Crucial MX200 250GB M.2 SSD Review
As we have stated in recent reviews SSDs are unfortunately not the most exciting product on the planet, especially as the bandwidth of SATA3 is now holding further performance gains back. But M.2 SSDs are a little (haha get it!) more interesting in my opinion, why? Well because they offer the same performance in a form-factor that can be hidden within your PC and it requires no power cable and no SATA cable. Sounds good already eh!? So what are we looking at today then?
Well here we have a Crucial MX200 250GB M.2 (CT250MX200SSD4), an SSD supporting the aforementioned form-factor and sporting a Read speed of 555MB/s and a Write speed of 500MB/s. Random Read IOPS are quoted at 100K while Write is 87K. This drive is a type D4-2280 drive meaning that it has a width of 22mm and a length of 80mm and a maximum with of 2.2mm.
As you can see the Crucial MX200 250GB M.2 came to pcG in a plastic wallet style box, its far from elegant but it does the job of protecting its contents well enough.
As you would guess (well as you can see even) there’s not much in the box; other than the M.2 SSD there’s a couple of screws (always handy these) and a product activation key for Acronis Tue Image HD.
courtesy of Crucial
|Form Factor||M.2 Internal SSD|
|Specs||250GB M.2/NGFF (2280) Single Sided internal SSD • SATA 6.0Gb/s • 555 MB/s Read, 500 MB/s Write|
Well here we can’t really rave about how good the Crucial MX200 250GB M2 drive looks as it’s simply a printed Circuit Board (PCB) with some chips on it and a dirty great big sticker! To be fair these things could be made to look a little better IMHO and it would be better if the PCG wasn’t blue!
But it’s the size that’s important (and that’s always true, right!? 😉 ) measuring in at just 22mm wide by 80mm long and being only 2.2mm thick (indicated by the D4 at the end of the Model Number) the Crucial MX200 250GB M.2 is very small. And on our test motherboard (ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer) it actually fits beneath the primary Graphics card slot!
The Crucial MX200 250GB M.2 SSD is simply installed by inserting the connector end of the card into the slot on the motherboard and hinging it downwards, it is then secured by way of a simple screw.
Our Test Rig for this review (shown below) was treated to a fresh install of Windows 7 Professional N 64Bit (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 M2_1 (M.2_SSD (NGFF) Socket 3) of the ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer motherboard. No special or other BIOS/UEFI options are required, but…
NOTE: That by using a SATA based M.2 drive one of the SATA ports on the motherboard is always disabled. In our case it’s the SATA Express port that get disabled (and who uses that right!?).
|Case||Cooler Master HAF XB||Power Supply||Corsair Professional Series AX 760i|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer||CPU||Intel Core i5-4690K|
|CPU Cooler||Raijintek Themis||RAM||HyperX Savage 2400MHz 8GB Kit|
|Graphics Card||XFX AMD Radeon R9 290X DD Black Edition||SSD||Crucial MX200 250GB M.2|
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
The out of the box performance (so to speak) of the Crucial MX200 250GB M.2 SSD is very good indeed, it is in fact the fastest M.2 based SSD we have tested here at pcG. It also surpasses the performance figures (Read 550MB/s & Write 500MB/s) quoted by the manufacturer with a Read speed of 563MB/s and a Write of 513MB/s. Also there’s a nice consistency to the data shown in the ATTO Disk Benchmark. Let’s see how the Crucial MX200 250GB M.2 SSD performs when it comes to our Game loading benchmarks…
- PCMark 8 Storage Test
|Drive||Type||World of Warcraft (Load Time)||Battlefield 3 (Load Time)|
|Crucial MX200 250GB||SSD||57.8 s||132.8 s|
|Crucial MX100 256GB||SSD||57.8 s||132.9 s|
|Toshiba HG6 512GB||SSD||57.8 s||132.9 s|
|Crucial MX200 250GB||M.2||58.1 s||133.2 s|
|Crucial BX100 250GB||SSD||58.5 s||133.6 s|
|Kingston M.2 120GB||M.2||58.5 s||134.0 s|
|HyperX Savage 240GB||SSD||58.8 s||134.5 s|
|Kingston Now 60GB||mSATA||58.9 s||136.2 s|
|HyperX Fury 120GB||SSD||58.8 s||136.4 s|
|ADATA SX300 64GB||mSATA||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|
|Seagate 2TB SSHD||SSHD||99.2 s||260.5 s|
|Toshiba 1TB Hybrid||SSHD||91.6 s||285.0 s|
|Western Digital Black 1TB||HDD||123.6 s||303.9 s|
We use the PCMark 8 benchmark to test real world loading times for both World of Warcraft and Battlefield 3. With an average load time of 58.1s for World of Warcraft we find the Crucial MX200 250GB just 0.3s away from the top of the chart. In the Battlefield 3 test the Crucial MX200 again performs well with an average load time of 133.2s, just 0.4s away from the leaders. As you can imagine, there’ll be no discernible difference from using any of the drives at the top of our chart while Gaming, as (as we have previously stated) we are now just pushing the limits of the SATA 3 6GB/s interface, so there’s very little more performance to be had.
The Crucial MX200 250GB M.2 (CT250MX200SSD4) has rekindled my love for the M.2 SSD form-factor, the drive can be hidden away in your PC (no wires) and it performs as good as any SSD out there, not much more to say really…
Unfortunately there’s not a lot to talk about when it comes to M.2 SSDs as they really are devices that push Function over Form. We don’t really care about how well packaged the drive was or how well presented. It’s really all about two main things:
The first of which is convenience, M.2 as a form-factor scores highly here (very high in my book) thanks to the fact that it can be hidden away on your motherboard somewhere, in our case it actually resides below the primary GPU on the ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer and is completely hidden from view (very nice). Of course this means that there’s no additional cabling either. I do wish that they went with a black PCB though, as the blue is a little glaring.
Of course the other factor is the area of performance and as we can see from the charts above the MX200 250GB M.2 SSD is as fast as any SSD out there (well as far as we are likely to notice anyway!).
The bottom line is that I’m a huge fan of the M.2 SSD form-factor and the Crucial MX200 250GB M.2 has just helped to reaffirm this. it’s just a shame that they’re so much more expensive than their regular 2.5″ equivalents…
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Many thanks to Crucial for providing this sample for review