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Crucial MX200 1TB SSD Review

Our Verdict

The MX200 is a white wall in the closet of a hospital. Everything you expect is there, nothing more, nothing less. It exists but doesn't standout in any memorable way. Crucial needs to beat the 850 EVO in price to make this one attractive.

For

  • Consistent random writes • Mixed workload performance

Against

  • High latency after heavy loads • Not cost competitive • Same price as MX100

Introduction

Crucial is the conservative SSD manufacturer. Its RealSSD C300 was the company's only performance leader. For years, Crucial would only release one SSD around the CES time frame, and that drive would remain on the market until the following CES when its successor was announced.

That strategy worked well for Crucial when each lithography node was used for longer than eleven months. But as manufacturing accelerated, the company modified its approach and tried to introduce a second-tier product. The first time this went off without a hitch was when the M550 improved upon the M500's performance, allowing both drives to coexist. The M550 is still selling today, positioned as the upper-tier product. But the new MX200 could easily change this.

Crucial's current SSD line-up looks like alphabet soup; you have the BX100, MX100, MX200 and M550. Before the MX200, its hierarchy was simpler with the BX at the low end, the MX in the middle and the M series up top. Ideally, the MX200 would replace the MX100. However, Crucial tells us that both offerings will remain available for now. Capacity- and performance-wise, the MX200 encroaches on the M550, even facilitating better notebook battery life thanks to its 16nm flash. 

A move to 16nm NAND isn't all the MX200 contributes to Crucial's portfolio. For the first time, the company is adding an SLC cache mode to its client SSDs. The MX200 series uses Dynamic Write Acceleration on the 2.5" 250GB model. The 500GB mSATA and M.2 drives also get the feature. Unlike Samsung's TurboWrite and SanDisk's nCache, which use fixed sizes for the SLC-like layers, Crucial's technology employs a dynamic volume that expands and contracts depending on the SSD's free space. Sadly, the 1TB model we're testing today doesn't benefit from Dynamic Write Acceleration. We'll have to wait for the M.2-based MX200 review to talk more about it.

  • Nuckles_56
    I'm quite impressed by this drive, I'd have to say that crucial pulled the rabbit out of the hat this time
    Reply
  • Soul_keeper
    I appreciated the critical honesty in this review.
    The conclusion pretty much sums it up.
    Reply
  • twztechman
    I came to the same conclusion about a month ago and got a 1T Samsung EVO for $370. I have to admit some confusion over the Crucial Line of drives as I was considering a purchase. In my mind, the biggest competitor is/was the Mushkin Enhanced Reactor 1T which got a good review and a recommendation over at Anandtech back in February. Those drives are frequently on sale for $339 which makes them a really good value with good performance.

    I will say my old Cruical M4 256 has been a rock solid drive and is being re-purposed as a boot drive in one of my secondary systems.
    Reply
  • ubercake
    I would say Crucial is going to stress reliability over all-out speed. They usually put out a high-quality reliable product. Most people appreciate this when it comes to storage. On the other hand, the warranty could be longer. 3-year warranties are not very competitive when it comes to the most reliable drives. I personally don't consider SSDs with less than a 5-year warranty in my systems.
    Reply
  • FritzEiv
    Internet Explorer is presently (early Thur morning 4/30/15) inducing an occasional crash on this article (or perhaps the other way around; a debate for another day). We're looking into the issue and hope to have it resolved shortly. Apologies.

    Fritz Nelson, Editor-in-chief
    Reply
  • logainofhades
    Wouldn't mind having this drive, for my laptop. Only reason I would consider a 1tb is in my laptop. 500gb would be plenty for my desktops, as I have plenty of HDD storage.
    Reply
  • alidan
    I would say Crucial is going to stress reliability over all-out speed. They usually put out a high-quality reliable product. Most people appreciate this when it comes to storage. On the other hand, the warranty could be longer. 3-year warranties are not very competitive when it comes to the most reliable drives. I personally don't consider SSDs with less than a 5-year warranty in my systems.

    in a perfect world i would be swapping drives out after a year or so and keeping the old drive as a backup, with ssd, i think this would be the best way to go.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    I can't help but feel that when it comes to pricing, manufacturers
    are holding back. What are they waiting for? Just ditch the
    pointless entry level 64GB models, move on already. Annoys me
    when I see a 128GB priced at X, with the 64GB version at
    something like 85% of X, because... reasons!

    Given the shifting demands of users as video moves to HD and
    beyond, games take up ever more space, people storing lots
    of stuff from their phones, music, etc., surely it's time the
    industry went sideways and set 250GB/256GB as a new
    baseline (then maybe it'll feel like it's 2015 in at least one
    respect; where's the jetpack I was promised as a kid? :)
    I guess they won't though because as long as people are still
    buying the lower capacity models, presumably there's money
    to be made. Just wish one of them would break ranks and go
    for it, then the others would follow. IMO if a midrange 256GB
    goes below a certain price point, sales will skyrocket, more
    than making up via volume for the lower price (a bit like the
    way hardback books have a price above which most people
    won't buy them).

    Interesting btw, here (UK) at 250GB, the 850 EVO is exactly
    the same price as the MX200.

    Ian.

    PS. Chris, one of the article subheaders is wrong, ie. where it
    says, "A Closer Look at the MX100 1TB" - presumably that
    should be 'MX200'. ;)

    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    Thanks Ian, we fixed that one earlier today.

    In response to your statement. You might have noticed we don't list 128GB models in the Best of Monthly anymore. I don't plan on reviewing any 128GB models either.

    When we move to 256Gbit die the entry point will be 512GB and the 256GB drives will fall off. The 128GB drives till have a place in the market right now for business users and Facetwit Surfers but that group rarely reads performance reviews when shopping for a commodity product.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    15781622 said:
    In response to your statement. You might have noticed we don't list 128GB models in the Best of Monthly anymore. I don't plan on reviewing any 128GB models either.

    Very wise. I know some have moaned, but it's for the best. As long as
    consumers keep buying lesser capacities, manufacturers will stall the
    advancement of newer tech if they think they can keep making more
    money from older entry products.


    15781622 said:
    When we move to 256Gbit die the entry point will be 512GB and the 256GB drives will fall off. ...

    Hooray!! It would be great if everything could shift to 512GB minimum,
    but I can't see that happening this year. Too many are still happy to
    buy 256GB units. I'm looking for a 512GB atm, but what feels to me
    to be an 'acceptable' price isn't even enough for an Arc. I'm building a
    PC for someone soon, a typical pro user who isn't that bothered about
    the tech nerdyness of it all and doesn't know what stuff costs now.
    Their immediate feeling of a sensible boot drive capacity was 512GB,
    which is hardly surprising given they've been using an old Dell 650 with
    a 300GB SCSI disk for some time. Despite the speed, I'm sure a
    256GB SSD would feel too much like a downgrade.

    I had a look at Scan's 3XS pro-user systems recently, was surprised
    at how many of the top-end models (costing high thousands) only
    have 256GB SSDs. Surely not enough these days, though at least
    they were mostly using Samsung EVO/Pro models.

    Seems like in so many areas of tech now, it's all just gradual
    percentage increases year after year. Nobody does anything to break
    the mould. So much for all the big research headlines in the last 20
    years promising huge breakthroughs in storage, etc. Sums up the
    mediocre CPU speedups we've had since SB, similar MO. I get Intel
    not forging ahead, no competition, they don't have to, but one would
    think with SSDs there'd be scope for at least one maker to really
    hurl the cat among the pidgeons somehow. Insert a CinemaSins
    Jeremy-style *sigh*. :}


    15781622 said:
    ... Facetwit Surfers ...

    That made me laugh. :D

    I use 128s for system testing, but that's all. After installing the
    benchmarks I use, a 128 is basically full, especially if it's in a
    system that has a lot of RAM (bigger paging file) or a 'pro' build
    (Viewperf12 uses so much space). Indeed, for a system with
    64GB RAM, a 128 is perfect as a dedicated paging file device.

    Ian.

    Reply