Crucial MX100 512GB SATA 6Gb/s 2.5-in SSD

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Product: Crucial MX100 512GB SATA 6Gb/s 2.5-in SSD
Provided By: Crucial
Price: $222.99 MSRP at time of publication

 

Introduction:

Crucial is a division of Micron and as such are one of the few companies that are actually making NAND flash memory. This gives them some advantages when it comes to newer types of NAND, smaller manufacturing processes and availability. The MX100 drive we are looking at today will be replaced here in 2015 with their MX200 which will edge it out slightly in the performance department. They will also be releasing an entry-level drive line - the BX100 that will still have very good read speeds, but will be a bit slower in terms of writing performance. The unit we have on our bench is the standard 2.5-in SSD, but as we'll see in the coming months, a lot of companies (including Crucial) are investing a lot of effort and R&D into M.2 and mSATA drives as well.


MX100 Box

 

First Look:

The MX100 is exclusively a 2.5-in SSD that comes in a nice slender form factor. This drive is 7mm in height and comes with a shim to make it standard 9.5mm tall drive. If you have a newer laptop or Ultrabook, you're going to need the 7mm height and this drive will easily slide in and give you half a Terabyte of storage. As you can see below, the bundle is pretty lean as the MX100 package consists of the drive, the aforementioned shim and a full version of Acronis True Image HD that will require you to register to get a full key. This software is worth $30 easily and it is a nice addition to the package.

MX100 Bundle

 

The drive is very plain and the only thing to really note is the label on the bottom that includes the model, serial and part numbers. The entire drive housing is metal and this gives in durability. You'll see in the bottom right corner the "Warranty Void" sticker - that will be removed shortly.

MX100 Bottom Label

 

Before we jump into benchmarks and the like, we'll take a quick look inside the drive to find out exactly what Crucial has put together with the MX100 series of SSDs.


 

Drive Information:

The following information has been pulled from the Crucial website and posted here for your convenience. If you want all of the details and the latest, up-to date information, please check out the product page for the comprehensive run-down. In the meantime, the summary below should get you going.

Bottom of MX100 Board
Bottom of MX100

Top of MX100 Board
Top of MX100

 

Run your system longer than ever before - using less power.
With Extreme Energy Efficiency technology, the Crucial MX100 is up to 89% more energy efficient than a typical hard drive.
 
Keep your memories, photos, and files safe.
When a photo or file gets corrupted, it often becomes unusable. Prevent this from happening in the first place with the Crucial MX100 SSD, which arms every storage component with four layers of Exclusive Data Defense to guard against corrupt files.
 
Protect all of your data - even if the power goes out.
With Power Loss Protection, if you happen to be saving a file and you suddenly lose access to power, your data will still be preserved.
 
Push your drive to the limit and avoid overheating.
Adaptive Thermal Protection technology enables the Crucial MX100 to dynamically adjust storage component activity based on how you're using the drive, allowing your system to stay cool and react to changes in use.
 
 
 
Do more - faster.
Get true 550 MB/s sequential reads on both compressible and incompressible data - and leave your old 177 MB/s hard drive in the dust.
 
Save and transfer files in seconds rather than minutes.
Our exclusive Native Write Acceleration technology spreads the drive's workload across several elements, enabling you to write data in seconds rather than minutes.
 
Get best-in-class hardware encryption.
Keep personal files and sensitive information secure from hackers and thieves with AES 256-bit encryption - the same grade used by banks and hospitals. The Crucial MX100 is one of the only drives available that meets Microsoft® eDrive®, IEEE-1667, and TCG Opal 2.0 standards of encryption.
 
Attain consistently fast speeds without compromising the reliability of your data.
Our engineers created RAIN technology to protect your data at the component level, similar to how RAID is used with multiple hard drives. This enterprise-class technology increases the security and protection of your data to a level that's rarely available in consumer-class SSDs.

 

Specs

 

On the next page, we'll take a brief look at what makes this drive tick and then jump into testing.


The Nitty Gritty:

We will break this drive down into the main components and let you know what is inside - because it's what's inside that counts. The storage is taken care of by Micron branded chips with the markings 4SC2D NW656. There are 16, 128Gbit (32GB) NAND chips that are controlled by the Marvell 88SS9189 controller. Not a lot is know about this controller - but we do know that it is an upgrade from the 88SS9187 controller that has powered other Crucial (and many other company) drives in the past.

Marvel Controller

 

Both the 256GB and 512GB drives are rated for 72TB of writes for the life of the drive. If you break down the math, it works out to almost 65GB a day for three years or 40GB a day for 5 years - exceeding the warranty of the drive. The rating of this drive is fairly competitive and lines up with most of the competition.

 

The SSD Testing Disclaimer:

Because of the wear-leveling algorithms used in SSDs, performance is actually pretty hard to nail down. It is for this reason also that drive performance can vary so much from one review to the next. Some sites go to extreme measures to show the maximum performance possible after they use utilities to restore the drive to pristine performance levels, but that isn't accurate in the real world. We've tried to get a balance of the pristine and the dirty drive here at BCCHardware and have used this drive extensively in our test systems both running Windows 8 x64. We feel that our results are as reproducible as possible, and while no software can accurately measure SSD performance in a perfectly fair fashion, we've done our best to keep the results accurate as possible. We've used synthetic benchmark tools such as AIDA64, Crystal DiskMark and others that are indicators of real-world performance.

 

Updated Test Setup:

CPU Intel Core i7-4790K
Motherboard MSI Z97-G45 Gaming
Memory 8GB Crucial DDR3-1866
Graphics HIS Radeon R9 270X 2GB 
Cooling NZXT Kraken X61 & NZXT Kraken X41
Hard Drives Crucial MX100 512GB SSD
Operating System Windows 10 Build 9879
AMD Drivers AMD 14.12 

 

On the next page, we'll jump right into testing.


 

Performance AS SSD:

To set off on this benchmarking adventure, first we shall use AS SSD. This has become one of our standard software utilities that we use and we will be using it to test the raw input/output operations per second (IOPS). Although raw Input / Output Operations Per Second doesn't really have a lot of bearing on the desktop, it will be interesting to see how this drive stacks up with others that we've looked at in the past.

Read Performance

 

Write Performance

 

When it comes to the 64-queue depth test, this drive performs very well and in fact is only second to the OCZ Vector in a couple of instances. In other instances, it is the fastest drive we've seen. Either way, it's pretty solid in both read and write tests and manages to break the 80K barrier in both reading and write tests when tested at 4K 64QD. As you can see above, we've compared this drive with the Crucial M500 960GB drive as well as a few different iterations of the OCZ Vector series.

On the next page, we'll take a look at ATTO testing to see what kind of performance to expect with different file sizes.


 

Performance ATTO:

Keep in mind that ATTO is a theoretical indicator of performance, and it shows what a drive is capable of internally. We have also taken the results from the Crucial M500 and three different OCZ drives for some comparison.

ATTO Read Performance


ATTO Write Performance

In the read test the MX100 does very well and finishes near the top of the pile - if not at the very top. It has solid performance on larger file sizes and lags slightly behind the OCZ Vector 150 once the file sizes drop below 16KB. The write performance crown goes to the OCZ Vector 256GB drive with the MX100 coming in second place all along the data-size run. It is a very solid performer.

On the next page, we'll take a look at AIDA 64 results before we wrap things up.


Performance - AIDA64:

The next benchmark we are looking at today is from AIDA64. We will have a quick jog through the basic read suite and again compare the results of the drives chosen. Do please keep in mind that this is merely for reference, since these drives have different controllers, NAND, capacities and more.

AIDA64 Read Performance

 

One thing that you'll notice in the Crucial MX100 performance numbers is that they are extremely consistent. From start to finish the drive read at a speedy 512.3MB/s and was rock solid all the way through. While there are other drives that do read slightly faster, the MX100 was probably one of the most linear drives we've used. The performance here is within margin of error on most drives with the Random Read of the OCZ Vector topping the charts.

 

On the next bench of benchmarks we'll look at Crystal DiskMark before we wrap things up with our conclusion.


Performance - Crystal DiskMark:

For the last of our benchmarks today we will be using Crystal DiskMark 3.0. This test will be used to see if the manufacturers rated speeds are true or false. Sequential tests are used in CDM as well as 4KB and 512KB random tests to see how the drive will do when reading and writing the various sizes. This test will follow the same protocol as the others with the same drives.

Crystal DiskMark Read Performance

 

Crystal DiskMark Write Performance

Unfortunately in this test, the drive falls short on both the read test and the write test in our test system. On the bright side, it is one of the faster drives we've seen and it can certainly hold its own in the benchmark suite.

On the last page, we'll wrap things up and share our final thoughts.


Final Thoughts:

It's been a while since I tested an SSD and after using mechanical drives in some of my systems for the past few months, the difference was incredible. The MX100 is Crucial's answer to performance at a price that makes an SSD afforable. This drive has an MSRP that makes it just under $0.45 / GB and if you can find it on sale - it's an even better deal. At the end of the day, it is a very solid performing drive, in a solid metal housing that can take the stress, flex and punishment of today's modern Ultrabooks and portable computers. The MX100 comes in capacities up to the 512GB version we testeed today, and if you're on a bit more of a budget one of the other smaller drives may be a bit more up your alley.

Our MX100 that we tested is large enough for a main gaming system and you should be able to install many of your games on the drive - instead of picking and choosing as much as you do on 128GB drives. It is great for daily computing, gaming, video editing and more. I installed my main OS (Windows 10) on it and it boots from a cold boot in 17 seconds with a full restart (shutdown + startup) in 19 seconds. This includes the post screen on my MSI Z97-G45 Gaming motherboard - which is not the fastest booting board.

 

I will also note that the Acronis software bundled with this drive is a nice touch, especially for those of us who want to clone drives. It saves you from searching high and low for software to make the proper migration.

Pros:
  • 7mm low profile fits most laptops
  • Highly compatible
  • 3 year warranty
  • Bundled migration software
  • Great price:performance ratio
 
Cons:
  • Performed slightly less than the manufacturer claims

 

 

At the end of the day, this drive is pretty solid and at the price it is online at the moment, it's a great deal. Go get one - or two. We give this a solid 9/10 and it sneaks in to win our "Gold Wrench" award.

I'd like to thank Crucial for sending this drive out for us to review. Please leave your comments, questions or general feedback right here.