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MX Technology MXSSDEP3 2TB SSD Review

Conclusion

The MX Technology MXSSDEP3 shows us that there is more than one way to build a high-performance SSD. Sadly, this drive isn't what we expected it to be.

The day before the Flash Memory Summit 2016, we were in a private suite receiving a briefing for Liqid's quad-M.2 SSD prototype, which will eventually become a channel product for Kingston. The Liqid NVMe all-in-one RAID-type product churned out over 1 million IOPS and 5,500 MB/s of mixed sequential throughput. It was amazing to behold.

Just days before, we received emails from several companies asking us to come to their booths to see the "World's Fastest SSD." At least five companies announced, or planned to announce, the "World's Fastest SSD" within a two day window. After leaving the Liquid meeting, I received a call from Europe asking if I wanted to test the 'World's Fastest SSD." The timing was perfect. The rep didn't have many details at the time but could set up the tests. After learning it was an all-in-one RAID configuration, I expected the SSD to be an NVMe model with PCIe bifurcation, like the Liquid/Kingston prototype with Phison SSDs, or the HP Z Turbo Quad with Samsung NVMe SSDs, which we will review shortly.

When the MX Technology MXSSDEP3 arrived, I saw it was not the bifurcated NVMe 1 million IOPS beast I expected. It's still an impressive drive, but it doesn't take advantage of the latest technology available. To be fair, this is the fastest SSD I've ever tested during a few very specific workloads. However, when we learned about the $2,499 (including VAT) price, we lost the excitement we had for this product.

Two aspects will all but kill this product. The price is insane, and the reliance on legacy AHCI technology is perplexing. I even doubt if this product will ever come to market in the channel or as a retail product. The price is too high compared to products like the Samsung 960 Pro 2TB ($1,299), and the benefits are too shallow.

There is really only one workload where you should consider the MX Technology MXSSDEP3 over a 960 Pro or a custom-built SSD RAID array. Heavy sequential transfers, mainly during audio and video production when manipulating or combining large files into what is called a mix down. If you didn't already know what a mix down is, you can pass on this product and look elsewhere for performance.

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Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.
  • dgingeri
    Massively overpriced. I can get an Avago 9300-8i for $300 and $856 for 4 Samsung 850 Pro 512GB drives, and get far better performance, for half the price. Even going with 4 enterprise grade SLC SSDs would be less than this thing. Sure, this allows it to be in one slot with no drive bays taken up, but that's not enough to justify an extra $1400 in cost.

    Maybe some moron who bought a 1U server to house a DB server might find a use for this. The $1400 is less than the cost of a full additional rack with PDUs.
    Reply
  • nebun
    what motherboard was used?....could the motherboard's pci lanes (software or hardware) could cripple the performance of this SSD???
    Reply
  • nebun
    where is the test setup info...did I miss it???
    Reply
  • firefoxx04
    I wouldn't say its overpriced. You pay for having two raided drives + a raid controller on one card. Suggesting that buying a separate raid card + 4 sata drives and saying its "better" is laughable. The solution they are selling fits in one slots and has no cables. That matters for some people, maybe not all but some (their target market)
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    I test PCIe-based storage on an Asrock Z97 with direct to CPU lanes. I'm very careful about what motherboards I use. They all go through a long validation cycle and not everything tested makes the cut. Once I find the best motherboard I ask for, or purchase three more so I can keep the performance consistent for all products. I'm evaluating Z170 products now but may skip the chipset to use the next version that we may see in early 2017.

    Also, this card has 8 SATA SSDs and not four.
    Reply
  • jdlech
    Why would someone pay $2500 and then mod it into JBOD?:pt1cable:
    At least I got to read about a PCIe RAID. That's nice - but the real world performance disappointed me as well.

    Now a company that comes up with something that makes all web pages load 2.5X faster (without paying for more bandwidth). That could get people to drop a thousand dollars or more.
    One thing I really like - that's the first time I saw power consumption for anything SSD in the specs. Glad to see it. Would like to see more companies provide power consumption specs.
    Reply
  • jsomiller44
    JDLECH..

    It is called AdBloack.
    I makes web pages load 5x faster. I also recommend Flashcontrol. These are plug ins for Google Chrome.
    Reply
  • dgingeri
    8 SSDs instead of 4? That makes the performance disparity even worse. Price is a little better, with a $300 SAS/SATA HBA and 8 256GB 850 Pros at $960, for a total of $1260, compared to $2500.

    Sure, it uses just one slot instead of a slot plus however many drive bays you might prefer. (I have 4 bay adapters that adapt 1 5.25" bay into 4 2.5" bays, with just one power connector. They're highly useful while 5.25" bays aren't so much anymore.) However, that space savings isn't work $1240 extra, except under extremely rare circumstances where someone has planned very poorly. Perhaps, if all you have is one rack with only 1U of space left.
    Reply
  • rmszaphod
    Sorry DGINGERI, but I have 5 850's in RAID0 on an LSI controller and I do not get these sequential numbers. Here's a quick Crystal Mark 32GiB file test run.

    Sys specs-i76850@4545Mhz 32GiB Dominator Platinum @3264 15/16/15/32/1T Asus x99-A II

    CrystalDiskMark 5.1.2 x64 (C) 2007-2016 hiyohiyo
    Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    * MB/s = 1,000,000 bytes/s * KB = 1000 bytes, KiB = 1024 bytes

    Sequential Read (Q= 32,T= 1) : 1630.320 MB/s
    Sequential Write (Q= 32,T= 1) : 1296.243 MB/s
    Random Read 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 341.523 MB/s Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 321.884 MB/s Sequential Read (T= 1) : 1627.498 MB/s
    Sequential Write (T= 1) : 1138.999 MB/s
    Random Read 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 33.176 MB/s Random Write 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 95.120 MB/s
    Test : 32768 MiB (x5) Date : 2016/11/22 11:56:31
    OS : Windows 10 Professional (x64)
    Reply
  • rmszaphod
    Course, it's not a 9300-8i. That's in the server in IT mode running ZFS FreeBSD 11. Still mostly spinning rust in that beast--so no way to compare. Planning a rebuild this weekend esp. if I can get a couple more 850's for it--Might just have to test this out. I have 6 850's. Might be worth a backup-destroy-test and then put it back together to find out.
    Reply