Micron recently announced that they would begin manufacturing 16nm MCL NAND, available in 16GB dies. If you need a refresher on what this means for performance, you might want to check out our Crucial M550 review. In it, we discuss how SSD controllers are affected by not having enough NAND channels to work with in parallel. The M550′s design is a direct result of the M500 having poor performance compared to the competition in the 120 and 240GB capacities.
The 256GB M550 in our review uses 20nm MLC NAND in an arrangement of 16 flash packages with two 8 GB dies per package. The slower M500 used 16 packages, with one 16 GB die in each. The difference in write performance is huge, but the flash in the M500 is much cheaper to manufacture. Of course if it’s a budget option, then performance doesn’t matter as much, and these new 16nm MLC NAND flash will be even cheaper to make.
With that comes a rumor of the first retail SSD based on this new process, the Crucial MX100. The rumor comes in the form of a picture posted on british site uk.hardware.info. It looks pretty legit, at least in terms of looking like a media kit image produced by Micron. We’re not sure what capacities the Crucial MX100 will be available in, but it will be interesting to see if they attempt another single-channel-per-package drive again. If so, this should completely replace the M500 as the budget model, since that has already been supplanted by the M550 as the midrange model (it actually performed quite well for us in our review).
I’m sure an announcement will be made, so here’s the heads up if you are in the market for a budget SSD solution. At this point, it may make more sense to use these as storage, rather than mechanical hard drives.