Crucial Announces MX200, BX100 SSDs & SSD Toolboxby Kristian Vättö on January 8, 2015 9:30 PM EST
Crucial's MX100 has been one the most successful SSDs on the market. Its very aggressive pricing along with decent performance and great feature set has made it an excellent buy for mainstream users. Here at CES Crucial just introduced the MX200, the successor of MX100, and a new budget-oriented model called the BX100.
The MX200 is essentially the branded version of Micron's M600 that we reviewed earlier. The notable change compared to the MX100 is that the MX200 features Dynamic Write Acceleration (DWA), which is Micron's/Crucial's SLC cache implementation. I covered the feature in detail in our M600 review, but in short the SLC cache size is adaptive and changes depending on how much data the user is storing in the drive (unlike e.g. Samsung's and SanDisk's implementations where the SLC cache size is fixed). I wasn't very impressed by the performance of the M600 and DWA, but what DWA does provide is higher endurance since SLC is significantly more durable. Crucial is rating the 250GB version at 80TB, 500GB at 160TB and 1TB at 320TB, which is a notable increase over the 72TB that the MX100 had.
Otherwise the MX200 is very similar to the MX100. It's a Marvell 88SS9189 based design with Micron's 16nm 128Gbit NAND and as usual the MX200 features DevSleep, TCG Opal 2.0 and eDrive encryption. MSRPs are $140 for 250GB, $250 for 500GB and $470 for 1TB, which is certainly a bit more compared to the MX100. M.2 and mSATA models are also available, though the capacities only go to up to 500GB. Availability will be later in this quarter and we are expected to get samples in the next couple of weeks.
The other SSD that Crucial is launching is more interesting. The BX100 will be Crucial's entry-level drive (the B stands for budget) and the intriguing part is that Crucial is using Silicon Motion's 2246EN controller with 16nm 128Gbit NAND, which is change from Crucial's usual Marvell designs. Actually, the BX100 is the first drive from a NAND OEM to ship with a Silicon Motion controller, so that is certainly a big design win for the company. I've been pretty pleased with the 2246EN and it has done well in our tests, so I can see why Crucial chose to go with that one.
Feature wise the BX100 drops all the M-class features, so there is no hardware-accelerated encryption or SLC caching. Pricing is $70 for 120GB, $110 for 250GB, $200 for 500GB and $400 for 1TB, so it's very competitively priced like the MX100, although given the lack of features I would have like to see a bit lower pricing since the MX100 currently retails for about the same prices. Availability is also Q1'15 and we will be getting samples soon.
Finally, after a long period of waiting, Crucial is launching its own toolbox for SSDs, called the Crucial Storage Executive. The 1.0 version is a fairly basic toolbox with support for firmware updates, drive monitoring, secure erase and PSID revert, although Crucial has plans to add more features in the future. Supported drives are currently the M500, M550, MX100, MX200 and BX100 and the software is already available for download from Crucial's website.