Cru­cial MX500 1Tb

Cru­cial re­sets the SATA SSD mar­ket­place

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The SATA SSD mar­ket has been pretty stag­nant of late. The per­for­mance advantage of PCI Ex­press based NVMe drives means that older SATA drives no longer grab the head­lines. SATA drives still make up the largest part of the SSD mar­ket though, and com­pe­ti­tion re­mains fierce. Cru­cial has fired the first shot of 2018 with the ag­gres­sively priced MX500. Even at launch it’s one of the cheap­est 1TB drives on the mar­ket. That alone makes it a solid rec­om­men­da­tion, though the MX500 is far from be­ing a one trick pony.

Cru­cial par­ent com­pany Micron is one of the lead­ing flash pro­duc­ers in the world. It man­u­fac­tures the 64-Layer TLC NAND flash mem­ory found in­side the MX500. These new mem­ory chips are phys­i­cally smaller and per­form bet­ter than pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion Micron NAND. This di­rectly leads to cheaper street prices and bet­ter per­for­mance. The best­selling Sam­sung 850 EVO fi­nally has some wor­thy com­pe­ti­tion. Some­what sur­pris­ingly, Sil­i­con Mo­tion’s 2258 con­troller pro­vides the brains of the drive. It’s an older con­troller in­di­cat­ing that per­for­mance im­prove­ments over the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion come from the NAND it­self, along with firmware up­grades.

The 1TB MX500 is fan­tas­tic value, but it also comes with an im­pres­sive list of fea­tures and spec­i­fi­ca­tions. There’s a 7mm to 9.5 mm spacer adapter, 256bit AES hard­ware-based en­cryp­tion sup­port, power loss immunity and a wel­come five year war­ranty. The war­ranty and en­cryp­tion fea­tures are matched by its di­rect Sam­sung 850 EVO com­peti­tor, though the MX500 comes with a far su­pe­rior en­durance rat­ing. The 1TB model al­lows for a pretty spec­tac­u­lar 360 Ter­abytes Writ­ten. This com­pares to just 150 TBW for the 1TB Sam­sung 850 EVO. To put this into per­spec­tive, 360 TBW would equate to al­most 200GB per day for five years. Need­less to say, the MX500 should cope with many years of heavy duty oper­a­tion.

Per­for­mance wise, the drive is able to max out the SATA in­ter­face in se­quen­tial test­ing. Crys­talDisKMark test­ing shows the MX500 hit­ting just over 560MB/s read and 510 MB/s write speeds. These fig­ures closely match the Cru­cial spec­i­fi­ca­tion. Ran­dom reads and writes with small files and in/out op­er­a­tions are the truest per­for­mance dif­fer­en­tia­tor how­ever, and it is these fig­ures that re­ally im­press. Read per­for­mance in par­tic­u­lar proved to be

the MX500 is fan­tas­tic value, but also comes with an im­pres­sive list of fea­tures and spec­i­fi­ca­tions

class lead­ing, while writes were also strong, but not ex­cep­tional.

Cru­cial has given the SATA SSD mar­ket a wel­come kick in the pants. The MX500 is our new SATA 1Tb drive of choice. The sweet spot com­bi­na­tion of fea­tures, value, war­ranty and per­for­mance de­serves top marks. There are few bet­ter per­form­ing SATA SSDs and none that of­fer the value the MX500 does. Many mak­ers of 1TB drives will be forced to cut prices to com­pete. CHRIS SZEWCZYK


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