Crucial MX100 SSD Review (256/512 GB) – Crucial Strikes a Victory For Value

TSSDR TEST BENCH AND PROTOCOL

SSD Testing at TSSDR differs slightly depending on whether we are looking at consumer or enterprise SSDs.  For consumer SSDs, our goal is to test in a system that has been optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide, although CPU C States have may or may not have been optimized depending on the motherboard base configuration. Benchmarks for consumer testing are also benchmarks with a fresh drive so, not only can we verify that manufacturer specifications are in line but also, so the consumer can replicate our tests to confirm that they have an SSD that is top-notch.  We even provide links to most of the benchmarks used in the report.

Sean Webster Z68 Test Bench

SYSTEM COMPONENTS

Purchased by myself at the end of 2012, this Test Bench build is a little out of date, however, it still has 2 high performing Intel SATA 6Gb/s ports for us to test any SATA 6Gb/s SSD on no issue. All of the components we use for testing and evaluation can be easily purchased at a relatively affordable price. The links provided below can assist in pricing, as well as availability for those of you who may find interest in our equipment.

PC CHASSIS: Corsair 650D
MOTHERBOARD: Asus P8Z68-V
CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.5GHz Quad Core
CPU COOLER: Thermalright Silver Arrow
POWER SUPPLY: Corsair TX650 PSU
SYSTEM COOLING: Cooler Master MegaFlow 200
GRAPHICS CARD: MSI GTX 660 Ti PE OC
MEMORY: G.Skill Ares DDR3-1866Mhz Memory
SOUNDCARD: Asus Xonar DX

BENCHMARK SOFTWARE

The software we will be using for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Info, Crystal Disk Mark, AS SSD, PCMark Vantage, and Anvil’s Storage Utilities.  In consumer reports, we prefer to test with easily accessible software that the consumer can obtain, and in many cases, we even provide links. Our selection of software allows each to build on the last and to provide validation to results already obtained.

In the results please note that the MX100 256GB drive will always be on the left while the MX100 512GB will be on the right.

CRYSTAL DISK INFO VER 5.6.2

Crystal Disk Info is a great tool for displaying the characteristics and health of storage devices. It displays everything from temperatures, to the number of hours the device has been powered, and even to the extent of informing you of the firmware of the device.

Crucial MX100 256GB - Crystal Disk Info Crucial MX100 512GB - Crystal Disk Info

Crystal Disk Info shows us that the MX100 SSD’s S.M.A.R.T. data features a working temperature attribute as well as many others to monitor the health of the SSD over its lifespan. It also shows us that it supports TRIM. Take note of the firmware revision name, I will be going over it in the analysis section at the end.

ATTO DISK BENCHMARK VER. 2.47

ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.

Crucial MX100 256GB - ATTO Crucial MX100 512GB - ATTO

Right off the bat ATTO shows us that the MX100 can right near advertised speeds. The 256GB reaches 549MB/s read and 324MB/s write speeds and the 512GB version reaches 546MB/s read and 511MB/s write speeds. Being off by so few MB/s, the drives performance lies within a very small and acceptable margin of error.

CRYSTAL DISK BENCHMARK VER. 3.0 X64

Crystal Disk Benchmark is used to measure read and write performance through sampling of highly compressible data (oFill/1Fill), or random data which is, for the most part, incompressible. Performance is virtually identical, regardless of data sample so we have included only that using random data samples.

Crucial MX100 256GB - Crystal Disk Mark Crucial MX100 512GB - CDM

In Crystal Disk Mark the 256GB MX100 achieved 521MB/s read and 345MB/s write, while the larger 512GB drive achieved 519MB/s read and 500MB/s write. Since CDM tests with random data, we expect slightly lower speeds than ATTO. As expected, the sequential reads have lowered, however, the 256GB MX100 actually increased in write speeds for this test!

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Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

This drive is an insane value, especially given performance. It’ just too bad, that they won’t offer 1TB version.

Samsung should really update it’s aging 840EVO, because crucial is destroying them 🙂

NoldorElf
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NoldorElf

Performance wise, the 840 EVO actually is competitive compared to this. The drawback is that it is a TLC drive. Even at 16nm, the MLC MX100 will be a better choice (that and it has power loss protection). Judging by the performance, only the 512 GB version seems to fully saturate the controller. Heck, the 512 GB version is about as fast as the M550, which is supposed to be the “performance” version of Crucial’s SSD line. The 256 GB version is slower. I would imagine that the 128 GB version is even slower. The only thing I wish was… Read more »

Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

> The only thing I wish was a better controller. Marvell 88SS9189 powers this chip. On one hand, it’s a reliable, proven beast. We should not have any hitches on this drive. Usually for those who want reliable, it’s become standard advice on the computer enthusiast forums to wait a few months when a new controller hits the market to make sure that there are no issues. On the other, it’s not the fastest chip around. Write performance isn’t top notch it looks like. I guess at this price point, it’s not possible to get a top of the line… Read more »

NoldorElf
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NoldorElf

Re-reading the Sandisk reviews, you may be right. They do use the same family of controller. Hmm interesting, so it is the NAND that is holding the chip back. Hmm, this drive might get somewhat faster with newer firmware. But yeah you are right that the 16nm NAND is not that good. ” But to be honest, its not like someone buying such a drive is gonna notice the difference anyway. Especially writes speeds (which are often criticized). Bulk of workload is reads anyway. There is little use for very fast sequential writes on consumer drives anyway.” It will depend… Read more »

guest
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guest

looks like someone turned off their cstates for once

Les@TheSSDReview
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Yes… we are running a bit of a balancing act on this one, leverage coming from the fact that all new motherboards are optimized with C States off. It is still very funny how little education there really is on the benefits vs vulnerability with C States on or off.

Rob C
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Can the Guide get an update about “C States” ?

It looks like one was planned but I do not see it in the Guide:

http://www.thessdreview.com/Forums/ssd-optimization-guide/2763-altering-c1e-c3-c6-ssd-performance-enhancement-pros-cons-3.html

This HP Guide claims “C States” affect latency due to turboing: http://www.fusionio.com/load/-media-/2ojjak/docsLibrary/Configuring_and_Tuning_HP_Servers_for_Low-Latency_Applications-c01804533.pdf

Thanks.

Ralph
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Ralph

It’s worth noting that the 256 is actually a 320 drive. With 20% overprovisioning the MX100 performance won’t degrade like a bargain drive with 7%

swanjame
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swanjame

Ralph-

What do you mean by, “…the 256 is actually a 320 drive…”? When you pop it in, how many GB are available? Could somebody clone a nearly full 320GB HDD (Hard Disc Drive) onto this?

Jim

fefer
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fefer

He meant it’s not 256, you get 220 GB (not 320 wtf) 🙂

Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

Actually, you get 238GiB of useable space 🙂

Mpegger
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Mpegger

“Although the total RAW capacity of these SSDs are 256GB and 512GB, usable storage space is only 238GB and 476GB respectively.”

This is incorrect. Usable storage space is still 256GB and 512GB. The 238GB and 476GB is just Windows reporting the available space with the wrong suffix. It should be 476GiB, which is equal to 512GB. You can see it is in fact 512GB, by going into the properties window for the drive and you will see the capacity listed as over 512,000,000,000 bytes.

Dennis Htc
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Dennis Htc

it’s hard to chose between the samsung evo 250 gb and mx 100. read different reviews on the mx100 that contradict one another. Guess some of these review sites get payed to say something positive or negative insteead of being objective. I have a samsung 830 now and i’m satisfied with it, never failed me. But i need a bigger one now. I like the protection and encryption on mx100. Samsung 840 evo doesn’t have that right? The price of the mx 100 is a bargain, but the writing performance is not great. Yeah single mode is ok, but not… Read more »

Benjamin Hojnik
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Benjamin Hojnik

Just go with MX100.
While on paper write performance isn’t all that great, its actually better than EVOs (330 vs 250MB/s) once evo runs out of fake SLC cache.

Powerloss protection, MLC flash and lower price makes it a nobrainer against EVO.
You either get price/GB king or something a lot better (like 850pro or pci-e based solutions). Everything thats inbetween makes little sense, given how much more it costs.