Mach Xtreme Technology MX Express Driverless PCIe 2.0 x2 SSD Review


The Mach Xtreme MX Express PCIe SSD enters the marketplace, alongside Mushkin’s Scorpion Deluxe PCIe SSD, as one of only two such devices directed at consumer PC and Mac needs.  As coincidence may have it, the MX Express uses two LSI SandForce SF-2281 FSPs, whereas the Scorpion Deluxe doubles that.   Both are driver-less PCIe SSDs and this particular characteristic is the definite strength of the MX Express; it’s BIOS is the first we have seen that doesn’t add any time to system startups.  That is always a definite plus.

Mach Extreme MX Express PCIe SSD Closer

Configuration of the MX Express is also rather unique as it uses two standard notebook PCIe SSDs on a half-length, half-height low profile card and then relies on the PCIe 2.0 X2 interface data transfer; this providing only a maximum of 1GB/s maximum data transfer rate.  Comments seen in various forums provide that this SSD should have, at least an X4 connect, however, we disagree as this solution isn’t even capable of reaching the maximum throughput of PCIe 2.0 X2.

Mach Extreme MX Express PCIe SSD X2 Interface

Specifications of just over 800MB/s throughput also seem low as we are well aware that 2 x SF-2281 controllers should be able to reach the 1GB/s mark.  Once again, this speaks to the similarity between the MX-Express and ASUS RAIDR, is also a PCIe X2 SSD, uses a Marvell RAID controller, has matching specifications and test results.

Mach Xtreme MX Express PCIe SSD PCB Daughterboard

Availability in the North American market has always been a concern for Mach Xtreme and, as nice as it is to see that there is limited availability, pricing for the MX Express should be examined closely.  If we consider the 256GB capacity that is priced at $449US, or the equivalent to $515 in Euros, we need to ask ourselves if what might typically be a $200 jump from the notebook SSD is worth it for this PCIe SSD.  Although it could be argued that, when testing in compressible data, throughout jumps 200MB/s from the notebook SSD, the opposite can be stated in testing with incompressible data where performance between the notebook SSD and this PCIe are relatively the same.  Add to that the fact that we are seeing better PCMark Vantage results and better IOPS in a typical SSD and this becomes a very difficult sale, in our opinion.

In the end, we would like to thank Mach Xtreme and our friend Tomasz Swatowski for providing us the opportunity to be the first to publish review of their MX Express PCIe SSD.  We would certainly welcome and publish response or be willing to revisit this review if Mach Xtreme believes these results aren’t typical of how this product should be performing.

Review Overview

Product Build

The Mach Extreme MX Express has limited availability in North America and, as expected for the niche driver-less PCIe SSD market, comes with a premium price. Warranty of this SSD is two years and our performance analysis of the MX-Express provided less than ideal performance.

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One comment

  1. Can’t wait til someone finally uses a pair of Marvell controllers raided with an LSI raid controller and 1GB of DDR3 ram. I like the idea of a PCIe with, let’s say, 2 Sandisk Extreme II 120’s raided with a good controller and a gig of fast ram. And to be honest, I don’t really care if it’s driverless PNP or not. Since I (and most others imo) don’t do much rebooting and don’t mind a longer boot time in exchange for blazing permormance.

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