The Crucial MX500 1TB SSD Review: Breaking The SATA Moldby Billy Tallis on December 19, 2017 8:00 AM EST
Random Read Performance
Our first test of random read performance uses very short bursts of operations issued one at a time with no queuing. The drives are given enough idle time between bursts to yield an overall duty cycle of 20%, so thermal throttling is impossible. Each burst consists of a total of 32MB of 4kB random reads, from a 16GB span of the disk. The total data read is 1GB.
The Crucial MX500 delivers a remarkable QD1 burst random read performance that is much faster than any SATA drive we've tested, and competitive with many NVMe SSDs, even those using MLC NAND. This is a 60% improvement over the MX300.
Our sustained random read performance is similar to the random read test from our 2015 test suite: queue depths from 1 to 32 are tested, and the average performance and power efficiency across QD1, QD2 and QD4 are reported as the primary scores. Each queue depth is tested for one minute or 32GB of data transferred, whichever is shorter. After each queue depth is tested, the drive is given up to one minute to cool off so that the higher queue depths are unlikely to be affected by accumulated heat build-up. The individual read operations are again 4kB, and cover a 64GB span of the drive.
The sustained random read speed of the Crucial MX500 when some higher queue depths are involved is merely average, but still a big improvement over the MX300.
The power efficiency of the Crucial MX500 during random reads is a bit of a disappointment relative to the Intel 545s that uses Intel's similar 64L 3D TLC NAND and a slightly updated Silicon Motion controller. The 545s may have a slight advantage due to our sample being just a 512GB model, but the Crucial MX500's efficiency score is also slightly worse than the drives using Toshiba/SanDisk 64L 3D TLC. Compared to older drives, the efficiency of the MX500 looks great.
The low queue depth performance of the Crucial MX500 is great, and at higher queue depths the Samsung drives and the SanDisk Ultra 3D/WD Blue 3D are the only ones that have a substantial lead over the MX500. At QD32, the MX500 catches up and is tied for first place with the Samsung drives. Through QD8, the Intel 545s offers very similar performance at lower power.
Random Write Performance
Our test of random write burst performance is structured similarly to the random read burst test, but each burst is only 4MB and the total test length is 128MB. The 4kB random write operations are distributed over a 16GB span of the drive, and the operations are issued one at a time with no queuing.
The Crucial MX500 sets another record with its burst QD1 random write performance, but the margin isn't quite as wide as for the random read performance. The other mainstream 3D TLC drives form a clear second tier of performance that is about 15% slower.
As with the sustained random read test, our sustained 4kB random write test runs for up to one minute or 32GB per queue depth, covering a 64GB span of the drive and giving the drive up to 1 minute of idle time between queue depths to allow for write caches to be flushed and for the drive to cool down.
The sustained random write performance of the Crucial MX500 is a bit of a regression compared to the Crucial MX300, but still above average and better than the other 64L 3D TLC drives.
The Crucial MX500's power efficiency during random writes is second only to the MX300, and substantially better than any other mainstream SATA SSD.
As compared to its predecessor, the MX500's random write performance doesn't increase as quickly with higher queue depths, but the MX300 saturates at QD4 leaving the MX500 to catch up and surpass it beyond QD8.
The Samsung 850 PRO and EVO both saturate at about the same level of performance, but they reach that level with much lower queue depths. They also require far more power across the entire range of queue depths.