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In a market mostly dominated by Samsung, it’s hard to keep up with them. But not for long because another new series from Crucial – the MX300, again TLC based SSD, wishes to give the competition a run for their money. With vertically stacked NAND, making it the second solid-state drive to use 3D flash memory, as opposed to the traditional, planar 2D flash memory, Micron can reach 32-layers of memory cells.

They started with a limited edition run the 750 GB MX300 model and soon after they released more capacities like 275 GB, 525 GB and 1050 GB models.

Today we will be reviewing the 525 GB variant.

Frist aboutCrucial

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Crucial is a global brand of Micron Technology, Inc., one of the largest memory and flash storage manufacturers in the world also ranked among the Top 5 Semiconductor producing companies in the world.
They make computer memory upgrades (DRAM) and solid state drives (SSDs), and offer more than 250,000 upgrades for over 50,000 systems.

 

Price when reviewed:

MX300 – 525 GB – £ 116.99 – via Amazon.co.uk

CRUCIAL MX300 525 GB AMAZON CO UK

 

Presentation and Specification

 

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* Courtesy of their website.

– Sequential reads/writes up to 530 / 510 MB/s on all file types1
– Random reads/writes up to 92k / 83k on all file types1
– Over 90x more energy efficient than a typical hard drive2
– Accelerated by Micron® 3D NAND technology
– Dynamic Write Acceleration delivers faster saves and file transfers
– More durable than a hard drive – no small moving parts that are prone to failure
– Best-in-class hardware encryption keeps data safe and secure
– Exclusive Data Defense guards against data corruption
– Adaptive Thermal Protection allows for adaptive cooling
– Power Loss Protection completes write commands even if power is lost
– Includes free Acronis® True Image™ HD software for easy data migration
– Compatible with the Crucial Storage Executive tool for easy drive maintenance
– 3 year limited warranty

A quick comparison with the rest of the series, minus the 750 limited edition model.

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Instantly improve system performance

The Crucial MX300 reaches read speeds up to 530 MB/s and write speeds up to 510 MB/s1 on all file types so you can boot up almost instantly, reduce load times, and accelerate demanding applications with ease. Plus, our Dynamic Write Acceleration technology uses an adaptable pool of high-speed, single-level cell flash memory to generate blistering speeds throughout the drive’s long life.

Over 90x more energy efficient than a typical hard drive

Extreme Energy Efficiency technology within the Crucial MX300 reduces the amount of active power usage that’s consumed by the drive. The Crucial MX300 extends your laptop’s battery life by using only 0.075W of power, compared to a typical hard drive which uses 6.8W.

Entrust your files to a drive that lasts

With an endurance rating of up to 220TB total bytes written, the Crucial MX300 is engineered with Micron 3D NAND to deliver years of fast performance. The 3D NAND leverages larger NAND cells to improve performance and prolong endurance.

Keep your system cool

In addition to lower active power usage, Adaptive Thermal Protection technology dynamically adjusts storage component activity. This helps keep your system cool and minimizes the risk of damage caused by overheating.

Boost drive performance by up to 10x with Crucial Storage Executive

This downloadable tool is easy to use and helps monitor and enhance the performance of your Crucial MX300 – update to the latest firmware and enable the Momentum Cache feature in Storage Executive to instantly improve burst performance. Download the latest version at www.crucial.com/usa/en/support-storage-executive.

Micron quality — a higher level of reliability.

As a brand of Micron, one of the largest flash storage manufacturers in the world, the Crucial MX300 is backed by the same quality and innovation that has produced some of the world’s most advanced memory and storage technologies. With over a thousand hours of prerelease validation testing and hundreds of SSD qualification tests, the Crucial MX300 has been thoroughly tried, tested, and proven. You’ll notice the difference.

 

Packaging and content

 

For every new series Crucial brings a new cover design for their packaging. This time we have grey as the predominant background, which actually fits really well with the aluminium outer shell of the SSD.

Here on the front we have a visual representation of the MX300 SSD, the capacity and the branding down in the right corner.

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The back shows information regarding the warranty (3 years) and what the box contains.

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Speaking of contents, let’s open it up.

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You will get besides the SSD, a 7 to 9.5 mm adapter and the activation key for the Acronis True Image HD migration software, which we will test as well.

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Then the MX300 525 GB SSD itself. On the back it has the specs and detailed product number.

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It has a minimalist design, as accustomed by Crucial so far. All around aluminium shell and a blue sticker with the “MX” ghosted in it.

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Testing methodology

 

– Synthetic and real life tests.
– All test subjects with identical content.
– All SSDs were secure-erased before our test suite
– Steps have been taken to ensure that the CPU’s power-saving features don’t interfere with any of our results. All of the CPU’s low-power states have been disabled.
– In order to minimize random variation, each of the real-life performance tests is run a few times with reboots in-between tests to minimize the impact of disk cache.

 

Hardware used:

CPU: Intel i7 2600k 3.4 Ghz TDP 95 W / then OC’ed to 4.5 Ghz @ 1.400v
Motherboard: ASUS MAXIMUS ROG GENE-Z/IV Z68 mATX
Memory Modules: 2x 4 GB DDR3 G.Skill Trident X 2400 Mhz @ 1.65v
PSU: Corsair TX 750W V2
Storage HDD: WD 160 GB Caviar SE 3.5″
Video card: EVGA GTX 650

Competition storage:

Samsung 840 Pro 128 GB MLC
Samsung 840 Pro 512 GB MLC
HGST 1 TB 2.5″ HDD 7K1000 Travelstar 32 MB 7200 RPM
Crucial BX200 240 GB TLC
Crucial BX200 480 GB TLC

Software:

– Windows 10 Pro x64 Build 1511.10586
– HD Tune Pro v5.50
– ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.46
– Crystal Disk Mark v3.02

Installed in our open bench test system.

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Before we get into the testing, we took a look at the Acronis True Image HD migration software which is included with every Crucial SSD.

First step is to download it from www.crucial.com/acronis. Start the installation.

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Sign up and then enter the activation key.

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And here is the main interface with all the tabs and options.

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Select “Clone Disk” and from there everything is self-explanatory. We tried the automatic (recommended) setting and everything went smoothly.

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Then it will ask you for a reset where it will do the actual cloning. Then go into your bios after the cloning is done, select the new cloned drive as the primary boot and job done.

 

Testing and Results

 

First, we start with HD Tune Prois a hard disk / SSD utility with many functions. It can be used to measure the drive’s performance, scan for errors, check the health status (S.M.A.R.T.), securely erase all data and much more.

The “Read” benchmark.

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Then we did “Random access” tests.

Crucial MX300 525 GB TLC

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Samsung 840 Pro 512 GB MLC

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Samsung 840 Pro 128 GB MLC

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Crucial BX200 240 GB TLC

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Crucial BX200 480 GB TLC

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HGST 1 TB HDD 7K1000 Travelstar 32 MB 7200 RPM

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Moving to the next utility – Crystal Disk MarkCrystalDiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your hard drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and random read/write speeds.

As with the description, we will test the write and read capability of each drive.

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And last but not least, ATTO Disk BenchmarkThe ATTO is to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host bus adapters (HBAs), hard drives and SSD drives

Crucial MX300 525 GB TLC

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Samsung 840 Pro 512 GB MLC

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Samsung 840 Pro 128 GB MLC

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Crucial BX200 240 GB TLC

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Crucial BX200 480 GB TLC

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HGST 1 TB HDD 7K1000 Travelstar 32 MB 7200 RPM

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And to finish testing, a real life big file transfer of data specifically to test the cache; what we were talking about in the beginning.
We took a random folder with over 20 gb of mixed data and copied it on the same location.

We only tested as a comparison with the 840 Pro 512 GB which is a MLC with unlimited cache and the BX200 480 TLC.

Crucial MX300 525 GB TLC with 15 GB cache.

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Crucial 480 GB TLC with <6 GB cache level.

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And compared with the Samsung Pro 512 MLC.

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So yes ! The new cache did helped a lot as you can see compared to the BX series, the writing improvements are there.

 

Analysis

 

In the synthetic benchmarks, the same story, strong good numbers very close to what is advertised.
Then what we we’re really interesting to see if this bigger cache pool will help. And it did !
I mean compared to the BX200 where it dropped to writing performance slower than a regular hard drive, here it kept a very decent average of 100-150 MB/s in the 20 GB mixed file transfer test. We are impressed, for a TLC SSD !

 

Conclusion

 

Really good value SSD compared to the BX480 for example which priced at a very similar price.

The good:

+ Very good performance / price ratio
+ More turbo cache than the previous series so no more drops in heavy writing transfers
+ 7 mm thin—ultrabook compatible
+ 3 years warranty or 220 TBW endurance rating
+ Acronis True Image HD license included

The bad:

– Harsh competition from Samsung on all fronts

Glob3trotters “Excellent Value” Award – 4.5 out of 5

GG

Many thanks for Crucial for supplying us this test sample !

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