Crucial Announces MX200, BX100 SSDs & SSD Toolboxby Kristian Vättö on January 8, 2015 9:30 PM EST
Crucial's MX100 has been one the most successful SSDs on the market. Its very aggressive pricing along with decent performance and great feature set has made it an excellent buy for mainstream users. Here at CES Crucial just introduced the MX200, the successor of MX100, and a new budget-oriented model called the BX100.
The MX200 is essentially the branded version of Micron's M600 that we reviewed earlier. The notable change compared to the MX100 is that the MX200 features Dynamic Write Acceleration (DWA), which is Micron's/Crucial's SLC cache implementation. I covered the feature in detail in our M600 review, but in short the SLC cache size is adaptive and changes depending on how much data the user is storing in the drive (unlike e.g. Samsung's and SanDisk's implementations where the SLC cache size is fixed). I wasn't very impressed by the performance of the M600 and DWA, but what DWA does provide is higher endurance since SLC is significantly more durable. Crucial is rating the 250GB version at 80TB, 500GB at 160TB and 1TB at 320TB, which is a notable increase over the 72TB that the MX100 had.
Otherwise the MX200 is very similar to the MX100. It's a Marvell 88SS9189 based design with Micron's 16nm 128Gbit NAND and as usual the MX200 features DevSleep, TCG Opal 2.0 and eDrive encryption. MSRPs are $140 for 250GB, $250 for 500GB and $470 for 1TB, which is certainly a bit more compared to the MX100. M.2 and mSATA models are also available, though the capacities only go to up to 500GB. Availability will be later in this quarter and we are expected to get samples in the next couple of weeks.
The other SSD that Crucial is launching is more interesting. The BX100 will be Crucial's entry-level drive (the B stands for budget) and the intriguing part is that Crucial is using Silicon Motion's 2246EN controller with 16nm 128Gbit NAND, which is change from Crucial's usual Marvell designs. Actually, the BX100 is the first drive from a NAND OEM to ship with a Silicon Motion controller, so that is certainly a big design win for the company. I've been pretty pleased with the 2246EN and it has done well in our tests, so I can see why Crucial chose to go with that one.
Feature wise the BX100 drops all the M-class features, so there is no hardware-accelerated encryption or SLC caching. Pricing is $70 for 120GB, $110 for 250GB, $200 for 500GB and $400 for 1TB, so it's very competitively priced like the MX100, although given the lack of features I would have like to see a bit lower pricing since the MX100 currently retails for about the same prices. Availability is also Q1'15 and we will be getting samples soon.
Finally, after a long period of waiting, Crucial is launching its own toolbox for SSDs, called the Crucial Storage Executive. The 1.0 version is a fairly basic toolbox with support for firmware updates, drive monitoring, secure erase and PSID revert, although Crucial has plans to add more features in the future. Supported drives are currently the M500, M550, MX100, MX200 and BX100 and the software is already available for download from Crucial's website.
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abhaxus - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - linkI wonder how the mx200s would fare as write cache drives in storage spaces or as a ZIL drive in zfs. seems like a very cost effective alternative to a true slc drive as long as you limit the partition to half of total storage it would be true SLC durability, correct?
Zuirch - Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - linkExcellent idea, abhaxus. You get basically an all-SLC drive if you keep the storage at less than 50% capacity. You probably don't even have to do anything out of the ordinary to limit the size. ZFS's SLOG/ZIL will almost never hit that size. (Remember it's only used for data in transit, and data is committed to disk periodically.)
Also, note that the mx100, m550, m500 all have power-supply data protection, so that data is guaranteed to be committed to the SSD (even for MLC) as long as it has made it to the controller. This makes crucial SSD's (regardless of model) my choice for ZFS ZIL/SLOG.
Anonymous Blowhard - Thursday, February 12, 2015 - linkThey'd make great L2ARC devices, but I don't forsee them replacing Intel's DC series anytime soon as the "budget SLOG" option.
pukemon1976 - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - linkbooooo. i just bought 2 crucial m500's and i just printed the RMA's. going back to samsung. willing to pay a higher price for a ssd that doesn't freeze, hang up or not wake up from standby. plus, samsung magician is a lot more mature and convenient.
Frangelina - Sunday, January 11, 2015 - linkI am surprise. My m550 in Elitebook 8470p is fast like lightning and never freeze. My M4 in my wife x200 that I maintain, never freeze. Believe me... She would be the first one bitching around. However, the Samsung in my old X60 tablet is running rock solid too.
Carskick - Monday, February 16, 2015 - linkNever had any issues with the M500. My "portable/guest" desktop and my HTPC both use 240GB M500s, and have never had one hiccup. I tried an Intel 530 on my portable machine, and had random freezing for around 30-60 seconds at a time. Must have gotten lemons?
My desktop has a Samsung 840 pro, and my wife has the 840 evo, no issues with either one of those either.
The only issues I've ever had with Crucial drives were caused by firmware issues. My C300 was stuttery before a firmware update, and then an M4 had a freeze after one hour issue after being on for 5184 hours or something like that. Firmware update fixed that one as well.
My rule of thumb is avoid any drive with a Sandforce controller, as those seem to have the freezing issues.
Hulk - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - linkIt's amazing how technical challenges are constantly being worked through by clever minds. A few years ago many people though SSD's were quickly approaching a dead end because decreasing cell sizes were leading to lower and lower endurance.
Now we have MLC cache on TLC drives, dynamic SLC cache, 3d cell technology and other innovations which have not only decreased prices but increase performance and endurance.
merikafyeah - Friday, January 9, 2015 - linkSo I'm confused, which line is replacing the MX100 line; MX200 or BX100? If the M550 line is Crucial's top-tier line, and the BX100 is their entry-level, would that make the MX200 their mid-tier, or just a second entry-level line that's slightly above the BX100? Where does the M500 line fit into all this?
mobutu - Friday, January 9, 2015 - linkJust read the article:
"Crucial just introduced the MX200, the successor of MX100"
merikafyeah - Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - linkMy confusion is with the strange price / performance overlaps between all the models. It makes it hard to tell what's REALLY replacing what. Newer models do not always perform better and the prices are also not always indicative of this fact.
"Successor" does not necessarily mean "market replacement". The M550 line was the successor to the M500 line but Crucial continued to market both lines at the same time with no mention of discontinuing the M500 line.