Amazon has become an excellent news source for unannounced products. This week, we discovered a Crucial MX300 2TB model. The MX300 uses Micron's first generation 3D flash memory. The new 32-layer 3D with three-bits per cell memory uses a high density 384Gbit die that Crucial plans to use to scale for high-capacity SSDs.
The MX300 2TB is really a 2,100 GB SSD much like the 1TB is a 1,050 GB. Even with the larger-than-standard capacity size, each model still reserves spare area for background activities like garbage collection and wear leveling. This keeps the drive operating at high speeds by shuffling clean blocks into active storage for high-speed data writes.
We reached out to Crucial representatives for confirmation and any other details. We were told MX300 2TB will sell for $549.99 with preorders starting next week at select e-tail stores. Look for preorder availability around August 30, 2016. Products will ship two weeks later, around September 13.
The real story with this product is in the price. There are very few 2TB-class products shipping today, and prices have been slow to decrease. Samsung offers 2TB in the 850 EVO and 850 Pro models. Other World Computing also ships a 2TB drive, but it uses two 1TB SSDs behind a low-cost RAID controller. (You can see how all three products perform in this review.)
The Samsung 850 EVO currently sells for $624.99 on Amazon, and the 850 Pro goes for $831.99. The OWC Mercury Electra MAX 2TB undercuts both but is still nearly $600. The Crucial MX300 2TB undercuts all of the existing 2TB products by at least $50 and has room to drop even lower after the new-to-market tax subsides.
Moving forward, this is the next battleground for consumer SSDs. Every NAND flash manufacturer has announced new high-density flash that will increase capacity sizes and lower costs. Of the announced products, Micron, Crucial's parent company, has the highest density on the drawing board (as far as we've been told). At Flash Memory Summit and in an investor conference call, Micron stated that we should expect a new 64-layer 3D flash version, dubbed "Generation 2," to come in early 2017. At 64-layers, the next generation of TLC will reach a massive 768Gb die size.
Capacity and pricing usually scale well with each new lithography node. It is reasonable to expect a 4TB MX300-like product with 64-layers that will be priced similar to our Amazon find today. A next generation 2TB model would also fall to 1TB pricing. The MX300 1TB SSD currently sells for just $285.