It has been a year and a half since the release of the Crucial MX300 and that means it is time for an update. Unlike what we were expecting, we didn’t receive an MX400, but rather a Crucial MX500. The reason behind skipping MX400 name and going straight to MX500 for this product launch was because the word for 400 sounds like a derogatory term in some languages. Never the less, we look forward to tearing down the latest update to the Crucial MX Series to see what makes it tick and how it is an improvement over the previous generation tech.
So far, we have been told that it no longer features a Marvell controller, but rather Silicon Motion’s 2258 controller that is used in the BX300. As well, the MX500 features Micron’s latest 64-layer 3D TLC NAND, again, something we weren’t expecting. Their latest TLC is made in 256Gb dies, lower capacity than the previous gen 384Gb dies. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With this transition back into a more standard capacity they no longer have relatively “strange” capacity options, they were able to shrink the physical size down 30%, and in addition to this, they were also able to do away with capacitors on the PCB for power loss protection and still provide this feature. All this leads to a lower price to us, the end consumer and lower cost is always a good thing, especially in these times where the NAND shortage has prevented it.
Just wait until you see the MSRP on this thing! We are sure you will be pleasantly surprised. Now, let’s get on with the review, shall we?
SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING, AND AVAILABILITY
The Crucial MX500 is a SATA 6Gb/s SSD that is available in both 2.5″ 7mm and M.2 2280 single and double-sided form factors depending on the capacity. Speaking of which, it comes in the following capacities: 250GB ($79.99), 500GB ($139.99), 1TB ($259.99), and 2TB ($499.99). (Only the 1TB model is available at launch, the other capacities will be released soon at a later date) It offers sequential read speeds of up to 560MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 510MB/s. It also offers 4K random performance of up to 95K/90K IOPS read/write across all capacities. The endurance rating varies for each capacity. The 250GB model is rated for up to 100TB, the 500GB model for up to 180TB, the 1TB model for up to 360TB, and the 2TB model for up to 700TB. To top this off, Crucial has finally given in and done what we as a community have demanded for so long. The MX500 will finally boast a 5-year warranty! Kudos to the company for taking action and making this change happen!
Unlike many other consumer-oriented SSDs, the Crucial MX500 series includes many enterprise inspired features. This includes a hardware-based AES-256 encryption engine that enables the MX500 to be TCG/Opal 2.0 self-encrypting drive (SED) compliant and Microsoft eDrive compatible. Additionally, there is RAIN (Redundant Array of Independent NAND) which is similar to RAID to provide parity protection for your data, Exclusive Data Defense, their error correction that protects data from corruption, and dynamic write acceleration, which, helps to optimize write performance.
With the release of the MX500, Crucial has included a new replacement for the traditional power loss protection feature, power loss immunity. Instead of relying on a bank of capacitors for power loss protection, Crucial was able to work the new 3D TLC NAND and the code to allow for more efficient NAND programming so that the capacitors are no longer needed. Finally, features such as SMART, DevSleep, TRIM, static and dynamic wear leveling, hotplug support, adaptive thermal monitoring, and secure erase are also standard. With the purchase of this SSD, you also get support for Crucial Storage Executive, their SSD toolbox, and Acronis True Image, a cloning software that allows you to migrate your current OS onto your new MX500.
PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS
The packaging has been slightly refreshed for this release. On the front, we see an image of the MX500 as well as its name in bold text along with its form factor. On the backside are all the compliances and an overview of what is included. This includes a 7mm to 9.5mm spacer, data transfer software, and the SSD itself. If you noticed there is no capacity listed on our packaging, however, when you receive yours it should have a capacity listed on the front on a sticker.
The design of the SSD itself has remained unchanged. It features a metal casing with the blue and silver MX sticker on the front and the white standard info sticker on the backside.
Getting down to the PCB, however, we are able to see all the changes that have taken place. First off, there are 16 NAND packages filled with their latest 64-layer 3D TLC NAND. Each package is 64GB in capacity and once we format the MX500, the total usable capacity is 931GB. Unlike the MX300, the MX500 no longer utilizes a Marvell controller, instead Crucial has opted for Silicon Motion’s SM2258. This controller proved to deliver very good performance in the BX300 with 3D MLC NAND and we are excited to see what it can do with their latest 3D TLC NAND. Continue on to find out how it performs in our testing!