For what seemed like an eternity Samsung has been the leader in manufacturing 3D NAND. Starting with the release of the Samsung 850 Pro two years ago, they have paved the way for innovation. 3D NAND brings greater capacity, power efficiency, and lower cost to the consumers. After first announcing their 32-Layer 3D NAND last year in March, we have been patiently awaiting Micron and Intel to finally step into the game to combat Samsung in this regard. Luckily for us, we don’t need to wait any longer. Today, Crucial releases the Limited Edition MX300, a 750GB, 2.5″ 7mm form factor SSD powered by Micron’s latest 3D TLC NAND! We can finally get hand’s on experience with the collaborative result of Micron’s and Intel’s labor to see how it compares to the competition. Read on to learn more as we put the Limited Edition Crucial MX300 to the test.
SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING, AND AVAILABILITY
The Limited Edition Crucial MX300 is a 2.5″ 7mm SATA 6GB/s SSD. It is currently available in 750GB for an MSRP of $199.99. Later this year there will be more capacities and form factors being released as production ramps up. Sequential reads are rated for up to 530MB/s while writes are rated for up to 510MB/s. Write speeds are provided by their Dynamic Write Acceleration technology, which uses an adaptable pool of high-speed, single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash memory to improve the speed of TLC-based drives (like the MX300) without the added cost of more expensive SLC-based drives. Random reads and writes are rated for up to 92K/83K IOPS. In addition, the MX300’s endurance is rated for up to 220TB TBW, which is equivalent to 120GB of writes per day for five years. As typical for a Crucial SSD, the MX300 is covered by a 3-year warranty.
Furthermore, Crucial has this SSD packed with features. There users can sleep easy knowing they can utilize AES 256-bit hardware encryption to keep their data secure. It is TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 compliant as well as Microsoft eDrive compatible. It also has features such as Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN), adaptive thermal protection, data-path protection, power-loss protection, and Exclusive Data Defense to maintain data integrity and reliability. Additionally, SMART, TRIM, and DevSleep are supported.
Crucial has also included Acronis True Image HD for free data transfer from your old drive to your new MX300 SSD. Another software you can download from their website is Crucial Storage Executive, which allows you to update the firmware, monitor and secure erase as well as reset the SSD’s encryption password.
PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS
The front of the packaging has an image of the SSD and text describing the capacity and model. On the backside it states what is included: a 7mm to 9.5mm drive spacer, data migration software key for Acronis True Image, and the MX300 itself.
The exterior design of the MX300 is identical to that of the previous MX200 model with the same clamp case and sticker layout. Once opened, however, that is where similarities start to fade. While there is still a power-loss circuit, the controller, NAND, and DRAM are all different. Even the PCB itself is blue rather than green.
There are 8 of Micron’s latest 384G-bit 32 tier floating gate 3D TLC NAND packages. With two dies in each package, each one is 96GiB in capacity, which brings the total RAW NAND capacity to 768GiB. Once formatted in Windows the usable capacity is 698GB. The controller utilized is a Marvell 88SS1074, the same 4-channel controller that was in the SanDisk X400 we just reviewed. Finally, controller cache is provided by a Micron LPDDR3 1333MHz DRAM package.