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Eight budget-friendly 1TB SSD data packers for real people

There, there... personal storage, no pain

It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of a 2.5in 1TB class SSD roundup would have been laughable mainly because the very idea of a 1TB drive aimed at the consumer market would have been considered a flight of fancy.

Until recently large capacity SSDs were the domain of the corporate and enterprise sectors with the accompanying eye watering price tags that those two market segments usually generate.

In fact you only have to go back to the latter part of 2011 to find the first ever 2.5in format SSD to offer 1TB of capacity, OCZ’s Octane drive using 25nm IMFT 64Gb MLC NAND. At launch the 1TB Octane cost a whopping £1,900.

Two years later saw the first 1TB class SSD aimed squarely at the consumer market, Crucial’s 960GB M500 costing £466 at launch. It was Crucial’s pricing policy for the M500 series that threw a cat amongst the pigeons and shook the consumer SSD market to its core.

Crucial were able to hit this price point for the M500 due to a couple of pertinent factors. It’s always a huge advantage to produce your own NAND, Crucial’s parent company Micron being one of the world’s top five Flash NAND manufacturers and the fact the M500 series used 128Gb NAND rather than the 64Gb NAND more commonly used at the time.

Higher density NAND is more cost effective to manufacture allowing for more leverage on pricing.

2014 saw Crucial at it again with the M550 line-up that saw the flagship capacity rise from 960GB to 1TB with a price tag of £383 at launch but this time there was some serious competition from Samsung who had a 1TB drive (the company’s first) in the SSD840 EVO product line, a line which incidentally also includes the world’s first ever 1TB mSATA drive.

A quick aside, the basic SSD840 range may have only gone up to 500GB but is another milestone for SSD’s as it was the first mass produced first drive range to use 3-bit-per-cell MLC NAND or to give its more common name TLC (triple level cell) NAND. The EVO continued along the TLC NAND path but at a 19nm process instead of the 21nm the 840 used, the denser NAND meaning a 1TB drive could be produced.

Later in 2014 Samsung launched a drive range using technology that draws a line in the sand when it comes to drives offering the combination of huge capacity, performance and competitive price points in a 2.5in format and is a very important landmark in SSD development. The SSD850 is the world’s first mass produced SSD that uses 3D-NAND Flash technology (Samsung calls theirs 3D V-NAND), a technology that will allow for some truly gigantic capacity SSDs – but more of that in a moment.

Samsung has already upped the ante with the recent releases of 2TB versions of the SSD850 PRO (£679) and EVO (£539) using 32-layer 3D V-NAND but don’t intend to stop there as sometime in 2016 48-layer V-NAND will come on stream in enough volume to allow the company to launch a 4TB version of the SSD850 for the mass market.

The futures in 3D

Standard 2D Planer Flash NAND scales along a horizontal plane but it’s almost at the end of its scalability as to produce ever-denser NAND the die size needs to continually shrink. Dealing with problems encountered with endurance and performance with every die shrink are getting ever harder to deal with. 3D NAND doesn’t have this problem as it stacks the layers of transistors in a vertical plane on top of each other which enables it to be manufactured in much higher densities than planar NAND.

Another benefit of this technology is that is allows the manufacturing process to be wound in (Samsung’s 32-layer 3D V-NAND is 40nm for example) which allows the neat trick of producing much denser NAND while at the same time increasing reliability.

To give an idea of just how big a capacity drive is possible using this NAND technology, Samsung unveiled the PM1663a, a monster 16TB drive (the world’s largest capacity drive) using 48-layer V-NAND in a 2.5in format, albeit twice as thick as a standard drive.

2016 should see more competition in huge capacity SSD’s as Toshiba/SanDisk (48-layer process), SK Hynix (36-layer MLC and 48-layer TLC) and Intel-Micon (32-layer) all have 3D NAND technologies either in development or ready for mass production.

It shows just how fast the SSD market has been moving of late that not only is there a decent selection of 1TB class drives (nearly every drive manufacturer worth their salt has a least one) but there are some that can be (loosely) described as reasonably-priced.

I looked at eight drives: Crucial MX200 1TB, Crucial BX200 960GB, Integral UltimaPro X 960GB, Kingston SSDNow V310 960GB, Kingston HyperX Savage 960GB, Samsung SSD850 PRO 1TB, Samsung SSD850 EVO 1TB and Transcend SSD370S 1TB. Here you have my overview and some data comparables:

Crucial MX200 1TB

Crucial’s MX200 series is the companies’ high end performance product line. The 1TB drive uses a combination of Marvell 88SS9189 8 channel and Micron 16nm 128Gbit MLC NAND.

Price £273.59 (inc VAT)

ATTO Sequential read MB/s
Samsung SSD850 PRO 1TB 560
Crucial BX200 960GB 560
Integral UltimaPro X 560
Kingston HyperX Savage 560
Samsung SSD850 EVO 1TB 559
Transcend SSD370S 1TB 551
Kingston SSDNow V310 960GB 541
Crucial MX200 526

Crucial BX200 960GB

Crucial’s BX200 is the new kid on the block as it’s not long been released. The successor the very popular BX100 series, the BX200 is Crucial’s drive first to use TLC NAND.

Price £233.99 (inc VAT)

Sequential Write MB/s
Samsung SSD850 PRO 1TB 530
Kingston HyperX Savage 960GB 527
Integral UltimaPro X 960GB 526
Crucial MX200 1TB 519
Samsung SSD850 EVO 1TB 496
Crucial BX200 960GB 491
Transcend SSD370S 1TB 451
Kingston SSDNow V310 960GB 448

Integral UltimaPro X 960GB

You may have never heard of them but UK based company’s UltimaPro X is a very quick drive that can give Samsung’s mighty SSD850 a very close run for its money.

Price £286.79 (inc VAT)

ASSSD Sequential Read MB/s
Samsung SSD850 EVO 1TB 510
Crucial MX200 1TB 505
Samsung SSD850 PRO 1TB 504
Integral UltimaPro X 960GB 501
Kingston SSDNow V310 960GB 500
Kingston HyperX Savage 960GB 499
Crucial BX200 960GB 422
Transcend SSD370S 1TB 498

Kingston SSDNow V310 960GB

Kingston’s SSDNow V310 range currently consist of one single drive with a 960GB capacity. It’s not the fastest or cheapest drive here by quite some margin but it does have an astonishing enterprise level endurance figure.

£399.99 (inc VAT)

Sequential Write MB/s
Samsung SSD850 EVO 1TB 496
Samsung SSD850 PRO 1TB 484
Kingston HyperX Savage 960GB 475
Crucial BX200 960GB 471
Integral UltimaPro X 960GB 453
Transcend SSD370S 1TB 418
Kingston SSDNow V310 960GB 408
Crucial MX200 1TB 387

Kingston HyperX Savage 960GB

The HyperX Savage line-up are Kingston’s fastest 2.5in format drives combining a Phison PS3110-S10 controller with Toshiba 19nm Toggle Flash. Another Kingston drive with very impressive endurance figures.

Price £368.95 (inc VAT)

CrystalDiskMark 4K Read MB/s
Kingston HyperX Savage 960GB 35.60
Samsung SSD850 PRO 1TB 34.24
Samsung SSD850 EVO 1TB 32.16
Crucial BX200 960GB 31.84
Crucial MX200 1TB 28.96
Integral UltimaPro X 960GB 27.91
Transcend SSD370S 1TB 26.52
Kingston SSDNow V310 960GB 11.32

Samsung SSD850 PRO 1TB

The drive that brought 3D NAND to the masses, and the first to offer a 10 year warranty. Still one of the fastest 2.5in drives currently available but not cheap.

Price £329.99 (inc VAT)

4K Write Sequential Read MB/s
Samsung SSD850 PRO 1TB 136.20
Crucial MX200 1TB 134.00
Samsung SSD850 EVO 1TB 133.50
Kingston HyperX Savage 960GB 128.40
Transcend SSD370S 1TB 124.90
Integral UltimaPro X 960GB 123.90
Crucial BX200 960GB 85.66
Kingston SSDNow V310 960GB 54.71

Samsung SSD850 EVO 1TB

Following on from the SSD840 EVO the SSD850 EVO still uses TLC NAND but the 3D-NAND version of it. Because of this Samsung have halved the warranty afforded to the 850PRO.

Price £269.99 (inc VAT)

Endurance TBW – Total Bytes Written
Crucial MX200 1TB 320TB
Crucial BX200 960GB 160TB
Integral UltimaPro X 960GB 465TB
Kingston SSDNow V310 960GB 2,728TB
Kingston HyperX Savage 960GB 681TB
Samsung SSD850 EVO 1TB 150TB
Samsung SSD850 PRO 1TB 150TB
Transcend SSD370S 1TB 1,180TB

Transcend SSD370S 1TB

The SSD370 is the flagship line of consumer drives offered by Transcend. It combines a rebadged Silicon Image controller with 128Gb 20nm MLC NAND. Another drive to offer near enterprise levels of endurance.


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