Crucial’s MX300 SSD reviewed

3D is all the rage these days. Every Hollywood action flick worth its salt gets screened in both two- and three-dimensional formats, VR is pushing hapless early adopters to stumble over unseen living room furniture, and even Intel is encouraging NUC modders to 3D-print custom lids for their tiny little boxes.

Not even the utilitarian storage market is immune to the trend. Akin to how PCIe and NVMe have long been lurking around the corner, 3D NAND flash technologies have been threatening to rewrite the SSD landscape for a long while. But until now, only Samsung has actually released consumer drives featuring vertically stacked cells. The other manufacturers have been content to dribble out mere hints, announcements, and press releases.

Micron has finally cranked that faucet all the way open and taken the wraps off of its first 3D NAND-equipped SSD, the Crucial MX300. Micron’s 3D NAND is one of the more recent products of the company’s longstanding NAND partnership with Intel. The MX300 boasts the high-end feature list and performance specs we’d expect out of an MX-series drive, but there are couple of major shakeups under the hood. One is obviously the 3D NAND. The other is a more dubious “upgrade.” Micron’s seen fit to deploy that 3D NAND in a TLC configuration, replacing the MLC we’d grown attached to in the MX100 and MX200.

This isn’t the first time that Micron has taken an existing product line and sneaked in an extra bit-per-cell. Not so long ago, we reviewed the newly-TLC-based BX200 and were left unimpressed by its regression in performance versus its well-received predecessor, the BX100. Let’s hope that Micron has learned from that experience and has reason enough to gamble the MX series’ good name on TLC.

We should take a moment here to talk about what’s different about Intel and Micron’s 3D NAND. Planar NAND of all sorts has long been based on floating-gate transistors. To create its stacked flash product, Samsung abandoned floating gates and moved to charge-trap flash, the details of which we discussed at length when we first reviewed the 850 series of drives. Intel and Micron were more stubborn, betting their 3D NAND money on the floating-gate horse. While that choice allowed Samsung to take V-NAND to market first, Intel and Micron believe that their combined ability to leverage years of floating-gate infrastructure and expertise will give them an advantage in the long run.

The first generation of this 3D NAND stacks 32 layers into 256-gigabit MLC or 384-gigabit TLC configurations. As we’ve already noted, the MX300 uses the 384-gigabit TLC stuff. This is remarkable density. Samsung’s first-generation V-NAND (also 32-layer) only maxed out at 128Gb in a TLC die. Even Samsung’s second-generation, 48-layer stuff only peaks at 256Gb in a TLC die. Intel and Micron have been hinting that the prodigious density of their flash might eventually lead to monster 10TB SSDs in 2.5″ form factors.

For today, we’ll have to settle for a 750GB drive. This somewhat unusual capacity is a limited-edition flavor of the MX300, but it’s the only one available at launch. I’d say that Micron’s taking some Founders Edition cues from Nvidia here, but its suggested retail price for the MX300 is actually pretty reasonable at $199.99. Eventually, the product line will be fleshed out with 275GB, 525GB, and 1050GB versions, but Micron isn’t ready to release performance ratings for those drives just yet.

Crucial MX300
Capacity Max sequential (MB/s) Max random (IOps)
Read Write Read Write
750GB 530 510 92k 83k

The NAND inside the MX300 is distributed over eight packages, each of which contains two 384Gb 3D NAND dies. We routinely see SSDs which bundle as many as 16 dies into a single package, so those vague promises of 10TB in a 2.5″ drive are starting to sound pretty realistic.

Alongside the NAND packages is a fresh face: Marvell’s 88SS1074 controller. The Crucial MX series of drives has always been powered by Marvell controllers, but this chip is one of the newer ones in the company’s stable. It’s been targeted squarely at the burgeoning TLC SSD market, so it’s no shock to see that it’s been popping up in newer TLC drives like SanDisk’s X400 and Plextor’s M7V. We haven’t gotten our hands on either of those drives yet, so this is the first time we’ve had the controller in TR’s storage labs. It has all the bells and whistles you’d expect a modern SSD controller to have, like support for DevSleep and 256-bit AES hardware encryption acceleration.

In fact, the MX300 meets all the desirable encryption standards: eDrive, IEEE-1667, and TCG Opal 2.0. Another feature worth mentioning is Dynamic Write Acceleration, Micron’s implementation of a pseudo-SLC cache (see our M600 review for details). Crucial’s warranty covers the MX300 for three years, much like the warranties on the MX100 and MX200 before it. The 750GB drive has a rated lifespan of 220TB total bytes written, but the truly diligent can use the included free copy of Acronis True Image HD to ensure that their precious data outlives both the warranty and the endurance spec.

Now put on your 3D glasses, because it’s time for the show.

 

IOMeter — Sequential and random performance

IOMeter fuels much of our latest storage test suite, including our sequential and random I/O tests. These tests are run across the full capacity of the drive at two queue depths. The QD1 tests simulate a single thread, while the QD4 results emulate a more demanding desktop workload. For perspective, 87% of the requests in our old DriveBench 2.0 trace of real-world desktop activity have a queue depth of four or less. Clicking the buttons below the graphs switches between results charted at the different queue depths.

Our sequential tests use a relatively large 128KB block size.



The MX300’s sequential read speeds are great, handily beating the MX200’s QD1 speeds and coming close to matching its QD4 speeds. It doesn’t fare quite as well on the sequential write side—both the BX100 and MX200 write significantly faster. The MX300 will have to take solace in the fact that it slaughters the BX200’s writes. But then again, even I can write faster than the BX200 if I’m equipped with a decent pen.



The MX300’s random results are the opposite of its sequential numbers. The drive posts read response times that are slower than most, but its write response times are excellent. That’s Dynamic Write Acceleration at its finest. But DWA isn’t a cure-all, so let’s see what happens when it isn’t allowed to work its magic.

 

Sustained and scaling I/O rates

Our sustained IOMeter test hammers drives with 4KB random writes for 30 minutes straight. It uses a queue depth of 32, a setting which should result in higher speeds that saturate each drive’s overprovisioned area more quickly. This lengthy—and heavy—workload isn’t indicative of typical PC use, but it provides a sense of how the drives react when they’re pushed to the brink.

We’re reporting IOps rather than response times for these tests. Click the buttons below the graph to switch between SSDs.


To show the data in a slightly different light, we’ve graphed the peak random-write rate and the average, steady-state speed over the last minute of the test.

The MX300’s peak speeds are right up there with the MX200’s. This drive’s steady-state speeds just can’t compete with its predecessor’s, though. Dynamic Write Acceleration makes the drive go like hell when it can, but once those tricks are exhausted, even 3D TLC can’t stand up to good old MLC NAND.

Our final IOMeter test examines performance scaling across a broad range of queue depths. We ramp all the way up to a queue depth of 128. Don’t expect AHCI-based drives to scale past 32, though—that’s the maximum depth of their native command queues.

For this test, we use a database access pattern comprising 66% reads and 33% writes, all of which are random. The test runs after 30 minutes of continuous random writes that put the drives in a simulated used state. Click the buttons below the graph to switch between the different drives. And note that the P3700 plot uses a much larger scale.


It’s a pretty gentle slope, but it does go up. We like it when SATA drives scale even a little bit. Let’s see how the MX300’s scaling compares to the rest of the Crucial lineup.


No touching! Amusingly, the scaling curves of the Crucial drives don’t end up intersecting at all. If queue depth scaling with a database access pattern is important to you, Crucial offers four distinct, non-overlapping behaviors to pick from. Choose your own adventure.

On the next page we put aside IOMeter to see how the MX300 performs with real-world file I/O.

 

TR RoboBench — Real-world transfers

RoboBench trades synthetic tests with random data for real-world transfers with a range of file types. Developed by our in-house coder, Bruno “morphine” Ferreira, this benchmark relies on the multi-threaded robocopy command build into Windows. We copy files to and from a wicked-fast RAM disk to measure read and write performance. We also cut the RAM disk out of the loop for a copy test that transfers the files to a different location on the SSD.

Robocopy uses eight threads by default, and we’ve also run it with a single thread. Our results are split between two file sets, whose vital statistics are detailed below. The compressibility percentage is based on the size of the file set after it’s been crunched by 7-Zip.

  Number of files Average file size Total size Compressibility
Media 459 21.4MB 9.58GB 0.8%
Work 84,652 48.0KB 3.87GB 59%

The media set is made up of large movie files, high-bitrate MP3s, and 18-megapixel RAW and JPG images. There are only a few hundred files in total, and the data set isn’t amenable to compression. The work set comprises loads of TR files, including documents, spreadsheets, and web-optimized images. It also includes a stack of programming-related files associated with our old Mozilla compiling test and the Visual Studio test on the next page. The average file size is measured in kilobytes rather than megabytes, and the files are mostly compressible.

RoboBench’s write and copy tests run after the drives have been put into a simulated used state with 30 minutes of 4KB random writes. The pre-conditioning process is scripted, as is the rest of the test, ensuring that drives have the same amount of time to recover.

Let’s take a look at the media set first. The buttons switch between read, write, and copy results.



Not too shabby at all. The MX300 may seem to fall on the low side of the rankings in the read test, but going by raw value, it’s right in the performance band we expect out of SATA drives. The MX300 redeems itself by ending up toward the top of our SATA contenders in our write and copy tests. The 850 Pro’s MLC V-NAND writes barely any faster than Micron’s TLC 3D NAND here. Color me impressed.

Next up, let’s see how the drive does with our work set.



The work set doesn’t reveal any anomalies. The MX300 puts up roughly middle-of-the-pack speeds across read, write, and copy tests whether the test is single- or eight-threaded.

RoboBench gave us only good news. While the MX300’s results here are largely unremarkable, unremarkable is exactly what we want to see when a product line makes the transition from MLC to TLC. Micron’s 3D NAND might just be able to pull off the switch without masses of disgruntled enthusiasts taking to message boards with hurtful words. Next, we check to see if the MX300 can hack it as a primary boot drive.

 

Boot times

Until now, all of our tests have been conducted with the SSDs connected as secondary storage. This next batch uses them as system drives.

We’ll start with boot times measured two ways. The bare test depicts the time between hitting the power button and reaching the Windows desktop, while the loaded test adds the time needed to load four applications—Avidemux, LibreOffice, GIMP, and Visual Studio Express—automatically from the startup folder. Our old boot tests focused on the time required to load the OS, but these new ones cover the entire process, including drive initialization.

The MX300 boots up quickly and without fuss. As we’ve been saying for years, getting any SSD at all is about as much as you can do to improve startup times. The MX300 would do nicely if any of you are somehow still plodding along on spinning platters.

Load times

Next, we’ll tackle load times with two sets of tests. The first group focuses on the time required to load larger files in a collection of desktop applications. We open a 790MB 4K video in Avidemux, a 30MB spreadsheet in LibreOffice, and a 523MB image file in the GIMP. In the Visual Studio Express test, we open a 159MB project containing source code for the LLVM toolchain. Thanks to Rui Figueira for providing the project code.

Again, nothing out of the ordinary here. Application load times are absurdly predictable across all manner of SSDs. Let’s check how quickly the MX300 launches some of our Steam games.

Middlingly quickly, it turns out. Game loading time has never been a great way to tease out differences in SSD performance, and today is not the day it becomes one.

That’s all of our tests. Hit the next page for a breakdown of our test setup. Or skip right ahead to the conclusion.

 

Test notes and methods

Here are the essential details for all the drives we tested:

  Interface Flash controller NAND
Crucial BX100 500GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2246EN 16-nm Micron MLC
Crucial BX200 480GB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2256 16-nm Micron TLC
Crucial MX200 500GB SATA 6Gbps Marvell 88SS9189 16-nm Micron MLC
Crucial MX300 750GB SATA 6Gbps Marvell 88SS1074 32-layer Micron 3D TLC
Intel X25-M G2 160GB SATA 3Gbps Intel PC29AS21BA0 34-nm Intel MLC
Intel 335 Series 240GB SATA 6Gbps SandForce SF-2281 20-nm Intel MLC
Intel 730 Series 480GB SATA 6Gbps Intel PC29AS21CA0 20-nm Intel MLC
Intel 750 Series 1.2TB PCIe Gen3 x4 Intel CH29AE41AB0 20-nm Intel MLC
Intel DC P3700 800GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Intel CH29AE41AB0 20-nm Intel MLC
Mushkin Reactor 1TB SATA 6Gbps Silicon Motion SM2246EN 16-nm Micron MLC
OCZ Arc 100 240GB SATA 6Gbps Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 A19-nm Toshiba MLC
OCZ Trion 100 480GB SATA 6Gbps Toshiba TC58 A19-nm Toshiba TLC
OCZ Trion 150 480GB SATA 6Gbps Toshiba TC58 15-nm Toshiba TLC
OCZ Vector 180 240GB SATA 6Gbps Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 A19-nm Toshiba MLC
OCZ Vector 180 960GB SATA 6Gbps Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 A19-nm Toshiba MLC
Plextor M6e 256GB PCIe Gen2 x2 Marvell 88SS9183 19-nm Toshiba MLC
Samsung 850 EV0 250GB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MGX 32-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 850 EV0 1TB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MEX 32-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung 850 Pro 500GB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MEX 32-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung UBX 32-layer Samsung MLC
Samsung SM951 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Samsung S4LN058A01X01 16-nm Samsung MLC
Samsung XP941 256GB PCIe Gen2 x4 Samsung S4LN053X01 19-nm Samsung MLC
Toshiba OCZ RD400 512GB PCIe Gen3 x4 Toshiba 15-nm Toshiba MLC
Transcend SSD370 256GB SATA 6Gpbs Transcend TS6500 Micron or SanDisk MLC
Transcend SSD370 1TB SATA 6Gpbs Transcend TS6500 Micron or SanDisk MLC

All the SATA SSDs were connected to the motherboard’s Z97 chipset. The M6e was connected to the Z97 via the motherboard’s M.2 slot, which is how we’d expect most folks to run that drive. Since the XP941 and 950 Pro requires more lanes, they were connected to the CPU via a PCIe adapter card. The 750 Series and DC P3700 were hooked up to the CPU via the same full-sized PCIe slot.

We used the following system for testing:

Processor Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz
Motherboard Asus Z97-Pro
Firmware 2601
Platform hub Intel Z97
Platform drivers Chipset: 10.0.0.13

RST: 13.2.4.1000

Memory size 16GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Adata XPG V3 DDR3 at 1600 MT/s
Memory timings 11-11-11-28-1T
Audio Realtek ALC1150 with 6.0.1.7344 drivers
System drive Corsair Force LS 240GB with S8FM07.9 firmware
Storage Crucial BX100 500GB with MU01 firmware

Crucial BX200 480GB with MU01.4 firmware

Crucial MX200 500GB with MU01 firmware

Intel 335 Series 240GB with 335u firmware

Intel 730 Series 480GB with L2010400 firmware

Intel 750 Series 1.2GB with 8EV10171 firmware

Intel DC P3700 800GB with 8DV10043 firmware

Intel X25-M G2 160GB with 8820 firmware

Plextor M6e 256GB with 1.04 firmware

OCZ Trion 100 480GB with 11.2 firmware

OCZ Trion 150 480GB with 12.2 firmware

OCZ Vector 180 240GB with 1.0 firmware

OCZ Vector 180 960GB with 1.0 firmware

Samsung 850 EVO 250GB with EMT01B6Q firmware

Samsung 850 EVO 1TB with EMT01B6Q firmware

Samsung 850 Pro 500GB with EMXM01B6Q firmware

Samsung 950 Pro 512GB with 1B0QBXX7 firmware

Samsung XP941 256GB with UXM6501Q firmware

Transcend SSD370 256GB with O0918B firmware

Transcend SSD370 1TB with O0919A firmware

Power supply Corsair AX650 650W
Case Fractal Design Define R5
Operating system Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Thanks to Asus for providing the systems’ motherboards, to Intel for the CPUs, to Adata for the memory, to Fractal Design for the cases, and to Corsair for the system drives and PSUs. And thanks to the drive makers for supplying the rest of the SSDs.

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 every component of our test suite. For the IOMeter database, RoboBench write, and RoboBench copy tests, the drives were put in a simulated used state that better exposes long-term performance characteristics. Those tests are all scripted, ensuring an even playing field that gives the drives the same amount of time to recover from the initial used state.

  • We run virtually all our tests three times and report the median of the results. Our sustained IOMeter test is run a second time to verify the results of the first test and additional times only if necessary. The sustained test runs for 30 minutes continuously, so it already samples performance over a long period.

  • Steps have been taken to ensure the CPU’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 frequency at 3.5GHz. Transitioning between power states can affect the performance of storage benchmarks, especially when dealing with short burst transfers.

The test systems’ Windows desktop was set at 1920×1080 at 60Hz. 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

As usual, let’s condense the MX300’s performance results into a single rating before we make any sweeping judgements. We distill the overall performance rating using an older SATA SSD as a baseline. To compare each drive, we then take the geometric mean of a basket of results from our test suite. Only drives which have been through the entire current test suite on our current rig are represented.

By this measure, the performance of the MX300 750GB lands exactly in line with the MX200 500GB we reviewed a while back. Can’t make this stuff up, folks. Our fears that the drive would turn out to be a BX200-style misstep turned out to be unfounded. Micron has succeeded in keeping the bar for the MX series’ performance at the same height. That’s not to say that the MX300 is a drop-in replacement for the MX200. Our testing suite exposed noticeable differences between the two drives’ performance characteristics in some tests. Taken in the aggregate, though, our benchmarks put the two drives on roughly equal footing.

The performance checks out, but what about the price? In the scatter plot below, the most compelling position is toward the upper left corner, where the price per gigabyte is low and performance is high.

The MX300 750GB lands near the left edge of the plot, which is a great position. Micron’s suggested price tag of $199.99 works out to $0.27 per gigabyte, making it the fourth-cheapest drive per unit of capacity in this graph. That’s just a hair cheaper than the $0.28 per gigabyte that the MX200 500GB is currently going for. Micron is clearly making efforts to ease the MX300 into the market right in the space that the MX200 will leave behind. The one potential fly in Micron’s ointment is the fact that Mushkin’s Reactor 1TB frequently goes on sale near the $200 mark. Fortunately for the MX300, at the time of this writing the Reactor 1TB is up to $249.99 ($0.25 per gigabyte) on Newegg. For a couple pennies more per gig, the MX300 gets you encryption features and an Acronis license, niceties the Mushkin drive lacks.

Micron took a bold step by debuting its 3D NAND in a TLC drive poised to replace a well-loved MLC predecessor. Unlike the last time we tested the fruits of such a move, the switch to 3D NAND in the MX300 was well-executed, and we’re happy to call the MX300 a worthy successor to the MX200. If the MX300 is any indication, Intel and Micron’s 3D NAND has a bright future ahead of it. We can’t wait to see what it’s capable of in denser packages and in MLC configurations. For now, we’re happy to call this drive TR Recommended.

Comments closed
    • Fonbu
    • 4 years ago

    I just have a feeling Crucial will release a firmware update that fixes some of this drives short comings. In a few other reviews of this same drive it had faster writes than reads.

    • Umbral
    • 4 years ago

    Another solid but staid addition to Crucial’s lineup; it will need to get a lot closer to $150 to generate anything like excitement.

      • dragontamer5788
      • 4 years ago

      Mushkin Reactor rose in price, and is now $250.

      Only TLC Drives are at the $200 price point now. At $200, I’d rather get this 750GB MX300 rather than the crappier TLC drives that are its competition.

      Of course, I’d still rather get the 1TB Reactor for $250 overall. But… $200 for 750GB at this performance level isn’t a bad price at all. It just isn’t the [b<]best[/b<] price right now.

        • Umbral
        • 4 years ago

        FWIW, (since no one will see this) Amazon is selling this for $140 today on their big Prime Day Salebration!

    • LoneWolf15
    • 4 years ago

    I’m assuming the warranty is three years. If so, I hope they manage a price point lower than the 850 EVO, which is giving five. Sure, we’ve all seen from TR reviews that SSDs last longer than anyone thought, but it is kind of nice that Samsung put their money where their mouth is when it comes to their 3D V-NAND drives.

    • HERETIC
    • 4 years ago

    Nice one Tony.
    Any chance of doing power usage? Some like to throw SSD in USB enclosures-and sometimes
    plug in to a USB 2 port……………….

    I’m not going to be quite as hard as Chrispy, and say just “Meh” for now,and wait to see smaller
    drives and how their 3D MLC turns out.Don’t know who a 750GB drive is aimed at-I’d say the
    most common SSD usage out there is-
    1.DESKTOP-Fast 120/128GB boot drive and various spinning rust.
    2.GAMING-Fast 120/128 to 240/256 boot drive and 1TB game drive (This is where I think even lemons like BX200 and Trion 100 are ok as long as they have a much lower cost per GB.)
    3.LAPTOP-Most (NOT US) laptop users will be fine with 240/256 GB……………………………………….

    • Chrispy_
    • 4 years ago

    Nice review Tony, I enjoyed that.

    As expected, TLC is the turd that cannot be polished but at least it gets us cheaper drives. As far as TLC drives go, this is one of the better options that seems to hide TLC’s shortcomings away from most sensible consumers. I’m using TLC in my workstation at home now (Trion150) and I’m not finding it any worse than the MLC drive it replaced.

    I’d love to see an 1TB 850Evo on the chart, as smaller capacities usually perform lower and in the case of the 850Evo they even use lesser controllers. Essentially the 1TB and 2TB 850Evo is the TLC drive to beat.

      • weaktoss
      • 4 years ago

      We do have a 1TB EVO lying around, and it would certainly add valuable additional context. I’ll see if I can find some time to retest what’s missing to get it into the scatter plot next time around.

        • Chrispy_
        • 4 years ago

        \o/ <3

      • flip-mode
      • 4 years ago

      [quote<]TLC is the turd that cannot be polished[/quote<] [quote<] I'm using TLC in my workstation at home now (Trion150) and I'm not finding it any worse than the MLC drive it replaced.[/quote<] Cognitive dissonance much?

        • Waco
        • 4 years ago

        Ha, I was about to mention the same.

        In normal workloads, almost *all* of the current TLC drives are indistinguishable from MLC or even some older SLC drivers. Nobody beats on a drive with 4K writes for hours in a home setting. [i<]Nobody[/i<].

        • Chrispy_
        • 4 years ago

        Well, you misquote by skipping [b<]the important part[/b<]: [quote<]seems to hide TLC's shortcomings away from most sensible consumers[/quote<] TLC [b<]*is*[/b<] a turd, but in [i<]consumer workloads[/i<] which are bursty with lots of idle time, the TLC turdiness can be hidden from view by the very small SLC-mode cache. 90% of consumers will not even notice, but 10% of consumers will. A greater percentage of prosumers will feel the difference and the minute this gets used for enterprise-like use (Virtual machines, dataset simulation, hell - even just heavy writes for more than a few minutes) the TLC turd will stain your experience. What I'm really saying is "Yes, TLC is provably a turd in many ways but for what I'm doing, a turd is just fine thanks"

    • DrDominodog51
    • 4 years ago

    Call me Krogoth. Read speeds are far more important for most consumers than write.

      • Chrispy_
      • 4 years ago

      Specifically QD1 4K reads, since thats where things choke.

      Otherwise, all SSD’s are alike in that they can usually muster up somewhere north of 400MB/s with anything other than small files.

    • anotherengineer
    • 4 years ago

    I always enjoy TR SSD reviews. I have a lot of people ask me what the performance gap is between an SSD vs desktop hdd and laptop hdd.

    I wish TR would put a 2TB 7200rpm desktop hdd and a 1TB 5400rpm laptop hdd back into the chart just for comparison purposes, even though they are hdd and not ssd.

      • cmrcmk
      • 4 years ago

      They did include a 7200 desktop drive for a while but it skews all the graphs too much. Trying to show latency difference of tens of microseconds between SSDs is difficult when the chart has to also show a spinning disk that is several milliseconds slower.

        • anotherengineer
        • 4 years ago

        More skewness the better, then everyone can see the beauty of SSD’s 😉

    • Flying Fox
    • 4 years ago

    Any endurance numbers available? I suppose I just need to last at least for a little bit…

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 4 years ago

      Crucial rates the drive for 220TB total bytes written. That’s quite a bit higher than other 3D TLC drives on the market.

      For reference, I thrash the system SSD in my main machine quite hard, and it’s just recently cleared 11TB of writes over a couple of years of use. It would take me many, many years of use to even approach Crucial’s figure, and I imagine I’ll have built at least one more PC by that point with a newer SSD.

    • Takeshi7
    • 4 years ago

    On the price/performance plot can you please start both axes at 0 please? That makes it easier for me to visualize a line from the origin and determine best performance per dollar. It doesn’t make sense that the X axis starts at $0.20/GB instead of $0.00/GB.

      • DancinJack
      • 4 years ago

      I know what you are saying, but i’m not sure how that would make any difference… Just look for the most upper-left drives to see the best perf/dollar.

        • Takeshi7
        • 4 years ago

        It does make a difference. The best perf/dollar isn’t necessarily the one in the most upper left. It depends on the angle from the origin. Draw a vertical line going through the origin, and then rotate it clockwise about the origin until it hits the drive with the best performance/dollar.

        The way the graph is now makes it seem that the MX300 is better price/performance than the reactor 1TB, but if you extend the X axis to be $0.00/GB at the origin it becomes clear that the Reactor 1TB has better price/performance.

      • weaktoss
      • 4 years ago

      You raise a good point. The chief concern is that the graph is already barely clinging to readability, and widening the x-axis scope would force the points even closer together. I’ll see if I can slice and dice it somehow, maybe present a couple of different views.

    • lmc5b
    • 4 years ago

    Another TLC drive… Running out of options here. First i got a bx100 for my desktop, then the bx200 came along and I got an mx200 for my laptop. Now even that one is gone. I don’t care about a few extra benchmark points, but I really want to avoid all the TLC related problems and it seems like soon enough there won’t be any MLC alternatives left.

      • dragontamer5788
      • 4 years ago

      Just keep buying Mushkin Reactors.

        • lmc5b
        • 4 years ago

        Something tells me they’ll go down the same path eventually.

          • dragontamer5788
          • 4 years ago

          As long as they go down after all the TLC issues are fixed, then I’d be cool with it. Mushkin Reactor only has to last until better flash (more reliable, cheaper, faster) comes out.

      • meerkt
      • 4 years ago

      But it’s 3D, so perhaps uses larger cells.

    • Ninjitsu
    • 4 years ago

    3D movies suck – too dark and make my head hurt. 🙁

      • swaaye
      • 4 years ago

      I always feel like I’m watching some kind of live action diorama scene.

    • Rza79
    • 4 years ago

    Sequential steady state seems to be more of a problem than random steady state:

    [url<]http://media.bestofmicro.com/ext/aHR0cDovL21lZGlhLmJlc3RvZm1pY3JvLmNvbS9YLzgvNTg4Mjg0L29yaWdpbmFsL2ltYWdlMDE1LnBuZw==/r_600x450.png[/url<] How bad is that? Edit to show that it's doing worse than most TLC equipped drives in sequential steady state. [url<]http://media.bestofmicro.com/ext/aHR0cDovL21lZGlhLmJlc3RvZm1pY3JvLmNvbS9YLzAvNTg4Mjc2L29yaWdpbmFsL2ltYWdlMDE3LnBuZw==/r_600x450.png[/url<] [url<]http://media.bestofmicro.com/ext/aHR0cDovL21lZGlhLmJlc3RvZm1pY3JvLmNvbS9NL0IvNTU5Mzc5L29yaWdpbmFsL2ltYWdlMDE1LnBuZw==/r_600x450.png[/url<]

    • mkk
    • 4 years ago

    Finally some competition. For me it will primarily be about its fight with the 1TB 850 Evo on value. Could be a tough one, but now at least there is a contender.

    • stdRaichu
    • 4 years ago

    …it’s so average, it’s meh!

    Was wondering if this was going to share the guts of the [url=http://www.anandtech.com/show/10383/micron-launches-3d-nand-client-ssds<]announced-a-bit-ago Micron 1100[/url<] which I'm interested in for the purposes of some price competition to the Samsung 2TBs... same company, same flash, same controller, although the weird 275/525/750/1050GB capacities you mention here are completely out of line with what Micron listed for the 1100's.

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    Good grief. $200 for a 750GB drive, and there’s also the Mushkin. I paid something like $200 for my 250GB 840 EVO back in 2013.

    For anyone still holding out on an SSD purchase, do yourself a favor and grab an SSD now. If you wait for SSDs to cost as much as HDDs per GB, you’ll probably never end up buying one. There’s also a race to the bottom so you might as well get one now before SSDs become total crap.

      • flip-mode
      • 4 years ago

      Yeah, but there are a lot of negative comments here. A lot of people must upgrade their SSD more frequently than I do. I’m still using the Samsung SSD 830, and it is doing great enough, fast and stable. I bought it just after the 840 series came out, whenever that was. I think I paid $200 or maybe even $250 for the thing and it is a 256 GB drive. This MX300 is 750 GB for $200. Where everyone else is seeing disappointment I am seeing some excellent progress.

        • Waco
        • 4 years ago

        Exactly, SSDs are becoming a no-brainer even on budget builds.

        I have a pair of 128 GB drives I paid nearly $3/GB for back in 2009. They still work, but damn progress is nice now that drives routinely hit $.20/GB [i<]and they're faster too[/i<].

    • Acidicheartburn
    • 4 years ago

    Nice review! It’s so nice to finally see another 3D NAND drive that isn’t from Samsung hit the market. I am also pretty impressed with the price positioning of this drive. Hopefully we will continue to see many more drives with this 3D NAND so Samsung can finally get off its high horse and think about being a little more price competitive. Samsung was touting their 3D V-NAND as a way to increase capacity and reduce prices yet their 3D NAND equipped drives still continue to carry a premium despite the supposed cost benefits of the tech. This new MX300 is nothing but good news for the SSD consumer market, in my eyes.

    • Tjalve
    • 4 years ago

    It it just me, or is there something wrong here? Crucials drives just gets slower and slower.
    The MX100 was the best drive crucial ever made. The BX100 was also great but not as good as the MX100. The MX200 was a little slower then the MX100 and alot more expensive. Now we get a TLC MX300 thats again slower then the MX200 and in many cases also slower then the BX100. THIS shoudl have been the BX200. And a new 3d-MLC drive should have been the MX300.
    I would say that Marvells new controller is mostly to blame here, but it would have been good to see a writeup of IMFTs 3d-nand and how it actually works.
    Im a bit disapointed to be honest. Both of the drive and article itself.

      • Acidicheartburn
      • 4 years ago

      I have a feeling this is more related to the race to the (price) bottom in the SSD market than anything else. A general cheapening of things in order to drive the cost down.

        • davidbowser
        • 4 years ago

        If you glance at some of the real world (not milliseconds but seconds) numbers, you see that there is relatively little performance difference between the SATA drives. If a process takes 53 seconds or 49 seconds, I probably have already gone for coffee. The combination of the controllers, NAND flash, and SATA interface have pretty much hit the wall.

        As I and some others have mentioned in a previous SSD comments, there is still a need for current speed SSDs at greater capacity to replace spinning disks. If that means I get a 8TB 3D TLC on SATA, then so be it. It will still be faster than what I have today.

        Don’t fret, because PCIE, NVME, and m.2 ssds are all in the wings to take us to the next level!

          • Acidicheartburn
          • 4 years ago

          I agree, the differences in real world usage are pretty negligible. I was trying to be constructive rather than deatructive. With that being said, the BX200 is pretty awfully worse than the BX100.

      • Froz
      • 4 years ago

      [quote<]The MX200 was a little slower then the MX100 and alot more expensive[/quote<] Was it really? It didn't seem right, so I googled and in AnandTech reviews of those drives they write something opposite - $225 for 512 GB MX100 ($ (0.44 per GB) and $200 for 500 GB MX200 ($0.4). In general my feeling is that the price is going down, as it should be and capacities go up, as they should be. Performance differences between top and middle/lower tier SATA SSDs are just unnoticeable in practice (perhaps with some exceptions of broken lowest-tier products), producers know that, so they compete with price and capacity... [quote<]Now we get a TLC MX300 thats again slower then the MX200 [/quote<] You must be commenting on some other article. In this one both drives have exactly the same summarised performance value (225%).

        • Tjalve
        • 4 years ago

        Ok i admit, it wasnt “alot” more exepnsive. But when the MX200 was introduced, it was more expensive then the MX100. It wasnt untill the stock of MX100 war running dry that the MX200 cought up. Im not sure on US prices, but in Europe (or at least in Sweden) the MX100 was prices almost as low as the BX100. For a while it was actually cheaper then the BX100.

        I agree that the main driving force of SATA-SSDs is not performance, but pricing. And thats also why we see more and more TLC drives. The diffrence between a fast and a slow SSD is not notisable in day-to-day usage. Even so, you kind of expect a new version of a drive be a liiitle faster or atleast on-par. In this review the MX300 is consistently slower then the MX200. And if you look at some other reviews (Anandtech or Tomshardware) the diffrence is even bigger. I would say that its pretty clear that this drive is slower then MX200, the question is if its matters. For me it does.

      • UberGerbil
      • 4 years ago

      A few years ago, when SSDs were hitting the mainstream and performance kept getting better, there were more than a few people saying things like “I’d trade a big chunk of this added performance — which will make no difference to me in practice — for markedly lower prices.” Now we have markedly lower prices on drives whose performance is actually still better than most of those drives back in the day, and people are still complaining. The reality is that if your use case really would benefit noticeably from a higher performance SSD, you can get it: you just have to pay for it. You have to look for it in “Pro” or “Extreme” products that are priced accordingly; if you look at mainstream or “value” products, expect price to win out over performance improvements that mean nothing in practice to the vast majority of users for whom any SSD is OMGfast compared to the (usually mobile) HDs they’re replacing.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 4 years ago

        Is it the same people complaining now as it was back then, though? I was one of those back then and I happily traded performance for capacity when I got my first SSD. Something something can’t please all the people all the time

          • UberGerbil
          • 4 years ago

          Mostly not, probably, but having once lived with somebody who complained about [i<]everything[/i<], I am certain that some of the same people who were complaining about unused performance instead of price/capacity then are the people who are complaining about imperceptible declines in performance in favor of price/capacity now. I mean, you could make a product that is noticeably and unambiguously better along literally every possible metric and they'll complain they couldn't buy it earlier.

        • dragosmp
        • 4 years ago

        As an owner of a 128GB MX100 though, I’m a bit unhappy to see the performance going down and down every generation. That said, the Intel SSD you have at the very bottom, I bought one of those for 2.5$/GB… I’ll take the 10x price reduction thank you

        @Tony – nice article, keep them coming

        • Tjalve
        • 4 years ago

        Thats my point. I think this should have been in the BX-line, witch is the value drive.
        I dont expect a big chunk of performance for every new drive (SATA doesnt alow it). But i do ecpect that a new drive should be a liiiitttle be faster the the old one.
        Its basicly the same thing as if the Samsung 850 Evo was branded as Samsung 860 Pro. Cheaper and almost as fast as the old one. Or if the Vector 180 was almost as fast as the Vector150. This is also why i was disapointed with the BX200.
        This should have been the real BX200 (a little faster the BX100 and cheaper). Then they should have released a 3D-MLC with a full 8-channel controller and called it the MX300.

      • drkskwlkr
      • 4 years ago

      You are witnessing the turning of a luxury good into a commodity. Here are the telltale signs:
      – Real-life perception of all contending goods is nearly identical (in everyday use you can’t tell one SATA SSD from another; you require the help of a benchmark suite to split hairs);
      – Feature set is standardized across a generation;
      – Main discerning factor is price.

      Revolutionary products do not appear at commodity level. What happens there is only race to bottom cost.

      I see no reason for disappointment, though – if you want and/or need faster products, there are several PCIe models from Intel and Samsung which knock the socks off every entry-level SATA SSD.

      Note: Edited for clarity.

      • danazar
      • 4 years ago

      Slower and slower? What? It looks like the same performance (literally the same overall at 225% of baseline, so although there are variations between models, it evens out) and it’s offering a lower price.

      Same performance + lower price = better value

      Simple formula, especially in a world where midrange/budget drives like this are fast enough for most tasks.

        • Tjalve
        • 4 years ago

        Yes. The MX300 is slower in almost every metric. A little faster in some cases and alot slower in some. Overall this drive is a little slower then the MX200. Other reviews seems to recognize it more then this one. And this is not a budgetdrive. The BX200 is. This is Crucials highest performing SATA-drive and it should be compared with then 850 Evo and other cheaper MLC drives.

        Anandtech: “One of the issues that Crucial will face is that despite being plus-one generation above the MX200, The MX300 is slightly slower and only by a small amount.”

        Toms hardware: “We have to wonder if this broad approach is taking away from Crucial’s commitment to quality, and if performance issues are falling through the cracks as a result. The MX300 750GB Special Edition already received one firmware tune-up due to problematic performance from the first batch of samples. But its benchmark numbers are still sub-par compared to other 512GB- and 1TB-class drives.”

      • flip-mode
      • 4 years ago

      I think it is just you, as I cannot see anything wrong with this product offering. A 750 GB drive launching for $200 is excellent progress. A couple years ago I bought the 256 GB drive (that I am still using) for around that same price. And the performance looks just fine. If it is slower, it is only fractionally slower. The overall performance graph shows it with the exact same performance as the MX 200 – but you get more capacity for your dollar. Maybe you’d like to see quicker progress, either on speed or price, but there’s nothing “wrong” with this drive.

    • Voldenuit
    • 4 years ago

    Looks like my 500GB BX100 lives on for another year.

      • travbrad
      • 4 years ago

      Probably longer than that unless you need more capacity. There just won’t be any significant performance increases on SATA SSDs anymore, and even moving to PCIe it’s unlikely you’d notice a difference under most “normal” use cases.

      They do keep getting cheaper and cheaper per GB though, which is more appealing than extra performance in a lot of ways. Some day we will be able to have our entire library of Steam games we bought but never played on one SSD.

        • Voldenuit
        • 4 years ago

        Even the price isn’t moving as fast as I’d like. I got my 500 GB BX100 for $129 a year and a half ago, and it’s not $150 for 1 TB drives now, despite the density increases (and performance decreases) of process and cell layout.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 4 years ago

      Unless it dies.

      • Skid
      • 4 years ago

      I’m glad I still have a spare 512GB MX100… this trend of “slower ” for each new generation is worrisome…

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