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

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 cents
SanDisk Ultra II (960GB)
37 cents
SanDisk Ultra II (480GB)
40 cents
SanDisk Ultra II (240GB)
41 cents
Samsung SSD 850 Evo (1TB)
42 cents
Samsung SSD 850 Evo (500GB)
44 cents
Crucial MX200 (1TBGB)
45 cents
SanDisk Extreme Pro (960GB)
47 cents
Samsung SSD 850 Evo (250GB)
48 cents
OCZ ARC 100 (240GB)
49 cents
Crucial MX200 (500GB)
50 cents
Plextor M6S (256GB)
53 cents
Crucial MX200 (250GB)
54 cents
SanDisk Extreme Pro (480GB)
54 cents
Intel SSD 730 (240GB)
54 cents
Samsung SSD 850 Pro (1TB)
55 cents
Samsung SSD 850 Pro (512GB)
57 cents
OCZ Vector 150 (480GB)
58 cents
SanDisk Extreme Pro (240GB)
62 cents
Samsung 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
448.11
SanDisk Extreme Pro
250.98
450.59
457.46
Crucial MX200
190.3
433.49
412.46
OCZ ARC 100 series
163.53
289.39
385.71
Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme
236.18
269.78
270.8
Intel SSD 730 Series
189.52
265.53
266.84
OCZ Vector 150
231.42
265.32
200.46
Seagate 600 SSD
192.26
259.01
275.21
SanDisk Extreme II
224.27
255.86
203.42
Transcend SSD720
145.26
230.58
269.55
SanDisk Ultra II
126.49
210.21
319.23
Plextor M6S
155.34
144.78
227.89
WD Black 2 Dual Drive
174.65
114.66
228.2
Samsung SSD 850 Evo
182.78
114.45
205.63

Legend:

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
384.38
Samsung SSD 850 Pro (RAPID)
5,005
368.13
Samsung SSD 850 Evo
4,983
276.16
Samsung SSD 850 Pro
4,979
267.32
Crucial MX200
4,968
256.94
SanDisk Extreme Pro
4,957
244.17
Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme
4,948
236.18
SanDisk Ultra II
4,922
208.55
OCZ ACR 100 series
4,948
203.72

Legend:

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
9.1
Samsung SSD 850 Evo
58
133.4
359.2
28.2
9.2
9.2
Samsung SSD 850 Evo (RAPID)
58
133.5
354.3
28.1
9.1
9.1
Crucial MX200
58
133.6
361
28.2
9.2
9.2
Samsung SSD 850 Pro
58.1
133.8
369.8
28.3
9.1
9.2
SanDisk Extreme Pro
58.4
133.9
361.1
28.3
9.2
9.2
SanDisk Ultra II
58.8
134.6
363.1
28.4
9.3
9.3
OCZ ARC 100 series
58.9
134.7
362.3
28.4
9.4
9.3
Stanard Laptop HDD
138.9
366
565.19
51.7
26.6
27.4

Legend:

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.