Crucial’s MX100 solid-state drive reviewed

In a lot of ways, Serial ATA SSDs have stagnated recently. Most new drives are just slightly different spins on their predecessors. They have similar controllers, lightly massaged firmware, and flash fabbed on finer fabrication processes. And different stickers on the outside. Can’t forget the stickers.

We don’t get big leaps in performance anymore, though. The limited bandwidth of the 6Gbps SATA interface is partly to blame, as are the inefficiencies of the associated AHCI protocol. Even with those handicaps, most decent drives are already fast enough for the vast majority of desktop applications.

None of that makes for a compelling storyline. There’s one more thing, however, and it’s a pretty big deal. SSDs are getting cheaper. Like, a lot cheaper. Just look at the release-day prices for the last four generations of Crucial drives:

Crucial’s first 6Gbps SATA offering was the RealSSD C300, which arrived in 2010 with 34-nm flash. The drive rang in at over $600 for 256GB, making it an expensive luxury even for high-end PCs. Since then, each successive NAND generation has come with a substantial discount, culminating in the 16-nm MX100 that debuts today. Crucial’s latest is priced at just $109.99 for 256GB.

Let me repeat that. The MX100 is priced at just $109.99 for 256GB.

That’s only $0.43 per gig, more than a 5X decrease from the C300—and a 50% drop from the M500’s introductory sticker one year ago. Quite the opposite of stagnation, don’t you think?

Crucial’s parent company, Micron, deserves much of the credit for plummeting prices. SSDs are getting cheaper because memory makers are using smaller process geometries to cram more and more gigabytes onto each silicon wafer. Micron aggressively pursues cutting-edge fabrication technologies, and Crucial enjoys the spoils.

The MX100 is the first SSD to use Micron’s 16-nm MLC NAND. 16GB chips based on that process have been sampling since last year, and Micron claims they have “the greatest number of bits per square millimeter at the lowest cost of any MLC device in existence.” We’re waiting on details about the exact die dimensions and how they compare to the previous generation. For what it’s worth, Micron says its 16-nm process is capable of squeezing “nearly 6TB” onto a single wafer.

Although smaller fabrication techniques are great for increasing bit densities, shrinking the process geometry typically decreases endurance. NAND wears out because writing data erodes the physical structure of the memory cells. That structure becomes more fragile as it shrinks, reducing the volume of writes the cell can tolerate. Packing cells closer together also increases the potential for interference from neighboring cells.

Micron isn’t ready to talk about how many program-erase cycles its 16-nm NAND can endure. However, most desktop users will struggle to exceed the MX100’s endurance specification. The drive is rated for 72TB of total writes, which works out to 40GB per day for five years. That rating matches the endurance spec for Crucial’s M500 and M550 SSDs, both of which are based on 20-nm NAND. The MX100 has the same three-year warranty as those drives, too. Here’s how the three families compare:

M500 MX100 M550
NAND 20nm MLC 16/20nm MLC 20nm MLC
Die size 16GB 16GB 8/16GB
Capacities 120-960GB 128-512GB 64GB-1TB
Controller Marvell 88SS9187 Marvell 88SS9189 Marvell 88SS9189
Sequential read 500MB/s 550MB/s 550MB/s
Sequential write 130-400MB/s 150-500MB/s 190-500MB/s
Random read 62-80k IOps 80-90k IOps 90-95k IOps
Random write 35-80k IOps 40-85k IOps 75-85k IOps
Total writes 72TB 72TB 72TB
Warranty Three years Three years Three years
Price (240-256GB) $114.99 $109.99 $168.99

The MX100 is essentially a replacement for the M500. It promises to outperform its predecessor at a lower cost, but there are a few caveats, including the fact that the M500 is much cheaper today than it was last year.

While the M500 is available in capacities up to 960GB, the MX100 is capped at 512GB. Folks who want more storage are directed to the higher-end M550, which goes up to 1TB, and to the M500 960GB, which hasn’t been retired yet. It sounds like Crucial plans to keep the big M500 around for a little while longer.

At the other end of the spectrum, we should note that the MX100 128GB actually uses older 20-nm NAND. Only the 256GB and 512GB versions have the latest 16-nm flash.

All three drives are loaded with 16GB dies, which is a liability for the lower-capacity models. Modern controllers typically require at least 32 dies for peak performance. With 16GB per die, all the MX100s south of 512GB lacks sufficient NAND to exploit controller’s internal parallelism. The 128GB and 256GB drives have lower performance ratings as a result.

Capacity Die config Max
sequential (MB/s)
Max
4KB random (IOps)
Price $/GB
Read Write Read Write
128GB 8 x
16GB
550 150 80,000 40,000 $79.99 $0.62
256GB 16
x 16GB
550 330 85,000 70,000 $109.99 $0.43
512GB 32
x 16GB
550 500 90,000 85,000 $224.99 $0.44

Dropping to 256GB cuts the MX100’s peak sequential write speed to 330MB/s. The 128GB variant is even slower, and it takes a big hit on random writes. The entry-level unit has higher per-gigabyte pricing than the rest of the lineup, too. No wonder Crucial only sent us the 256GB and 512GB drives. We’ve benched them both, and we’ll see how they stack up in a moment.

The 512GB version is just as competitively-priced as its 256GB sibling, by the way. $224.99 is the lowest list price we’ve ever seen for a 512GB SSD.

Inside and out, the MX100 looks an awful lot like the M550. It has the same eight-channel Marvell controller and nearly identical features. To protect against data loss from physical flash failures, the MX100 employs a RAID-like redundancy scheme called RAIN. Onboard capacitors provide a measure of power-loss protection, enabling the drive to preserve in-flight data if the lights go out. There’s hardware support for 256-bit AES encryption, too, complete with the requisite IEEE and TCG Opal compliance. The MX100 can also dial back its performance if temperatures get too toasty, a valuable capability for notebooks and small-form-factor systems.

The only thing that isn’t on the menu is DevSleep, an extra-low-power mode designed for mobile systems. According to Crucial, the MX100 will respond to the command, and the feature is supported in the firmware. However, because Crucial hasn’t seen a lot of demand for it, DevSleep isn’t part of the drive’s official specification.

DevSleep is geared toward mobile systems, which aren’t really the MX100’s native turf. Sure, the drive will fit into standard 2.5″ notebook bays, but Crucial isn’t making mSATA or M.2 flavors suitable for slimmer ultrabooks, convertibles, and the like. Instead of cranking out mini MX100s, Crucial will continue selling mSATA and M.2 versions of the M500. The M550 is also available in mini formats.

Overall, the MX100 covers all the essentials except utility software. Unlike most SSD vendors, Crucial doesn’t offer an application to monitor health, optimize system settings, and track drive statistics. The firm makes matters worse by giving many of the drive’s SMART attributes vague, vendor-specific titles that can only be deciphered with the aid of a separate decoder ring. The reallocated sector count is clearly marked, at least, but program and erase failures, error correction and RAIN recovery events, and total host writes are not. If Crucial isn’t going to provide its own SSD utility software, it should at least stop making life difficult those monitoring their drives with third-party utilities.

Crucial redeems itself somewhat by shipping the MX100 with a download code for Acronis True Image HD 2014. The imaging software should come in handy for folks upgrading existing systems.

Now, let’s see how the MX100 performs.

CrystalDiskMark — transfer rates

TR regulars will notice that we’ve trimmed a few tests from our usual suite of storage results. The drives were all benchmarked in the same way, but we’ve excluded the results for tests that have grown problematic or less relevant over time. This abbreviated format should be a little easier to digest until our next-gen storage suite is ready.

First, we’ll tackle sequential performance with CrystalDiskMark. This test runs on partitioned drives with the benchmark’s default 1GB transfer size and randomized data. We’ve color-coded the results to make the Crucial drives easier to spot.

Most of the SSDs are closely matched in the sequential read speed test. There, the MX100 keeps up with the M550 and sits roughly in the middle of the pack overall.

The 512GB version hangs with its M550 counterpart in the write speed test, too, but the 256GB drive is 155MB/s slower. Blame the 16GB NAND dies. The M550 256GB uses smaller 8GB dies, giving it twice the parallelism of the equivalent MX100—and none of the performance penalty, at least in this test.

HD Tune — random access times

Next, we’ll turn our attention to random access times. We used HD Tune to measure access times across multiple transfer sizes. SSDs have near-instantaneous seek times, so it’s hard to graph the results on the same scale as mechanical drives. The WD Black and Seagate SSHD will sit out this round to focus our attention on the SSDs.

First, note the scales. The 1MB access times are measured in single-digit milliseconds, while the 4KB results are in the tens of microseconds. SSDs are really, really good at this sort of thing.

The MX100 doesn’t exhibit any signs of weakness in the random read tests. However, the 256GB version struggles with 1MB random writes. It’s notably slower than the 512GB variant, though it’s still quicker than the equivalent M500.

TR FileBench — Real-world copy speeds

FileBench, which was concocted by TR’s resident developer Bruno “morphine” Ferreira, runs through a series of file copy operations using Windows 7’s xcopy command. Using xcopy produces nearly identical copy speeds to dragging and dropping files using the Windows GUI, so our results should be representative of typical real-world performance. We tested using the following five file sets—note the differences in average file sizes and their compressibility. We evaluated the compressibility of each file set by comparing its size before and after being run through 7-Zip’s “ultra” compression scheme.

Number of files Average file size Total size Compressibility
Movie 6 701MB 4.1GB 0.5%
RAW 101 23.6MB 2.32GB 3.2%
MP3 549 6.48MB 3.47GB 0.5%
TR 26,767 64.6KB 1.7GB 53%
Mozilla 22,696 39.4KB 923MB 91%

The names of most of the file sets are self-explanatory. The Mozilla set is made up of all the files necessary to compile the browser, while the TR set includes years worth of the images, HTML files, and spreadsheets behind my reviews. Those two sets contain much larger numbers of smaller files than the other three. They’re also the most amenable to compression.

To get a sense of how aggressively each SSD reclaims flash pages tagged by the TRIM command, the SSDs are tested in a simulated used state after crunching IOMeter’s workstation access pattern for 30 minutes. The drives are also tested in a factory fresh state, right after a secure erase, to see if there is any discrepancy between the two states. There wasn’t much of one with the MX100, so we’re only presenting the used-state scores.

Noticing a pattern yet? The MX100 512GB shadows its M550 competition once again. The 256GB version is slower, but it still beats the M500 240GB handily.

Interestingly, the lower-capacity drives don’t suffer as much in the TR and Mozilla tests, which are loaded with smaller files and have comparatively sluggish copy speeds. The differences between them and the larger SSDs are more pronounced in the other tests, in which larger movie, image, and music files are copied at much faster rates.

TR DriveBench 2.0 — Disk-intensive multitasking

DriveBench 2.0 is a trace-based test comprised of nearly two weeks of typical desktop activity peppered with intense multitasking loads. More details on are available on this page of our last major SSD round-up.

We measure DriveBench performance by analyzing service times—the amount of time it takes drives to complete I/O requests. Those results are split into reads and writes.

The MX100 512GB continues to upstage the pricier M550. Both sit just adrift of the front of the pack, well ahead of their 256GB counterparts.

Even the MX100 256GB is competitive with the equivalent M550, and it actually comes out ahead with reads. These lower-capacity units still have slower mean service times than the 512GB drives, though. They’re particularly far behind with writes, and they’re also not alone. The budget-priced Samsung 840 EVO 250GB and Crucial M500 240GB have even slower mean write service times.

All the SSDs execute the vast majority of DriveBench requests in one millisecond or less—too little time for end users to perceive. We can also sort out the number of service times longer than 100 milliseconds, which is far more interesting data. These extremely long service times make up only a fraction of the overall total, but they’re much more likely to be noticeable.

Crucial SSDs typically log more extremely long write service times than their peers in this test. The MX100 is a big improvement over the M500, but it still suffers way more sluggish write service times than SSDs from other vendors. (The Adata SP920 is just an M550 with a different sticker on the outside.)

At 512GB, the MX100 comes out ahead of the M550 with both reads and writes. The 256GB results are mixed; the MX100 exhibits fewer extremely long service times with reads, but it suffers more of them with writes.

DriveBench 2.0 comprises tens of millions of I/O requests, so don’t read too much into the totals in the graphs. For the MX100 256GB, the number of service times over 100 milliseconds amounts to only 0.037% of read requests and 0.32% of writes.

IOMeter

Our IOMeter workload features a ramping number of concurrent I/O requests. Most desktop systems will only have a few requests in flight at any given time (87% of DriveBench 2.0 requests have a queue depth of four or less). We’ve extended our scaling up to 32 concurrent requests to reach the depth of the Native Command Queuing pipeline associated with the Serial ATA specification. Ramping up the number of requests also gives us a sense of how the drives might perform in more demanding enterprise environments.

We run our IOMeter test using the fully randomized data pattern, which presents a particular challenge for SandForce’s write compression scheme. We’d rather measure SSD performance in this worst-case scenario than using easily compressible data.

There’s too much data to show clearly on a single graph, so we’ve split the results. You can compare the performance of the Crucial MX100 to that of the competition by clicking the buttons below each graph.

Instead of presenting the results of multiple access patterns, we’re concentrating on IOMeter’s database test. This access pattern has a mix of read and write requests, and it’s similar to the file server and workstation tests. The results for these three access patterns are usually pretty similar. We also run IOMeter’s web server access pattern as part of our standard suite of tests, but it’s made up exclusively of read requests, so the results aren’t as applicable to real-world scenarios. Our own web servers log a fair amount of writes, for example.


A few of the SSDs ramp up their I/O rates aggressively as the load increases. The MX100 scales at a more leisurely pace, and it starts to plateau after eight concurrent requests. Still, the drive manages higher throughput than most of its peers, including the Samsung SSDs. It effectively ties the M550, too.

Boot duration

Before timing a couple of real-world applications, we first have to load the OS. We can measure how long that takes by checking the Windows 7 boot duration using the operating system’s performance-monitoring tools. This is actually the first test in which we’re booting Windows off each drive; up until this point, our testing has been hosted by an OS housed on a separate system drive.

Level load times

Modern games lack built-in timing tests to measure level loads, so we busted out a stopwatch with a couple of titles.

The key takeaway here is that all the SSDs are pretty close to each other. The gaps between the solid-state and mechanical drives are much larger than the deltas between the SSDs.

In a bit of a surprise, the MX100 256GB loads Windows about a second faster than the 512GB. The difference between eight and nine seconds is difficult to discern, though, especially for a task typically performed no more than once per day.

We’re working on an updated batch of load-time tests for our next-gen storage suite. Shoot me an email if you have any suggestions.

Power consumption

We tested power consumption under load with IOMeter’s workstation access pattern chewing through 32 concurrent I/O requests. Idle power consumption was probed one minute after processing Windows 7’s idle tasks on an empty desktop.

The MX100’s power consumption is pretty average overall. Nothing to see here, folks.

That’s it for performance testing. The next page is filled with nerdy details about our test systems and methods. It contains loads of information for folks who are curious about how we do things here at TR, but it doesn’t make for particularly engaging reading. We won’t be offended if you skip ahead to the conclusion.

Test notes and methods

Here’s a full rundown of the SSDs we tested, along with their essential characteristics.

Cache Flash controller NAND
Adata SP920 512GB 512MB Marvell 88SS9189 20nm Micron sync MLC
Corsair Force Series GT
240GB
NA SandForce SF-2281 25nm Intel sync MLC
Corsair Neutron 240GB 256MB LAMD LM87800 25nm Micron sync MLC
Corsair Neutron GTX
240GB
256MB LAMD LM87800 26nm Toshiba Toggle MLC
Crucial M500 240GB 256MB Marvell 88SS9187 20nm Micron sync MLC
Crucial M500 480GB 512MB Marvell 88SS9187 20nm Micron sync MLC
Crucial M500 960GB 1GB Marvell 88SS9187 20nm Micron sync MLC
Crucial M550 256GB 256MB Marvell 88SS9189 20nm Micron sync MLC
Crucial M550 512GB 512MB Marvell 88SS9189 20nm Micron sync MLC
Crucial M550 1TB 1GB Marvell 88SS9189 20nm Micron sync MLC
Crucial MX100 256GB 256MB Marvell 88SS9189 16nm Micron sync MLC
Crucial MX100 512GB 512MB Marvell 88SS9189 16nm Micron sync MLC
Intel 335 Series 240GB NA SandForce SF-2281 20nm Intel sync MLC
Intel 520 Series 240GB NA SandForce SF-2281 25nm Intel sync MLC
Intel 730 Series 480GB 1GB Intel PC29AS21CA0 20nm Intel sync MLC
OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 512MB Indilinx Everest 2 25nm Micron sync MLC
OCZ Vertex 450 256GB 512MB Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 20nm Intel sync MLC
SanDisk Extreme II 240GB 256MB Marvell 88SS9187 19nm SanDisk Toggle SLC/MLC
Samsung 840 Series 250GB 512MB Samsung MDX 21nm Samsung Toggle TLC
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 256MB Samsung MEX 19nm Samsung Toggle TLC
Samsung 840 EVO 500GB 512MB Samsung MEX 19nm Samsung Toggle TLC
Samsung 840 EVO 1TB 1GB Samsung MEX 19nm Samsung Toggle TLC
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB 512MB Samsung MDX 21nm Samsung Toggle MLC
Seagate 600 SSD 240GB 256MB LAMD LM87800 19nm Toshiba Toggle MLC
Seagate Desktop SSHD 2TB 64MB NA 24nm Toshiba Toggle SLC/MLC
WD Caviar Black 1TB 64MB NA NA

Our main body of results contains some of the most popular SSDs around. The bulk of the field is in the 240-256GB range, and most of those drives have 32-die configurations with no performance handicaps. For the Crucial M500, M550, MX100, and Samsung 840 EVO, whose lower-capacity flavors are tagged with slower specs, we have results for multiple capacities, including the fastest models. You can find full reviews of most of the drives in our storage section.

The solid-state crowd is augmented by a couple of mechanical drives. WD’s Caviar Black 1TB represents the old-school hard drive camp. Seagate’s Desktop SSHD 2TB is along for the ride, as well. The SSHD combines mechanical platters with 8GB of flash cache, but like the Caviar Black, it’s really not a direct competitor to the SSDs. The mechanical and hybrid drives are meant to provide additional context for our SSD results.

We used the following system configuration for testing:

Processor Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz
CPU cooler Thermaltake Frio
Motherboard Asus P8P67 Deluxe
Bios revision 1850
Platform hub Intel P67 Express
Platform drivers INF update 9.2.0.1030

RST 10.6.0.1022

Memory size 8GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
Memory timings 9-9-9-24-1T
Audio Realtek ALC892 with 2.62 drivers
Graphics Asus EAH6670/DIS/1GD5 1GB with Catalyst 11.7 drivers
Hard drives Seagate Desktop SSHD 2TB with CC43 firmware

WD Caviar Black 1TB with 05.01D05 firmware

Corsair Force Series GT 240GB with 1.3.2 firmware

Corsair Neutron 240GB with M206 firmware

Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB with M206 firmware

Crucial MX100 256GB with MU01 firmware

Crucial MX100 512GB with MU01 firmware

Crucial M500 240GB with MU03 firmware

Crucial M500 480GB with MU03 firmware

Crucial M500 960GB with MU03 firmware

Crucial M550 256GB with MU01 firmware

Crucial M550 1TB with MU01 firmware

Intel 335 Series 240GB with 335s firmware

Intel 520 Series 240GB with 400i firmware

Intel 730 Series 480GB with XXX firmware

OCZ Vector 150 256GB with 1.1 firmware

OCZ Vertex 450 256GB with 1.0 firmware

SanDisk Extreme II 240GB with R1131

Samsung 830 Series 256GB with CXM03B1Q firmware

Samsung 840 Series 250GB with DXT07B0Q firmware

Samsung 840 EVO 250GB with EXT0AB0Q firmware

Samsung 840 EVO 500GB with EXT0AB0Q firmware

Samsung 840 EVO 1TB with EXT0AB0Q firmware

Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB with DXM04B0Q firmware

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB with B660 firmware

Power supply Corsair Professional Series Gold AX650W
OS Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Thanks to Asus for providing the systems’ motherboards and graphics cards, Intel for the CPUs, Corsair for the memory and PSUs, Thermaltake for the CPU coolers, and Western Digital for the Caviar Black 1TB system drives.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

Some further notes on our test methods:

  • To ensure consistent and repeatable results, the SSDs were secure-erased before almost every component of our test suite. Some of our tests then put the SSDs into a used state before the workload begins, which better exposes each drive’s long-term performance characteristics. In other tests, like DriveBench and FileBench, we induce a used state before testing. In all cases, the SSDs were in the same state before each test, ensuring an even playing field. The performance of mechanical hard drives is much more consistent between factory fresh and used states, so we skipped wiping the HDDs before each test—mechanical drives take forever to secure erase.

  • We run all our tests at least three times and report the median of the results. We’ve found IOMeter performance can fall off with SSDs after the first couple of runs, so we use five runs for solid-state drives and throw out the first two.

  • Steps have been taken to ensure that Sandy Bridge’s power-saving features don’t taint any of our results. All of the CPU’s low-power states have been disabled, effectively pegging the 2500K at 3.3GHz. Transitioning in and out of different power states can affect the performance of storage benchmarks, especially when dealing with short burst transfers.

The test systems’ Windows desktop was set at 1280×1024 in 32-bit color at a 75Hz screen refresh rate. Most of the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

Conclusions

Before we weigh in with our final verdict, we’ll bust out a few of our famous value scatter plots. These plots use an overall performance score derived by comparing how each drive stacks up against a common baseline. This score is based on a subset of the performance data from our full suite, but with CrystalDiskMark’s sequential transfer rates substituted for older HD Tune scores. (More details about how we calculate overall performance are available here.)

We’ve mashed up the overall scores with per-gigabyte prices from Newegg. (Crucial’s suggested retail prices were used for the MX100, since it’s not selling online as I write this.) The best solutions will gravitate toward the upper left corner of the plot, which signifies high performance and low prices.

Solid-state and mechanical storage have vastly different performance and prices, and those disparities make the main plot a little busy. Click the buttons below the plot to switch between all the drives and a cropped look at just the SSDs—and keep in mind that we’ve trimmed the axes for the SSD-only plot.


The MX100s have lower per-gigabyte prices than all the other SSDs. The 256GB version doesn’t score especially well in our overall performance metric, but it’s definitely faster than the equivalent M500, and it’s a fair bit cheaper than the M550. Samsung’s 840 EVO 250GB is perhaps the most appropriate competition outside Crucial’s stable. That drive is faster overall, but it’s pricier, too.

Most of the top SSDs are clustered in a relatively narrow performance band. The MX100 512GB is fast enough to keep up with that group, and its low cost per gig lands the drive in a particularly enviable position on our plots. The budget-oriented drive nearly matches the overall performance of its pricier M550 counterpart, which will probably make for some uncomfortable family gatherings. We’re not complaining, though. Agressive pricing is a big part of the MX100’s appeal.

Now, the MX100 still has some issues. The lack of utility software is disappointing, especially for a product that targets upgraders and everyday consumers. Even seasoned enthusiasts are likely to be frustrated by Crucial’s propensity to obscure vital SSD statistics.

Crucial MX100 512GB

June 2014

Also, the use of 16GB NAND dies compromises performance on the 256GB model. Even the 512GB struggles in some scenarios, so power users running storage-intensive applications should probably give the MX100 a pass. That said, the drive is speedy enough for typical desktop work, and even the 256GB version is a huge improvement over old-school hard drives.

In fact, the MX100 256GB might be the most compelling SSD for those seeking to free themselves from the shackles of mechanical storage. At $109.99 online, it’s easily affordable even for budget-minded builds. And, with 256GB of storage, there’s plenty of room for an operating system, applications, and a decent number of games. Throw in power-loss protection, AES encryption, and Crucial’s strong reliability reputation, and the MX100 looks like the budget SSD to beat.

While the 256GB version is good enough for our TR Recommended award, its 512GB sibling deserves Editor’s Choice distinction. That drive avoids some of the performance pitfalls associated with the smaller version, but it’s just as cheap per gig. The $224.99 asking price is about what SSD vendors were charging for 256GB drives last year, which is a pretty sweet deal.

For a while, we’ve been recommending that folks purchase the biggest SSD they can afford from a reputable vendor. It’s better to have more solid-state storage than a slightly faster SSD, we think, and the MX100 fits that focus perfectly.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 5 years ago

    I’ve just bought a dozen 128GB MX100’s
    I’m not expecting miracles but I’ll report my findings when they arrive. My SSD-buying criteria are:

    1) Is it from a brand associated with reliability?
    2) Is it at the top of the list when I sort by price (ascending)?
    3) Is it fast enough for us?
    4) Can I fit our 74GB deployment image on it?

    The MX100 passed all four checks this afternoon.

      • Chrispy_
      • 5 years ago

      So far, not so good.

      This is the first SSD that hasn’t worked with our image. No idea why but 3 for 3 failures so far. I doubt the drives are faulty, but it’s incompatible with our image where various different Kingstons, Samsungs, other Crucials, Toshibas, Sansdisks, and ADATAs have worked just fine.

      I’ll poke around with sector resizing and different partition sizing but ho-hum, I’m a little confused.

    • wagsbags
    • 5 years ago

    On sale today at tigerdirect. $20 off the 512, $10 off the other sizes. Tempting….

    • deruberhanyok
    • 5 years ago

    I snagged a 240GB M500 a couple months back for about $90 – Amazon was doing 20% off if you used your Amazon Visa, so I took them up on the offer – and I was expecting this was just because the M550 was out so they were clearing stock.

    I see now it wasn’t just because of the M550 – Crucial had plans for “mainstream” SSDs and, unless you want the 960GB M500, there’s no reason to get one of them anymore.

    These look really nice, and I’m hoping we’ll see mSATA or m.2 variants of them soon.

    • anotherengineer
    • 5 years ago

    Hmmmm Where are the cheapy 2TB versions, so I can replace the dual 640GB spinners in my NAS??

      • stdRaichu
      • 5 years ago

      Given that the 88SS9189 controller is eight channels, think we’ll need either twice as many chips (128*16GB) or the arrival of 32GB chips in order for that to happen, sadly, since I don’t think 16-channel controllers are on anyones horizon in the consumer SSD world. IIRC the M550 1TB uses 64*16GB and I think eight dies per channel is a fundamental limit of the controller, but I could be wrong.

      Been waiting for the day of a cheap 2TB SSD for a long time too 🙂

        • anotherengineer
        • 5 years ago

        [url<]https://techreport.com/news/26569/adata-next-gen-sandforce-ssds-break-cover-at-computex[/url<] There we go, that's what I'm talking about. Now if it is at the price/GB as the MX100, that would be the next upgrade for the laptop and desktop.

          • stdRaichu
          • 5 years ago

          I saw that after I posted 🙂

          The whole OCZ debacle left a bad taste in my mouth for sandforce controllers however but I’ll be happy to see what others come out with, as well as pricing, in the coming months.

    • windwalker
    • 5 years ago

    Has anyone been keeping track of all the people we were supposed to wake up when SSDs became cheap?
    It’s time for the wake up call.

      • My Johnson
      • 5 years ago

      Mine is hand me down free. 🙂

      • flip-mode
      • 5 years ago

      I woke up a year ago.

      • jihadjoe
      • 5 years ago

      Well this is below $.50/GB, so it’s time to wake up MMO:
      [url<]https://techreport.com/discussion/23149/ssd-prices-in-steady-substantial-decline?post=646447[/url<]

        • MadManOriginal
        • 5 years ago

        I am pretty sure at that point I was just perpetuating the meme. I have had an SSD since 2010.

    • Prestige Worldwide
    • 5 years ago

    WAWAWEEWA.

    DAT PRICE ON 512GB

    • KamikaseRider
    • 5 years ago

    Just bought the 512gb from amazon. This was exactly what I’ve been waiting for.

    • willmore
    • 5 years ago

    Looks like the 256GB version is for sale from NewEgg for list price:
    [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148820[/url<] Oh, looks like the 512GB version is selling for list price, too. How nice is it to see a real launch?

      • mcnabney
      • 5 years ago

      Just wait till the cryptocurrency miners figure out some way to use them.

        • Visigoth
        • 5 years ago

        Hell no! They better keep their greasy hands off Crucial’s wonderful SSD’s.

        • UnfriendlyFire
        • 5 years ago

        Or when Titanfall 2 requires 400 GB of storage space.

        Mostly uncompressed audio and textures as usual. And maybe some junk files that were created during the development.

      • [+Duracell-]
      • 5 years ago

      It’s selling for below list prices at some sights with a coupon code. The 512GB version is $199 after coupon code on TigerDirect!

    • travbrad
    • 5 years ago

    For the kind of stuff I do seeing SSD prices drop is a lot more exciting than seeing SSDs with higher performance. Getting my whole game/Steam library on a SSD is a lot more appealing than improving my boot/load times by 0.1 seconds.

    Unless you are copying files nonstop every day or running a busy server the performance differences between different SSDs just won’t be noticeable.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 5 years ago

      I agree. Performance at high cost in SSD’s is not just unnecessary, it’s actually a boring read now. SATA is mostly maxed. Performance improvements at the high end of the cost range are mostly going unseen at this point, yet the majority of reviewers still act like that magic number on the benchmark means a thing to the end user. It doesn’t.

      What matters now is cost. Get these things down to 1 TB being affordable and magical things start happening. Look at what happened when 512-ish GB SSD’s suddenly showed up at vaguely affordable pricing. Suddenly, the stagnant hard drive companies that spent literally YEARS milking the hell out of 3-4 TB drives blinked, looked up, dropped the prices on all their 3-4 TB drives, and then as though by magic had 6-8 TB drives in the works.

      It’s almost like they waited until SSD’s got to the point where a 1 TB drive was almost certain to be coming, realized 1TB is enough for MOST people and easily one of (if not) the most popular sizes for drives, and then turned to their production assistants. “The Milking must continue. No longer will our 4TB drives suffice. Begin production of the greater than 4TB drives we designed years ago.”

      And so it was done. We need SSD’s to go after the cheapseats, not just the Richie McRichbritches of the world.

      • Firestarter
      • 5 years ago

      That’s why I’m puzzled that there’s no 1TB variant like the M550. I’m not interested in a 256GB SSD anymore, I want moar, for less!

      • flip-mode
      • 5 years ago

      this

    • NovusBogus
    • 5 years ago

    I’ll be ordering a Bay Trail Brix as soon as it hits store shelves, and I’m really tempted to get one of these instead of a cheap mechanical. 256GB would be more than enough for a dual boot, totally silent, and would only cost about $40 more than a legit 2.5″ mechanical notebook drive.

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 5 years ago

    So, any words about the SSD endurance run? It’s been a while.

    On a side note, I purchased a M500 240GB for $110 two months ago, though I haven’t opened the box yet (because I need it for a new laptop purchase sometime during June).

    I’m assuming the MX100 256GB is a bit faster for the same price?

    Oh well. Not worth going through Amazon’s return policy and paying the restocking fee.

      • Dissonance
      • 5 years ago

      The MX100 actually interrupted my work on the next endurance update, so that’s coming soon. Just need to write.

      As for the M500 240GB, this review is filled with graphs that show exactly how it compares to the MX100 256GB 😉

        • Visigoth
        • 5 years ago

        Thanks for the awesome work on this! If possible, with the next endurance test, could you please include a Crucial SSD in it?

          • Shambles
          • 5 years ago

          If he does another endurance test he might have to write instructions in his will in case the drives out-live him. *knock on wood*

    • MarkG509
    • 5 years ago

    Crucial seems stuck on the 72TB write endurance figure, to the point where I’m suspect that’s a ‘real’ number based on something other than just marketing speak. They’ve consistently used that number through three generations of flash, regardless of total size or over-provisioning.

      • Stickmansam
      • 5 years ago

      I’m thinking that’s the basic level of validation for write endurance

      Theres no point spending more money to validate for more than 72TB of writes since most consumers don’t need more than that

        • Freon
        • 5 years ago

        Checked my Samsung 830, ~1.5 year, 8.5TB write used up according to Samsung SSD Magician. 72TB is probably acceptable, but I’d prefer to see a bit more.

      • Buzzard44
      • 5 years ago

      Yeah, for a 240GB drive or a 1TB drive, they say 72TB – that doesn’t make sense.

      Unless you read stickman’s post, which makes a lot of sense. +2 to him.

      • dbrad
      • 5 years ago

      240GB vs 1TB does make sense

      The 72TB is based on 40GB per day for a consumer throughput (its a lot) and 72TB satisfies most consumers as a bench point. Also, there is likely premise that a consumer using a 240GB will have a data level/concentration of say 70% usage of the disk before the consideration for a bigger drive is considered necessary. Applying the same consideration to a 1TB would be reasonable.

      Most consumer users will use a large disk for long-term storage (movies, photos, ……..) and therefore most big files are not transitioned too much. So hitting the 40GB per day is unlikely.

      The biggest transition on a disk of files will be the use of applications that involve storage of events (such as the OSs with monthly updates, continuous log files,…….) OSs are still typically below the 100GB mark. Others would be applications with databases, however, database indexes are small in comparison to the data artifacts being managed and stored [photo/movie artifacts in a S/W album].

      So the transitioning part of data on the disk is still a small set of files (i.e. OSs) which is the same size for a 240GB or a 1TB disk. (This is a very rough consideration.)

      Now enterprise use is different as this typically involves many. many users affecting (altering) the data on drives through an application (maybe 40GB per day is way low). Whereas a consumer use is a single user.

      My SSD need is one of power consumption at both IDLE and ACTIVE as I use a laptop. Its not often the drive will be idle, what with OSs doing all kinds of things in the background. But the SSD with the lowest idle/active power point against a HDD is my interest. But this is another story of usage at the idle and active use patterns.

    • Stickmansam
    • 5 years ago

    Makes me wonder what is different about the MX100 compared to the Adata SP920 since both are 128bit die and same controller and supposedly same firmware?

    Makes me regret my SP920 purchase two weeks ago *sigh*

      • derFunkenstein
      • 5 years ago

      I thought about jumping on the PNY for my wife because I’ve had good luck with their memory and GeForces, but my stalling has produced a new challenger.

        • Stickmansam
        • 5 years ago

        I was thinking PNY but I opted for the Adata as it was a bit cheaper at the time

        Given that it was basically a rebranded M550, I felt that was good enough

        • Prestige Worldwide
        • 5 years ago

        Ehhhh…. I got a PNY GTX 670 for dirt cheap last year ($280 after MIR)… and I’ve got to say, it’s the most obnoxiously loud GPU I’ve ever had.

        Just terrible when compared to the EVGA GTX 670 FTW in my main rig, and an annoyance to my wife and myself when using it on our living room PC.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 5 years ago

          I’m not like a hardcore PNY buyer or anything – my wife’s PC has 2x4GB of their DDR3-1600, and the GPU I had 2 GPUs ago was a PNY GTS8800 that just had a reference cooler. Too bad about the 670 – no excuse for loud cooling nowadays.

    • albundy
    • 5 years ago

    Caviar black is 17MB/sec in the TR File bench? are you coping from one sector to another or to another drive? even then, it shouldnt be this slow. this is like PATA speeds circa 1993. Hell, even my WD el cheapo green’s copy at least 60MB/sec.

      • Dissonance
      • 5 years ago

      That’s copying from the drive to itself. And yeah, it’s that slow with smaller files. Newer mechanical drives fare better: [url<]https://techreport.com/review/25464/seagate-nas-hdd-4tb-reviewed/7[/url<]

        • MadManOriginal
        • 5 years ago

        Maybe it’s time to include some more modern HDDs in the SSD reviews then? They are pretty poor $/GB too being near the lowest common capacity they suffer from the price floor effect, 2TB drives offer much better $/GB.

      • Jason181
      • 5 years ago

      50,000 files that are 64k or so average. It’s gonna be slow on a mechanical. I have a OCZ Vertex 3 ssd, and it completely smokes my 4-drive WD Black RAID 5 array in most things. Sequential reads and writes are the only thing the raid array comes even close in.

      • Deanjo
      • 5 years ago

      Ya I could never understand that test being ran on the same drive. There isn’t many times a person would be copying a ton of small files over to the same drive. It’s not too “real world” of a test.

        • Firestarter
        • 5 years ago

        How many drives do you think an average computer has? I think you’ll find the answer is closer to 1 than you suspect.

          • travbrad
          • 5 years ago

          Not only that but people may have more than one PC, including a laptop which may not have room for a bunch of extra drives. In fact I’d say there are more people with multiple PCs than people with multiple hard drives (and almost none of them backup anything of course)

            • Firestarter
            • 5 years ago

            Right, so do you have a 10 gigabit/s network at home? Because most HDDs will saturate a 1 gigabit/s network with sequential transfers, let alone SSDs.

            • mcnabney
            • 5 years ago

            This is quite true. Mechanical drives have no problem saturating GigE. Putting an SSD on a ‘server’ on a GigE network accomplishes nothing.

            • stdRaichu
            • 5 years ago

            …if access over the network is always sequential, which is frequently isn’t. I have an iSCSI target on my NAS which got noticeably higher throughput on random IO once I put a write-through SSD cache in place. File servers benefit from this as well if there’s more than a couple of users.

            • mcnabney
            • 5 years ago

            Yeah, but who puts non-sequential stuff on home servers? Do you really think somebody out there installed Steam games or their swap-file on a share/target? Video, media, music, backups – those are what go across home networks.

            • stdRaichu
            • 5 years ago

            Even with large files that are accessed sequentially, the load becomes increasingly random as you add more users, all asking for a different set of sequential bytes at the same time.

            • Waco
            • 5 years ago

            And you think home users ever have more than a few people hitting it at once?

            Even the most basic NAS can saturate gigabit even with a few people banging on it…and any halfway decent one can saturate far more than a gigabit connection.

            • stdRaichu
            • 5 years ago

            No I don’t, and at no point did I say so.

            But since you bring up home NAS units, my first QNAP would easily be brought to its knees if two people were writing or reading/writing to it at the same time, and its CPU wasn’t powerful enough to saturate a gigabit interface at the best of times. Thankfully they’ve come a long way since then.

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