X

Crucial MX200 review: An excellent balance of features, performance and cost

The Crucial MX200 solid-state drive has a lot to offer, including ultra-high endurance and enterprise features rarely seen in consumer-grade SSDs. Here's CNET's full review.

Dong_Ngo.jpg
Dong Ngo
Dong_Ngo.jpg

Dong Ngo

SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

See full bio
5 min read

CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

The Crucial MX200 is a midtier solid-state drive, rivaling the recently reviewed Samsung SSD 850 Evo as an excellent storage upgrade.

crucial-mx200-ssd-0998.jpg
8.2

Crucial MX200

The Good

The Crucial MX200 includes helpful enterprise-class features rarely available in consumer-grade SSDs. It should last a long time, and it delivers fast performance.

The Bad

The three-year warranty is short, and the drive is a bit more expensive than its competitors.

The Bottom Line

For heavy storage users who also need a high level of data safety, the Crucial MX200 is an excellent buy.

The new SSD has significantly higher durability, especially the 1TB capacity, and includes enterprise-grade data security features. In testing, it was also faster than the Samsung in certain categories.

But at the suggested price of $140 (£107.51), $250 (£192) and $470 (£361) for 250GB, 500GB and 1TB, respectively, the Crucial MX200 is more more expensive than the 850 Evo while carrying a shorter warranty of just 3 years. (Crucial says pricing for Australia is the same as for the US.)

Still, I feel comfortable recommending the drive to anyone. The MX200 has enough power to make any hard drive-based computer perform much faster. And the ultra-high endurance means you can regularly use it for heavy tasks, such as HD video editing, without having to worry about quickly rendering it useless.

If you're still looking for more options, however, check out out other models on this list of top SSDs.

The Crucial MX200 is a standard 2.5-inch 7mm internal drive that includes a spacer to match its thickness to that of a 9.5mm laptop hard drive. Josh Miller/CNET

A consumer drive with enterprise features

The MX200 is a 2.5-inch standard internal drive, with a design similar to most other SSDs and laptop hard drives. It supports SATA 3 (6Gbps) and works with earlier revisions of the SATA standard.

On the inside, however, it's the first such drive I've seen with a number of high-end features, normally found only in enterprise-class SSDs, that keep its stored data safe. These features include Exclusive Data Defense hardware encryption, and RAIN.

RAIN is a technology that allows a portion of the SSD's flash memory to be dedicated as parity. This means when data is saved on the drive, it's dispersed to multiple different storage components. As the result, if one storage component fails, you can still retrieve data from other components. And to reduce the chance of data corruption, each storage component has four layers of Exclusive Data Defense.

The MX200 supports AES 256-bit hardware encryption that is TCG Opal 2.0- and IEEE1667-compliant. This makes it fit in business environment where data security in case of theft or loss is important. On top of that the drive also features power-loss protection, adaptive thermal monitoring, TRIM, SMART and DevSleep, which enables it to use very little power.

Crucial MX200 specs

250GB500GB1TB
Drive type 2.5-inch, 7mm thick2.5-inch, 7mm thick2.5-inch, 7mm thick
Controller Marvell 88SS9189Marvell 88SS9189Marvell 88SS9189
Flash memory 16nm 128GB NAND with Dynamic Write Acceleration16nm 128GB NAND16nm 128GB NAND
Interface SATA III (6Gbps)SATA III (6Gbps)SATA III (6Gbps)
Max sequential read 555 MBps555 MBps555 MBps
Max sequential write 500 MBps500 MBps500 MBps
Max random read 100,000 IOPS100,000 IOPS100,000 IOPS
Max random write 87,000 IOPS87,000 IOPS87,000 IOPS
Endurance (TB written) 80 TB160 TB320TB
Endurance (GB written per day for 10 years) > 40 GB> 80 GB> 160 GB
Warranty 3-year3-year3-year

Ultra-high endurance, helpful software

The Samsung SSD 850 Evo has impressive endurance, but the MX200 tops that by a large margin. Endurance, also known as program/erase (P/E) cycles, is the rating that quantifies the total amount of data that can be written to an SSD before the drive becomes unreliable. You can think of endurance as the drive's durability. (For more on the endurance of SSDs, check out this post.)

Generally endurance increases with capacity: the MX200 is available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities that have respective endurance ratings of 80TB, 160TB and 320TB. Particularly with the 1TB drive, you'd have to write 40GB of data to it per day, every day, continuously for 22 years before it became unreliable.

Note that an SSD's endurance relates only to writing, as reading doesn't affect its life span at all. Also, 40GB is quite a lot of data. On average, most days we don't write even a fraction of that to our computer's main drive, and many days we don't write anything at all.

Nonetheless, the high endurance allows pro users to use the drive for heavy tasks that involve lots of data writing, such as video editing or data swapping. If you get the 1TB capacity, it's safe to say that you can use it without having to worry about abusing its P/E cycles.

crucialsoft.png
The Storage Executive is helpful software used to manage the drive. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

The MX200 includes Crucial's Storage Executive software for managing the drive. Apart from monitoring the drive's status, you can also use the software to update the firmware and change or remove the password for the drive's encryption feature. The drive also includes a license for Acronis True Image HD 2014, which is one of the best software applications for drive backups and cloning; it normally costs another $30.

A tad pricey

At launch the MX200's suggested price was higher than that of the Samsung SSD 850 Evo. By the time this review was done, however, its price had already dropped lower than its suggested retail price, with the 250GB and 1TB versions costing some $10 and $25 less, respectively. However, even with the price cuts, currently the MX200 is still a few cents per gigabyte more expensive than some of its competitors.

But this difference in pricing is very minor, considering the value of the included software. And like all newly released SSDs, in a month or so, the MX200 will surely drop even further in price.

SSD cost per gigabye in USD

WD Black 2 Dual Drive 12 centsSanDisk Ultra II (960GB) 37 centsSanDisk Ultra II (480GB) 40 centsSanDisk Ultra II (240GB) 41 centsSamsung SSD 850 Evo (1TB) 42 centsSamsung SSD 850 Evo (500GB) 44 centsCrucial MX200 (1TBGB) 45 centsSanDisk Extreme Pro (960GB) 47 centsSamsung SSD 850 Evo (250GB) 48 centsOCZ ARC 100 (240GB) 49 centsCrucial MX200 (500GB) 50 centsPlextor M6S (256GB) 53 centsCrucial MX200 (250GB) 54 centsSanDisk Extreme Pro (480GB) 54 centsIntel SSD 730 (240GB) 54 centsSamsung SSD 850 Pro (1TB) 55 centsSamsung SSD 850 Pro (512GB) 57 centsOCZ Vector 150 (480GB) 58 centsSanDisk Extreme Pro (240GB) 62 centsSamsung SSD 850 Pro (256GB) 63 cents
Note: Measured based on current price on Amazon in US dollars. Lower numbers indicate better value.

Performance

As with the Samsung SSD 850 Evo, I tested the Crucial MX200 with a midrange computer running a Core i5 processor with 8GB of system memory, and it really made a big difference in the machine's performance.

In the sequential data transferring test, which is a test that gauges a drive's raw copy speed, the new drive scored a sustained speed of 190MBps when doing both writing and reading at the same time, almost 10MBps faster than the 850 Evo. When used as a secondary drive and performing writing and reading separately, the drive scored 433MBps for writing and 412MBps for reading, ranking in the top three on the charts and more than double the speed of the 850 Evo. Note, however, sequential performance is not the most important thing about SSDs when you use them as the main storage unit of a computer; rather it's the random-access performance.

CNET Labs SSD data transfer performance

Samsung SSD 850 Pro 246.25 454.32 448.11SanDisk Extreme Pro 250.98 450.59 457.46Crucial MX200 190.3 433.49 412.46OCZ ARC 100 series 163.53 289.39 385.71Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 236.18 269.78 270.8Intel SSD 730 Series 189.52 265.53 266.84OCZ Vector 150 231.42 265.32 200.46Seagate 600 SSD 192.26 259.01 275.21SanDisk Extreme II 224.27 255.86 203.42Transcend SSD720 145.26 230.58 269.55SanDisk Ultra II 126.49 210.21 319.23Plextor M6S 155.34 144.78 227.89WD Black 2 Dual Drive 174.65 114.66 228.2Samsung SSD 850 Evo 182.78 114.45 205.63
  • As OS Drive (Read and write)
  • As secondary drive (Write only)
  • As secondary drive (Read only)
Note: Measured in megabytes per second.

And the MX200's random-access performance was decent. In tests with the PC Mark benchmark suite, the MX200 was on par with other SSDs, though at times it was slightly below the 850 Evo.

PC Mark 8 overall storage performance

Samsung SSD 850 Evo (RAPID) 5,013 384.38Samsung SSD 850 Pro (RAPID) 5,005 368.13Samsung SSD 850 Evo 4,983 276.16Samsung SSD 850 Pro 4,979 267.32Crucial MX200 4,968 256.94SanDisk Extreme Pro 4,957 244.17Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 4,948 236.18SanDisk Ultra II 4,922 208.55OCZ ACR 100 series 4,948 203.72
  • Storage Score
  • Storage bandwith (MB/s)
Note: Higher numbers indicate better performance.

PC Mark 8 also showed that the two drives were very similar in terms of application performance. The test computer also booted much faster with the MX200 (just around 10 seconds) when compared with a regular hard drive (close to a minutes); all applications also loaded significantly faster.

Generally, you sure will see a huge performance gain moving from a regular hard drive to the MX200. However, if you were using another SSD before, the difference you'll see with the MX200 will be hard to notice.

PC Mark 8 storage application performance

Samsung SSD 850 Pro (RAPID) 58 133.9 355.7 28.2 9.1 9.1Samsung SSD 850 Evo 58 133.4 359.2 28.2 9.2 9.2Samsung SSD 850 Evo (RAPID) 58 133.5 354.3 28.1 9.1 9.1Crucial MX200 58 133.6 361 28.2 9.2 9.2Samsung SSD 850 Pro 58.1 133.8 369.8 28.3 9.1 9.2SanDisk Extreme Pro 58.4 133.9 361.1 28.3 9.2 9.2SanDisk Ultra II 58.8 134.6 363.1 28.4 9.3 9.3OCZ ARC 100 series 58.9 134.7 362.3 28.4 9.4 9.3Stanard Laptop HDD 138.9 366 565.19 51.7 26.6 27.4
  • World of Warcraft
  • Battlefield 3
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
Note: Measured in seconds. Shorter bars indicate better performance.

Conclusion

Apart from the relatively short three-year warranty, there's not much I don't like about the MX200. Crucial has done a great job with the drive by packing it with many useful features and pumping its sequential performance and endurance a great deal, so that it rivals even top-tier SSDs such as the Samung SSD 850 Pro and the SanDisk Extreme Pro.

If you have a computer that still uses a hard drive as the main storage device holding the operating system, upgrading to the MX200 will turn that machine in to a powerhouse that you never thought possible since the hard drive is the main bottleneck of a computer's overall performance. On top of that, the support for hardware encryption also makes the MX200 an excellent choice for businesses looking to safeguard their data without having to pay for enterprise-class SSDs.

The MX200 isn't the best SSD on the market, but it has an excellent balance of performance, features and pricing. And it'll get better in a month or two when its street price catches up with those of its competitors.

crucial-mx200-ssd-0998.jpg
8.2

Crucial MX200

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 9Performance 8Support 7