Published on Monday, 12 December 2016 19:58
Despite what many people seem to believe according to several reliable sources in the industry solid state drive prices (mostly client models) may actually increase in 2017 (due to higher NAND flash prices) but even if that happens SSDs still represent the best investment for people who want something faster than a regular mechanical drive so i really doubt sales will drop (besides most sources claim we’ll see a 10% price increase max). With that out of the way Crucial recently expanded their latest MX300 line to include more capacities and not just the 750GB limited edition one so today we decided to put the 525GB model through our rather extensive benchmark suite and see just what kind of performance you can expect from it.
Crucial.com is a leading online retailer specializing in computer memory (RAM) and solid state drives (SSD), and is operated by a subsidiary of Micron Technology, Inc., one of the world's leading manufacturers of computer memory products. Crucial.com offers more than 250,000 compatible products for nearly every computer system: home and business, old and new, PC and Mac® computers. Utilizing a suite of easy-to-use, free online tools, including the Crucial® System Scanner and the Crucial Memory Advisor™ tool, crucial.com makes it easy to find a compatible upgrade to improve computer performance and restore system reliability.
Only a few months have passed since Crucial released the 750GB Limited Edition variant of the MX300 line (review here) and today it’s also available in 275GB/525GB/1TB/2TB capacities. Now what makes the MX300 line of SSDs special is that it makes use of 32-layer 3D TLC NAND flash that utilizes four planes (quad plane) to communicate with the NAND flash processor and features FortisFlash technology for Dynamic Write Acceleration (through an emulated SLC layer). The NAND flash controller Crucial used with the MX300 line (and the 525GB variant which we have with us today) is the 4-channel Marvell 88SS1074 which features partial power loss protection, active garbage collection, redundant array of independent NAND (RAIN), LDPC error correction code (ECC), adaptive thermal protection, data-path protection, multistep data integrity algorithm and fully supports DevSleep (power save), TRIM, SMART, AES 256-bit hardware encryption, TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 (fully compatible with Microsoft's eDrive). In terms of endurance Crucial rates the MX300 525GB for up to 160TB TBW (roughly 88GB of writes per day for 5 years), gives it an MTTF of 1.5 million hours and just like with the rest of the line it’s covered by a 3 year limited warranty.
SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES
PACKAGING AND CONTENTS
Crucial ships the MX300 525GB inside a with a product picture at the front, their logo and the drive capacity.
Typically the bundle contents and company information are printed at the rear of the box right over several certification and warning logos.
As expected the drive is placed inside a formed piece of plastic.
Along with the MX300 525GB you will also get a 7mm to 9.5mm laptop adapter and an Acronis True Image HD key (for some weird reason our sample didn’t include this).
THE MX300 525GB
The exterior of the drive is identical to that of the previous MX lines so once again nothing really new here.
At the rear of the drive we find a large sticker which contains the serial and part numbers, barcodes, connectivity, PSID key, capacity, electrical requirements and installed firmware.
The usual SATA data and power connectors are placed at the rear of the drive.
Just like with the 750GB model Crucial has used a clip-on (clamp) design for the enclosure.
The 525GB model has just 2 NAND flash modules on the top side of the PCB each of which is 144GB in capacity.
On the opposite side we find 2 more NAND flash modules (again 144GB in capacity each) along with an array of capacitors (power-loss protection), 512MB LPDDR3 1333MHz DRAM package (again by Micron) and the Marvell 88SS1074 4-channel controller.
You can also download Crucial’s Storage Executive software from their support page in order to monitor the drive and control some of its features/settings (you can check this page for more details on the software).
After roughly 9 years of testing sold state drives i have concluded that it's almost impossible for any single benchmark suite to accurately measure their performance and that's why in certain benchmark suites we see amazing read/write performance numbers with some drives while in others things are quite different. The reason behind this is that some benchmarking suites are configured to read and write random chunks of data while others read and write constant (sequential) ones. So that's why i always use a very wide selection of benchmarking suites including AIDA64, HD Tach RW, HD Tune Pro, Crystal Disk Mark, Sisoftware Sandra Pro, AS SSD, IOmeter and ATTO. To get the most accurate results each test gets repeated a total of 6 times with the average performance numbers recorded into our charts. Also as of February 25th 2015 our results will also include the Storage Networking Industry Association’s (SNIA) IOMeter tests. These tests include a 12 Hour write test used to “simulate” performance degradation over time and a mixed workload test which basically shows what you can expect when using an SSD continuously for roughly two hours. Unfortunately due to the time required for these tests we repeat them a total of 3 times and not 6 as the above.
Many people have made inquiries about our charts in the past so once again please do keep in mind that the Charts have the average performance numbers of each drive recorded and not the peak (highest) ones. Also although every single one of these programs can help potential buyers choose the right drive for their needs you should also remember that from any kind of benchmark up to real world usage the gap is not small (and usually most differences will go unnoticed by most people). All tests were performed in a fresh Windows 7 Ultimate x64 installation with every update installed up to December 5th 2016.
TEST RESULTS - AIDA64 / ATTO
TEST RESULTS - HD TACH RW / HD TUNE PRO
TEST RESULTS - SISOFTWARE SANDRA PRO / CRYSTAL DISK MARK X64
TEST RESULTS – AS SSD / IOMETER
TEST RESULTS – IOMETER SNIA
Just like the 750GB limited edition model the 525GB variant of the MX300 line of SSDs performed very well and although it couldn’t keep up with its higher capacity brother (we will also test one of the even higher models to check and see how those do) we really have no complaints. Of course just like with the 750GB model the 525GB lags behind its main competition the 850 EVO by Samsung but again these drives are so similar in terms of features (although once again the MX300 comes with a higher write endurance number of 160TBW compared to the 150TBW of the EVO) that the differences they have in read/write performance should not be enough to discourage potential buyers. Also just like the 750GB model we need to take into account that the MX300 is faster than many TLC based models out there and that we should also see some performance gains with new firmware updates especially now that different capacity models have been released into the market.
Crucial had set a balanced price tag for the 750GB limited edition model so naturally we were expecting the same for the 525GB variant as well and we weren’t disappointed. To be more precise the MX300 525GB model currently retails for just USD129.95 inside the USA (Amazon.com) and 137Euros inside the EU (Amazon.co.uk) a price tag that puts it roughly 25% beneath the Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD. We’re obviously not talking about huge price differences but unless you are a really demanding user both the lower price and higher capacity (525GB vs 500GB) should be enough for you to opt for the MX300 by Crucial. Once again these things come down to personal preference but since we think that the MX300 525GB hits an sweeter spot than the 750GB model we can’t really deny giving it our Golden Award.
- Build Quality / Durability (160TB TBW)
- Very Good Overall Performance
- Features (Dynamic Write Acceleration / DevSleep / eDrive Support)
- Crucial Storage Executive Software
- 3 Year Warranty
- Available in 275/525/750/1TB/2TB Capacities
- Not As Fast As The 850 EVO (For Some)