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Crucial MX200 1TB SSD Review

Conclusion

The MX100 wasn't a performance powerhouse, but Crucial sold boatloads of them. As a flash manufacturer, Crucial's focus is on volume and not all-out performance. The company wants to sell its memory products in stable platforms at low prices. This trend started with the M500 and carries over today. 

The MX200 follows suit. It's not a next-gen drive that will pin you back in your seat. No, the MX200 is a sensible SSD that caters to budget-bound power users looking for more than a hard drive replacement without spending 75 cents per gigabyte for flagship performance. Sadly though, Crucial goes too conservative with the MX200. Its 250GB model is the only 2.5" drive with an emulated SLC caching technology. Our tests with the full line-up show that the two largest SSDs write random data faster than that 250GB implementation; however, we can't help but think the technology would have pushed the bigger drives to the performance levels expected in 2015. TurboWrite (Samsung) and nCache (SanDisk) both offer amazing results. They work even better when the writes are spread to more dies in the higher-capacity models.

Crucial's Storage Executive software tames the firmware updating process, but its not perfect yet. We haven't been able to get the tool to update drives that are not the primary system disk (C:\). Otherwise, the utility is a nice, albeit long overdue addition. Crucial doesn't do anything innovative with the software that hasn't been done before by a competitor.

The MX100 and MX200 will coexist, at least for now. At the time of writing, the MX200 with its less expensive flash is priced similarly as the MX100. The 16nm node enables MLC NAND that delivers higher sustained writer performance than 2D planar TLC. But Samsung's 850 EVO uses 3D TLC with a sustained sequential write speed of 400 MB/s. In comparison, the 1TB MX200 only achieved 285 MB/s in our testing. Sealing the MX200's fate is the fact that Samsung's 1TB 850 EVO also benefits from RAPID Mode DRAM cache, the same software features and a $30 price advantage. It's almost comical that Crucial's 1TB model costs more than Samsung's expensive 3D V-NAND TLC drive.

It almost seems like Crucial is launching new SSDs to compete with Samsung. But sales volume doesn't come from a wide selection of SSDs. Just ask OCZ how well that worked. There are currently so many products in the line-up that most customers (even the power users) don't know the difference between them. Crucial's portfolio is so confusing that it's almost faceless. BX100, MX100, MX200...whatever. Which one costs the least on Amazon? If you are shopping for a mid-range 1TB SSD right now, the answer is Samsung's 850 EVO. 

Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.