Crucial MX300 M.2 525GB SSD Review



/ 9 months ago

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Introduction


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By now I’ve got to know the Crucial MX300 series pretty well. I initially reviewed the limited edition 750GB model upon release and recently we had a look at the largest model which comes with 2TB capacity. Today it is time to check out the physically smaller and compact M.2 2280 format and I got the Crucial MX300 M.2 SSD with 525GB capacity in for the testing.

Crucial has previously had two lines of consumer solid state drives and they still do, the BX and the MX series. However, the MX300 combines the best of the MX200 and BX200 drives into one resilient little drive that won’t break the bank. You get an instant performance increase, especially compared to mechanical drives, a long lasting drive with a high endurance, a lot of capacity, and all that at a fair price. Besides this 525GB model, the M.2 version of the MX300 is also available as a 275GB model and a 1TB model.

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The MX300 is built with Micron’s 3D TLC NAND and it is more than just a storage container. Micron’s 3D NAND is engineered with larger NAND cells that improve performance and prolong endurance and that is what sets this drive apart from other TLC drives. In return, the Crucial MX300 sports impressive performance ratings of up to 530MB/s when reading and 510MB/s when writing sequential data . The random drive performance is rated equally nice, delivering up to 92K IOPS reading and 83K writing on all file types.

The drive’s endurance is something that will take a dive when we talk about TLC NAND, or so we have come to believe in the past. Crucial and Micron broke with this tradition and changed that with the Micron 3D NAND equipped MX300. The 525GB version of the drive is rated for up to 160TB total bytes written (TBW) which equals to 87GB data per day for a 5-year period.

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Crucial’s MX300 series covers pretty much all aspects when it comes to features, both basic and advanced, and that’s another vital part of a storage drive besides pure capacity. It is also something customers have come to expect from Crucial through their previous products.

The basics are covered with Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), built-in Error Correction Code (ECC), Active Garbage Collection, and TRIM support. These are all vital features to have these days and the MX300 has them all. It also features the newer Device Sleep (DevSleep/DevSLP) function which is particularly useful for laptop users. When the mode is activated, the drive consumes so little power that it isn’t even relevant noting, allowing you more freedom when it comes to the shutdown or sleep functions. On top of that, it also features hardware-based AES 256-bit encryption for that extra bit of data security on your files.

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The MX300 further features Dynamic Write Acceleration, a technology that uses an adaptable pool of high-speed, single-level cell flash memory to generate blistering speeds throughout the drive. This is partially responsible for the drive’s great performance. The Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN) feature works much in the same way a RAID setup works with multiple drives, only this works on a cell-level, but the benefit is the same: your data is stored in more than one location.

The data inside the drive has to arrive everywhere in correct order too and the MX300 features Data Path Protection and Power Loss Protection to make sure that this happens. The whole thing is rounded off with the Adaptive Thermal Protection that makes sure the drive performs great in any usage scenario.

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Last but not least, there’s the software side of the drive. The MX300 series is fully compatible with Crucial’s Storage Executive and all the features this includes. With this software, you gain easy access to all the vital drive information and features, including the Momentum Cache.

Momentum Cache is in its essence an intelligent ram drive feature that can increase your system’s storage performance ten fold. By using part of your system memory as a file cache, fewer write operations have to be performed while you get a much faster access in general. This is also a feature that can prolong the drive’s lifetime as that pretty much is determined by the amount of writes.

Feature Highlights

  • Sequential reads/writes up to 530 / 510 MB/s on all file types
  • Random reads/writes up to 92k / 83k on all file types
  • Over 90x more energy efficient than a typical hard drive
  • Accelerated by Micron 3D NAND technology
  • Dynamic Write Acceleration delivers faster saves and file transfers
  • More durable than a hard drive – no small moving parts that are prone to failure
  • Best-in-class hardware encryption keeps data safe and secure
  • Exclusive Data Defense guards against data corruption
  • Adaptive Thermal Protection allows for adaptive cooling
  • Power Loss Protection completes write commands even if power is lost
  • Includes free Acronis True Image HD software for easy data migration
  • Compatible with the Crucial Storage Executive tool for easy drive maintenance
  • 3 year limited warranty

Specifications

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Package and Accessories

The Crucial MX300 M.2 modules come in a simple package, a fitting match to the simplicity that M.2 modules carry.

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Inside the box is an activation key for Acronis True Image HD drive cloning software for easy system migration and two screws should you lost your motherboard’s or adapter’s M.2 screw.

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  • Andy

    Hi! Excellent Review. Is this model compatible with an Asus ROG GL553VW Laptop??

    • Bohs Hansen

      There shouldn’t be any compatibility problems there. It will most likely replace the currently installed M.2 drive though, not sure if it has one or two slots for M.2 drives