Performance Consistency

Performance consistency tells us a lot about the architecture of these SSDs and how they handle internal defragmentation. The reason we don’t have consistent IO latency with SSD is because inevitably all controllers have to do some amount of defragmentation or garbage collection in order to continue operating at high speeds. When and how an SSD decides to run its defrag or cleanup routines directly impacts the user experience as inconsistent performance results in application slowdowns.

To test IO consistency, we fill a secure erased SSD with sequential data to ensure that all user accessible LBAs have data associated with them. Next we kick off a 4KB random write workload across all LBAs at a queue depth of 32 using incompressible data. The test is run for just over half an hour and we record instantaneous IOPS every second.

We are also testing drives with added over-provisioning by limiting the LBA range. This gives us a look into the drive’s behavior with varying levels of empty space, which is frankly a more realistic approach for client workloads.

Each of the three graphs has its own purpose. The first one is of the whole duration of the test in log scale. The second and third one zoom into the beginning of steady-state operation (t=1400s) but on different scales: the second one uses log scale for easy comparison whereas the third one uses linear scale for better visualization of differences between drives. Click the buttons below each graph to switch the source data.

For more detailed description of the test and why performance consistency matters, read our original Intel SSD DC S3700 article.

  Crucial MX100 Crucial M550 Crucial M500 SanDisk Extreme II Samsung SSD 840 EVO mSATA
25% Spare Area

The IO consistency is a match with the M550. There is effectively no change at all even though the 256GB M550 uses 64Gbit NAND and the MX100 uses 128Gbit NAND, which from a raw NAND performance standpoint should result in some difference due to reduced parallelism. I'm thinking this must be due to the firmware design because as we saw in the JMicron JMF667H review, the NAND can have a major impact on IO consistency because of program and erase time differences. On the other hand, it's great to see that Crucial is able to keep the performance the same despite the smaller (and probably slightly slower) NAND lithography.

With added over-provisioning there appears to be some change in consistency, though. While the 256GB M550 has odd up-and-down behavior, the MX100 has a thick line at 25K IOPS with drops ranging to as low as 5K IOPS. The 512GB MX100 exhibits behavior similar to the 256GB M550, so it looks like the garbage collection algorithms could be optimized individually for each capacity depending on the amount of die (the 256GB M550 and 512GB MX100 have the same number of die but each die in MX100 is twice the capacity).

  Crucial MX100 Crucial M550 Crucial M500 SanDisk Extreme II Samsung SSD 840 EVO mSATA
25% Spare Area


  Crucial MX100 Crucial M550 Crucial M500 SanDisk Extreme II Samsung SSD 840 EVO mSATA
25% Spare Area


IMFT's 16nm NAND & the State of 3D NAND AnandTech Storage Bench 2013


View All Comments

  • s44 - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    Space will be the same, they're just advertised differently. But the Crucial idles at much lower power than the Seagate, so I'd consider switching to save battery life. Reply
  • tobho - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    Some serious question over here: is this drive a real competitor to the Sammys Evo or even Pro SSDs? I was planning on buying the 256Pro but the Crucial seems to perform better in a lot of tasks. I cannot really differentiate much but the price: 256Pro = 512MX100 Reply
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    Just get MX100. For the price, its a steal.. Reply
  • rvb3n - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    Hi, can someone give me a suggestion for a pro SSD for a laptop with about 500 GB? Is the Samsung 840 Pro still the king (price/performance)? Reply
  • blackrain - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    Looking forward to the Bench being updated with the Crucial MX100 line:
  • blackrain - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    I wonder how my Samsung 830 128GB compares to the MX100 128GB? Again, looking forward to the Bench being updated with the MX100 line. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    They were there, but just hidden so we wouldn't break NDA. Should be visible now :) Reply
  • rahuldesai1987 - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    A 256Gbit die should enable a $300 1TB and $600 2TB drive, 6 months down the line. Hope we see a TLC Samsung 850EVO soon, at even cheaper prices. Reply
  • sequoia464 - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    Killer prices on these already,, picked up a 256 GB drive this morning for ~$90 delivered. Reply
  • Oyster - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    For those that are interested, looks like these are on a fire sale.

    512GB $200, 256GB $100, 128GB $70 AC

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