Crucial, the company that impressed us with their M4 series SSD, has expanded their SSD portfolio with a low-cost, high performance, MX100 series drive. Their claims of “unrelenting performance” combined with low-cost per GB is an attractive marketing campaign. Extreme Energy Efficiency, Adaptive Thermal Protection, and Power Loss Protection mark some of the Crucial benefits on the product page. With all this marketing fluff, the real question is… how does this budget SSD stack up when it comes to spending your hard-earned cash?
First, the MX100 is not going to be one of those drives that wipes the floor with the competition in benchmarks. Crucial’s product page boasts sequential read speeds of 550MB/s and write speeds of around 300MB/s. It is however, a very well priced SSD that delivers solid performance at a very respectable price (at time of review $109.99 USD at Newegg.com). What do you get for $109.99 you ask? Well, you get this snazzy SSD, a fancy box, a spacer, and a serial for Acronis True Image HD 2014. The SSD itself is a SATA 6.0GB/s 2.5″ solid state drive that measures in at just 7mm thick.
Similar to the M4 and the OCZ Vector, the MX100 looks the part. The aluminum enclosure exudes confidence and provides that quality feel while the subtle graphics provide that tingling sensation, like you were about to toe the line in an Indy 500 qualifying round. That quality feel is backed by a 3 year warranty, an MTBF of 1.5 million hours, and endurance that claims you can write 40GB every day for 5 years. The drive features advanced features like Native Write Acceleration, Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN), Exclusive Data Defense, Adaptive Thermal Protection, Power Loss Protection, Data Path Protection, Active Garbage Collection, TRIM Support, Self Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), and Error Correction Code (ECC)
So, how does Crucial keep low-cost, speed, and reliability consistent in the MX100? Inexpensive NAND. Although the MX100 sports the same controller found in the M550 (Marvell 88SS9189-BLD2 with custom Micron Firmware), the MX100 features 16 x FBGA NW645 (MT29F128G08CBCCBH6-10:C) 16nm MLC NAND. Not much can be found on the NAND, but a quick decode over at Microns FBGA Decoder reveals the part number: MT29F128G08CBCCBH6-10:C
The Marvell 88SS9189 controller supports high-speed NAND flash interfaces up to 200MB/s per channel and integrates a dual-core Marvell 88FR102 V5 CPU with shared DTCM and ITCM SRAM. It can support up to eight NAND flash channels, ~500MBps sequential write performance, as well as EPP and T10 CRC Checks.
Given that Crucial’s product page makes reference to modest performance, what king of performance can you expect from the MX100?