Crucial MX100 256GB SSD Review
As we have stated before SSDs are not the most exciting of purchases when building a new Gaming Rig, but they are an essential part of a high performance PC. When looking for SSDs the numbers that we see bandied about are all about Read and Write performance, and here at pcG we would say that (as a basic guideline) always look for both numbers to be around 500+ MB/s to ensure you’re getting the write (haha) SSD. But here we have an SSD that breaks those rules a little; enter the Crucial MX100 256GB SDD (CT256MX100SSD1).
The Crucial MX100 features a Marvell® 88SS9189 controller with Micron® Custom Firmware and Micron 16nm MLC NAND, with a quoted Read speed of 550 MB/s and a Write speed of 330 MB/s. The question here is whether that 330 MB/s Write speed is actually going to affect our Gaming in any way…
As you can see the Crucial MX100 256GB SSD came well packaged in a small cardboard box, with the SSD sealed in a anti-static bag. In the box in addition to the SSD there’s a 7mm to 9.5mm spacer and a key to download a free copy of Acronis True Image HD 2014.
As is the norm there’s not much to look at when looking at an SSD and the MX100 is no different. The SSD is housed in a solid aluminium frame with a Crucial MX100 sticker on one side and a Specifications label on the other. Although I cant help thinking that these labels are the wrong way round. If you were to screw the SSD to the base of your case for example the Specifications label is what you would see!?
At the time of writing the Crucial MX100 256GB SSD is retailing for around £75 on Amazonand comes with a 3 year warranty.
|Crucial MX100 Specifications|
|NAND||Micron 16nm 128Gbit MLC|
|4KB Random Read||80K IOPS||85K IOPS||90K IOPS|
|4KB Random Write||40K IOPS||70K IOPS||85K IOPS|
|Endurance||72TB (~65GB/day for 3 years)|
|Encryption||AES 256-bit, TCG Opal 2.0 & IEEE-1667|
The test bed for this review (shown below) was treated to a fresh install of Windows 7 64Bit Home Premium (service pack 1) with all associated Drivers installed. I also ensured that AHCI was set in the UEFI (although this is now the default settings for most modern MBs). The drive was connected to the Intel SATA 3 (6GBs) port (4) of the MSI Z87 G45 GAMING motherboard. No special or other BIOS/UEFI options are required…
|Case||Cooler Master HAF XB||Power Supply||Corsair AX760i|
|Motherboard||MSI Z87 G45 GAMING||CPU||Intel Core i5-4670K|
|CPU Cooler||Raijintek Themis||RAM||Kingston HyperX Beast 8GB 2400MHz|
|Graphics Card||MSI GTX 770 OC Edition||SSD||Crucial MX100 256GB SSD|
We use PCMark 8 to help ascertain Gaming performance. The test used measures the performance of the drive while loading real game data for both World of Warcraft and Battlefield 3. In addition to this we will also use ATTO Disk Benchmark to confirm the drives claimed performance levels.
- ATTO Disk Benchmark
In the pure throughput test the ATTO scores are actually better than the drives quotes speeds (550 Read / 330 Write), with scores of Read 555 MB/s and Write 346 MB/s, which is good news. Note the low Write speeds in the graph above left too! Now let’s take a closer look at the Crucial MX100 256GB’s Gaming performance.
The Crucial MX100 256GB goes straight to the top of the charts, matching the Toshiba HG6 512GB in both the World of Warcraft and the Battlefield 3 tests. As you can see (and probably guess!) the Write performance (330 MB/s quoted) has no bearing on the Game loading test as this is effectively a Read Only operation, as is the norm for Games! So the Write performance of the Crucial MX100 256GB may be low, but it has no real bearing on Games, interesting!
- PCMark 8 Storage Test
|Drive||World of Warcraft (Load Time)||Battlefield 3 (Load Time)|
|Crucial MX100 256GB (SSD)||57.8 s||132.9 s|
|Toshiba HG6 512GB (SSD)||57.8 s||132.9 s|
|Kingston M.2 120GB||58.5 s||134.0 s|
|Kingston Now 60GB (mSATA)||58.9 s||136.2 s|
|HyperX Fury 120GB (SSD)||58.8 s||136.4 s|
|ADATA mSATA SX300 64GB (SSD)||59.0 s||136.7 s|
|Kingston HyperX Na’Vi Limited Edition 240GB (SSD)||59.2 s||137.6 s||Kingston 200V+ 60GB (SSD)||59.8 s||138.2 s|
|Western Digital Black 1TB (HDD)||123.6 s||303.9 s|
It looks like Crucial has a winner on its hands here with the Crucial MX100 256GB SDD (CT256MX100SSD1). As we have stated in the past SSDs are not generally that exciting, but this one is a little more interesting than some of the others at least, because the MX100 has taught us all a valuable lesson.
The lesson is learnt off the back of the drive’s Write performance; while the Read is right up there with the best of them at 550MB/s the Write is low at only 330 MB/s. But for Gaming this makes very little impact on the performance as during Gaming the SSD is used 99% of the time for reading.
This is born out in our testing with the MX100 equalling the Toshiba HG6 drive with a performance that puts it at the top of our chart!
Ok so we know it performs well in Games, but we also know that Write performance is still on the low side. Why would you opt for an MX100 over any other drive, especially drives that offer a better Write performance? Answer = Price!
The icing on the cake here is the Price, at the time of writing the Crucial MX100 offers one of the best GB per pound on the market, I guess we don’t really need to say too much more…
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Where possible we always use Amazon’s price for Value…
Many thanks to Crucial for providing this sample for review