Subject: Storage | February 14, 2017 - 06:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tlc, slc, MX300, micron, imft, Dynamic Write Acceleration, DWA, crucial, 3DNAND, 3d nand
Last June Al took a look at the Crucial MX300 750GB and its ability to switch its cache dynamically from TLC to SLC, helping Crucial improve how they implemented this feature along the way. It proved to be a great value for the money; not the best performing drive but among the least expensive on the market. Crucial has since expanded the lineup and Hardware Canucks took a look at the 2TB model. This model has more than just a larger pool of NAND, the RAM cache has been doubled up to 1GB and the dynamic cache has more space to work in as well. Take a look at this economy sized drive in their full review.
"Crucial's newest MX300 series continues to roll on with a new 2TB version. This SSD may be one of the best when it comes to performance, price and capacity all combined into one package."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Crucial MX300 525GB SSD Review @ Neoseeker
- Silicon Power S57 240GB @ eTeknix
- Silicon Power S56 240GB @ eTeknix
- Transcend ESD400 256GB External SSD @ Kitguru
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-1635-8G 16-bay 10GbE NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- Drobo 5c 5-Bay USB Type-C Self-Managing DAS @ eTeknix
Introduction, Dynamic Write Acceleration, and Packaging
Micron joined Intel in announcing their joint venture production of IMFT 3D NAND just a bit over a year ago. The industry was naturally excited since IMFT has historically enabled relatively efficient production, ultimately resulting in reduced SSD prices over time. I suspect this time things will be no different as IMFT's 3D Flash has been aiming high die capacities since its inception, and I suspect their second generation will *double* per-die capacities while keeping speeds reasonable thanks to a quad-plane design implemented from the start of this endeavor. Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself a bit as there are no consumer products sporting this flash just yet - well not until today at least:
Marketed under Micron's consumer brand Crucial, the MX300 is their first entrant into the consumer space, as well as the first consumer SSD sporting IMFT 3D NAND. Crucial is known for their budget-minded SSDs, and for the MX300 they chose to go with the best cost/GB they could manage with what they had to work with. That meant putting this new 3D NAND into TLC mode. Now there are many TLC haters out there, but remember this is 3D NAND. Samsung's 850 EVO can exceed 500 MB/sec writes to TLC at its 500GB capacity point, and this MX300 is a product that is launching with *only* a 750GB capacity, so its TLC speed should be at least reasonable.
(the return of) Dynamic Write Acceleration
Dynamic Write Acceleration in action during a sequential fill - that last slowest part was my primary concern for the mX300.
TLC is not the only story here because Crucial has included their Dynamic Write Acceleration (DWA) technology into the MX300. This is a tech where the SSD controller is able to dynamically switch flash programming modes of the flash pool, doing so at the block level. This appears to be a feature unique to IMFT flash, as every other 'hybrid' SSD we have tested had a static SLC cache area. DWA's ability to switch flash modes on-the-fly has always fascinated me on paper, but I just haven't been impressed by Micron's previous attempts to implement it. The M600 was a bit all over the place on its write consistency, and that SSD was flipping blocks between SLC and MLC. With the MX300 flipping between SLC and *TLC*, there was a possibility of far more noticeable slow downs in the cases where large writes were taking place and the controller was caught trying to scavenge space in the background.
New Latency Percentile vs. legacy IO Percentile, shown here highlighting a performance inconsistency seen in the Toshiba OCZ RD400. Note which line more closely represents the Latency Distribution (gray) also on this plot.
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2015 - 03:21 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Storage Executive, SM2246EN, MX200, Dynamic Write Acceleration, DWA, crucial, CES 2014, CES, BX100
At CES, I took a trip to the LVCC to be briefed us on a pair of new Crucial SSD models:
The new MX200 is an evolution of the previous MX100 line, with the most notable addition being Dynamic Write Acceleration. DWA can flip dies between SLC and MLC mode on-the-fly, and is detailed in our previous write-up of the Crucial M600 SSD. While the performance was a bit inconsistent in our M600 review, there have likely been improvements if Crucial is putting this feature into their mainstream consumer line. Also interesting is how Crucial intends to package this product in mSATA and M.2 form factors - these have historically been reserved for their higher end M550 line and were not available in the MX100.
Another addition is the BX100. For this drive, Crucial has decided on the Silicon Motion 2246EN, which should be able to let them get the costs lower than what is possible with the Marvell controller. As a budget targeted model, this one will only be available in the 2.5" SATA form factor. Below are the briefed specs from these two products;
Another addition is a software solution dubbed 'Crucial Storage Executive'. This is basically their 'Toolbox' solution and handles reporting of S.M.A.R.T. data as well as firmware updates. Crucial has chosen to go the unique route of configuring this tool as a background service that is accessed through a web browser on the host system (most competing solutions are a standalone application).
The best part of this launch is the pricing. Crucial SSDs have always been highly cost competitive, but look at that launch pricing on the BX100:
That's $0.40/GB for what looks to be a very decent SSD. These two models are set to ship Q1 2015, so we'll likely see them within the next month or so.
The full press blast for these pair of SSD releases appears after the break.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Storage | September 18, 2014 - 07:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: micron, M600, SLC. MLC, DWA
Micron's M600 SSD has a new trick up its sleeve, called dynamic write acceleration which is somewhat similar to the HDDs with an NAND cache to accelerate the speed frequently accessed data can be read but with a brand new trick. In this case SLC NAND acts as the cache for MLC NAND but it does so dynamically, the NAND can switch from SLC to MLC and back depending on the amount of usage. There is a cost, the SLC storage capacity is 50% lower than MLC so the larger the cache the lower the total amount of storage is available. As well the endurance rating is also higher than previous drives, not because of better NAND but because of new trim techniques being used. This is not yet a retail product so The Tech Report does not have benchmarks but this goes to show you there are plenty more tricks we can teach SSDs.
"Micron's new M600 SSD can flip its NAND cells between SLC and MLC modes on the fly, enabling a dynamic write cache that scales with the drive's unused capacity. We've outlined how this dynamic write acceleration is supposed to impact performance, power consumption, and endurance."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Adata's Premier SP610 @ The Tech Report
- A SCORCHIO fatboy SSD: Samsung SSD850 PRO 3D V-NAND @ The Register
- Silicon Power Blaze B06 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ NikKTech
- SanDisk Ultra II SSD Review (240GB) - TLC Memory becomes Mainstream @ The SSD Review
- Thecus N2310 2-bay NAS @ Kitguru
- QNAP TS-451 @ techPowerUp
- Kingston HyperX FURY 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ OCC