you to use third-party encryption tools to further secure your data, the combination with the IEEE-1667 compliance makes Crucial M500 compatible with the Microsoft eDrive standard.
Crucial M500: Performance
The performance of Crucial M500 is quite impressive. When tested on a desktop computer with an Intel Core i7 CPU and 8GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, Crucial M500 is able to perform sequential reads and writes at average speeds of 467MBps and 413MBps, respectively. These numbers are fairly close to the official specs, which state that the sequential read and write speeds are 500MBps and 400MBps.
Furthermore, the specs also mention that Crucial M500 is able to perform 80,000 IOPS for random reads and writes of 4K data. In the 4K thread tests, this translates to an average read speed of 325MBps and an average write speed of 267MBps.
Finally, Crucial M500 is tested with the PCMark benchmark, which simulates real storage workloads by loading music or video files, playing games, and copying files. Then, it records the traces of the drive activity. Crucial M500 has managed to achieve a score of 5,269.
Apparently, the on-the-fly encryption and decryption have reduced the maximum speeds that the SSD can achieve. While Crucial M500 is not necessarily the fastest in the market, it is still highly reliable and fairly impressive.
Crucial BX500: Technologies
As the successor of the Crucial BX300 line, which was quite popular in the market, Crucial BX500 is still a line of streamlined SSDs with minimal features and accessories. It is without frills, designed to tempt people into buying these budget drives when all the other options are too expensive. Nevertheless, Crucial BX500 doesn’t really offer a significant upgrade path over its predecessor.
Crucial BX500 still uses an SMI controller, just like BX300 and BX100 before it. However, it does come with the new SM2259XT four-channel controller and the 96-layer 3D TLC flash from Micron.
This is a pretty good choice if you need a low-cost SSD for storing your films or games. Obviously, it is not a top performer in the category, but it is already quite faster than traditional HDDs. Plus, it is one of the absolute cheapest options available in the market.
In the last months, flash pricing has plummeted quite drastically. Thanks to that, manufacturers are now able to sell high-capacity SSDs at much lower price points. It has eventually increased demand for high-capacity drives, too. So, Crucial BX500 comes with a decent range of capacity options to satisfy the market: 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB.
Again, even the 960GB variant of Crucial BX500 can’t compete against some of the lower capacities of the more popular (and expensive) SSDs in terms of speed. However, the SM2259XT controller and the 96-layer 3D TLC flash make Crucial BX500 really dirt-cheap. This SSD has “game storage” written all over it.
Crucial BX500: Additional Features
As mentioned above, one of the biggest differences between Crucial M500 vs BX500 is the hardware encryption engine. Crucial BX500 does not have any built-in security feature. Instead, it comes with some software: the Acronis True Image HD and the Crucial Storage Executive.
Acronis True Image HD will allow you to migrate your data from your old drive to Crucial BX500 safely and quickly. It also can perform system backups for you. Meanwhile, Crucial Storage Executive will allow you to monitor the SSD, update the firmware, or enable the momentum cache feature which is said to be able to improve the performance up to 10x.
If you need to migrate a lot of data from your old drive, the included disk imaging software is indeed very handy. The lack of a hardware encryption engine or a security implementation is not a major problem as long as you are not going to store confidential data in the drive.
Crucial BX500: Performance
Crucial BX500, according to the specs, has maximum read and write speeds of 540MBps and 500MBps, respectively. In real life, the average sequential read and write speeds are around 504MBps and 442MBps.
Unfortunately, the random read and write speeds are really low compared to most other SSDs. In a heavy random access, Crucial BX500 can only hit 50,000 read IOPS and 1,875 write IOPS.
Furthermore, when tested with the PCMark benchmark while running some online games and office programs, the 960GB variant of Crucial BX500 can only score 4580. To be fair, Crucial BX500 should be perfectly suitable for light workloads. And it is already a good upgrade from HDDs. It is just not suited for heavy applications with frequent and intensive operations.
Crucial M500 vs BX500
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Between the two, Crucial M500 is better and more recommended. It has better overall performance in both sequential and random operations. It is also more reliable and durable due to using MLC flash. Plus, it comes with a built-in encryption engine and compliance to TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 in order to secure your data.