Crucial MX100 SSD Review (512GB)
Computex 2014 takes place this week and one of the manufacturers launching a new product to coincide with the event is Crucial. A replacement to the M500 in their SSD range the MX100 uses the latest 16nm NAND Flash and has a slightly different price/performance ratio to their high end M550. Today we compare all of the above, along with some of the competition.
There is no great surprise when it comes to the packaging used by Crucial, it is pretty similar to the existing drives. We get a clear image of the drive on the front, along with its capacity and then inside the drive is protected by an anti-static bag and plastic tray. Provided with the drive is a bracket to use in 9mm drive bays (the drive itself is 7.5mm) and a voucher to download a free copy of Acronis True Image HD 2014.
The main purpose of True Image HD is to move our existing operating system install to the MX100 without the need to start fresh. Added to this, the free version of the tool also allows us to monitor and maintain our drive and there are further features (for example file shredder to destroy our data and recovery manager to assist with start-up/stability issues) which can be unlocked with a payment to Acronis.
The MX100 SSD
As is common for Crucial SSDs the MX100 uses a full metal casing and the base of the device features a sticker with certifications and model details, including the firmware installed at the factory. In terms of full dimensions we have a 100.45×69.85x7mm drive here with a weight of 70g. After opening the drive we find a thermal pad applied to the casing and this makes contact with the controller and DDR3 cache chip.
The MX100 will intitally be available in three capacities, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. Ours is the 512GB version and it uses a green PCB with 8 16NM Micron MLC NAND Flash chips attached to each side. Crucial stick with the Marvell 88SS9189 controller which is present on the M550 and we can also see the Micron branded DDR3 cache chip. The drive has a formatted capacity of 476GB in Windows 8.1 for the 512GB edition.
Crucial rate these drives at 550MB/s read with write at 500MB/s (including Native Write Acceleration) and state that IOPS will hit 90,000 on read, 85K on write. This performance is then maintained by data sanitize features and TRIM in operating systems such as Windows 7 and 8. Crucial also include Data Integrity Algorithms and ECC to protect against data corruption and provide security through AES 256-bit hardware encryption as well as supporting TCG/Opal 2.0 (and Microsoft eDrive along with Secure Erase). The MX100 also retains adaptive thermal monitoring, which tunes drive performance based on system temperature to safeguard the device and there is power loss protction for data at rest.
For power draw we have low power use at 150mW, endurance is 72TB Total bytes written and Crucial will allow firmware updates through a Windows (or DOS) based tool.
It is always a concern when receiving a new value orientated product that the manufacturer will have cut corners however that isnt the case with the MX100. We get a the same quality casiing which is used on their perfromance SSD, the M550, and internally the use of high quality parts continues. Other than the drive controller they are all Micron branded and of course with this particular model we get some of the latest 16nm chips.
In terms of features the MX100 offers a pretty much identical experience to the more expensive model and includes tech to protect our data during operations and at rest. Encryption standards are good and Crucial make our move to the MX100 simple by providing Acronis True Image HD 2014 while also helping us to maintain our drive thanks to an easy to use firmware flashing tool. (As with the M range we will click a few buttons in Windows, the system reboots, flashes and restarts. It is that easy).
In terms of perfomrance the MX100, despite its lower price point, competes well with other drives on the market. Certainly the M550 peaks higher but the MX100 offers noticably higher/faster performance than the M500 in tasks such as file copy operations and HD video use. Load times are comparable to the value offerings from OCZ and Samsung which is good to see.
So that brings us to value where the MX100 range starts at £56.99 for the 128GB version, rising to £159.99 for the 512GB reviewed here. The stand out model in terms of value is the 256GB version for just £78.99. A fantastic deal for a drive with current generation features and components and when we add in the free software and 3-year warranty it becomes all the more attractive.
|Where to buy…|
|Crucial UK from £56.39|
|Crucial US from $79.99|