Last year Micron launched M600 SSD for the OEM market, but unlike in the past there was no simultaneous retail product release. We were told that the M600 firmware features would sooner than later find their way into a Crucial branded product, which finally materialized back at CES when Crucial unveiled the MX200.

The hardware has remained unchanged from the MX100 as the MX200 sports the same Marvell 88SS9189 controller with Crucial-Micron's custom firmware and Micron's 16nm MLC NAND, but the biggest change compared to the MX100 is the addition of Dynamic Write Acceleration (DWA), which is the company's SLC cache implementation. I covered DWA in detail in our Micron M600 review, so I suggest you give it a read if you are interested in a more thorough explanation, but in short the size of the cache is dynamic and varies depending on the amount of data in the drive. Basically, all empty NAND runs in SLC mode, so the size of the cache shrinks as data is written to the drive. I wasn't very satisfied with DWA in the M600 review because it didn't seem to yield any noticeable performance gains, so I hope the engineers have tweaked the caching algorithms for the MX200. 

The MX200 is positioned above the BX100 we recently reviewed and liked very much. The CES announcement signaled a change in product strategy because previously Crucial has more or less had just one main product line, but with BX100 and MX200 Crucial is trying to cater a larger segment of the market by offering the BX100 for the mainstream public and the MX200 for the more demanding enthusiast/professional user group.

Crucial MX200 Specifications
Capacity 250GB 500GB 1TB
Form Factors 2.5" 7mm, mSATA, M.2 2260 & 2280 2.5" 7mm
Controller Marvell 88SS9189
NAND Micron 16nm 128Gbit MLC
DRAM (DDR3-1600) 512MB 512MB 1GB
Sequential Read 555MB/s 555MB/s 555MB/s
Sequential Write 500MB/s 500MB/s 500MB/s
4KB Random Read  100K IOPS 100K IOPS 100K IOPS
4KB Random Write  87K IOPS 87K IOPS 87K IOPS
Dynamic Write Acceleration Yes Yes (mSATA and M.2 models only) No
DevSleep Power 2mW 2mW 2mW
Slumber Power 100mW 100mW 100mW
Max Power 4.4W 4.7W 5.2W
Encryption TCG Opal 2.0 & IEEE-1667 (eDrive)
Endurance 80TB 160TB 320TB
Warranty Three years
Crucial MX200 $110 $200 $427

The MX200 is available in a variety of form factors, which includes rarer double-sided M.2 2260 and single-sided M.2 2280 on top of the normal 2.5" and mSATA models. Due to PCB space restrictions in mSATA and M.2 form factors, only the 2.5" lineup carries a 1TB SKU and the mSATA and M.2 models top out at 500GB. The 2.5" SKUs also include an Acronis True Image HD license and 7mm to 9.5mm spacer to ensure laptop compatibility, whereas the mSATA and M.2 retail packages have only mounting screws in addition to the drive itself. All MX200 models are compatible with Crucial's Storage Executive software, which we covered thoroughly in the BX100 review.

  250GB 500GB 1TB
Raw NAND Capacity 256GiB 512GiB 1024GiB
# of NAND Packages 8 8 16
# of Die per Package 2 4 4
Over-Provisioning 9.1% 9.1% 9.1%

The MX200 includes a bit more over-provisioning than its predecessor as Crucial has decided to switch from power of two capacities to even tens/hundreds. A part of the over-provisioning is dedicated to Micron's NAND-level parity scheme called RAIN, but the rest is used as additional provisioning to increase stead-state performance as well as overall endurance.

Endurance wise the MX200 is one of the top drives on the market. Whether the extra endurance is needed is another question, though, because the 320TB rating in the 1TB model would translate to 175GB of writes per day for five years, which is far more than what most power users write to a drive on a daily basis, let alone a typical client user. Since Dynamic Write Acceleration is only enabled on the 250GB model (although 500GB mSATA and M.2 models have DWA enabled), the high endurance comes purely from Crucial's longer validation, although obviously Crucial has access to the best NAND dies given that its parent company Micron manufactures the NAND. Oddly enough the warranty is only three years as it would make sense offer longer warranty with such a high endurance rating and nearly all high-end SSDs today offer either five or ten year warranties.

Aside from higher endurance and supposedly better performance, the key differentiator to BX100 is the support for hardware-accelerated encryption in the form of TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 standards that together enable the use of Microsoft eDrive. Crucial was an early supporter of the standards and first implemented them into the M500 two years ago, so they have now become a part of the common Crucial feature set, although the BX100 dropped the support for higher cost efficiency. It seems that Crucial has taken a strategy to guide the corporations that require hardware encryption towards the more expensive MX200, which is what many SSD companies have been executing in the form of a separate "business SSD" lineup.

The ceramic capacitor array in the 1TB MX200

In the M600 review, I explained how Crucial's power loss protection in client SSDs is not the same as in enterprise drives, but a backup circuitry that merely protects the existing data from corruption. The MX200 brings no changes to that and only offers data-at-rest protection, meaning that the NAND mapping table as well as any in-flight user data are still vulnerable to sudden power losses. 

AnandTech 2015 SSD Test System
CPU Intel Core i7-4770K running at 3.5GHz (Turbo & EIST enabled, C-states disabled)
Motherboard ASUS Z97 Deluxe (BIOS 2205)
Chipset Intel Z97
Chipset Drivers Intel 10.0.24+ Intel RST
Memory Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866 2x8GB (9-10-9-27 2T)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4600
Graphics Drivers
Desktop Resolution 1920 x 1080
OS Windows 8.1 x64
Performance Consistency


View All Comments

  • KAlmquist - Saturday, May 23, 2015 - link

    Take another look at Anandtech Bench. At the 500GB capacity, the mx100 beats the m550 by a small amount across the board. Dropping down to the 250GB capacity affects the write speed of the mx100 more than the write speed of the m550, so the m550 outperforms the mx100 on some benchmarks, but not by a lot. The bottom line is that the m550 and mx100 are close enough in performance that I doubt you would notice any difference in real life usage. Reply
  • petar_b - Sunday, September 04, 2016 - link

    I wish I know the answer to that question. I use plenty of M500 and M500, and I really miss them. I don't know if SanDisk could be decent alternative to M550, I don't know how additional features compare to each other (power loss, power management, etc etc). Is there any comprehensive comparison between Micron and SanDisk ?? Reply
  • Devo2007 - Friday, May 22, 2015 - link

    Small typo on page 3. Under the Destroyer (Data Rate) graph, it says the following:

    Despite the improved IO consistency, the MX200 doesn't have any advantage over the MX200 in our heaviest The Destroyer trace."

    I'm not sure if you meant MX100 or BX100 the second time
  • XZerg - Friday, May 22, 2015 - link

    same on the page 10 under the power consumption chart:
    but at ~60mW the MX200 enjoys a small benefit over the MX200
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, May 22, 2015 - link

    Thanks. Fixed. Reply
  • Essence_of_War - Friday, May 22, 2015 - link

    Yikes, not at all impressed with the DWA in the benchmark workloads! It seems like DWA is a highly dubious feature for a price mark-up over the BX series. At the right price point the larger capacity MX200 w/o DWA (500 and 1TB) still seem like excellent buys, they're just competing super-hard with their BX brethren. Reply
  • olafgarten - Friday, May 22, 2015 - link

    I'm still waiting to see what SanDisk does this year. Reply
  • romrunning - Friday, May 22, 2015 - link

    Thanks for the good review, Kristian. I liked the call-out on the continued lack of full power-loss protection, and I really liked the constructive criticism in your final words. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, May 22, 2015 - link

    why would they even release a product with an slc cache when the slc cache clearly does absolutely nothing? Reply
  • hulu - Friday, May 22, 2015 - link

    I'm sure the cache does *something* - mostly when you don't write large amounts of data for minutes on end.

    The problem with MX200 256GB's implementation is that Crucial is using too much of pseudo-SLC (all the space there is) and the drive ends up driving itself against the wall when the drive fills up. The drive still needs to keep up with the continuing drive writes and at the same time move existing data from SLC to MLC.

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