Crucial MX300 Limited Edition 750GB 2.5" SSD Review @ ModSynergy.com
By: Michael Phrakaysone

 

Hello world and welcome to 2017!  I hope all of you had a joyous Christmas holiday season and fantastic New Year's celebration.  For me reflecting back, it's been quite a journey since the inception of this website back in Q4 2002.  If someone would have told me 14-years ago that I'd be running ModSynergy.com for almost half of my life, I would have thought they were crazy, but hey that's precisely the case! 

I've seen numerous technologies in the tech industry come and go.  I think that's the beauty of technology, that it comes and goes, is ever evolving, ever changing, and never stagnant for too long.  Technology never becomes boring and always fascinates the mind, at least for myself.

The Solid State Drive (SSD) is an example of a technology that I've seen and experienced since 2009 when I reviewed my first ExpressCard and SATA 1 SSD.  Back then when I was sharing of this newer data storage technology, I said it was a conventional hard drive alternative, but being the new kid on the block the SSD never gained mainstream acceptance partly because prices were high and regular people  didn't know what it was.  I always knew mainstream acceptance would eventually happen.  I reviewed SATA 1 to SATA 3 SSD's before I took an SSD reviewing hiatus in Q1 2014, and I think real mainstream acceptance started to happen shortly after as prices came down and truly average Joes, not only enthusiasts, started to know about SSD's.  By this point SSD's were starting to be offered by more and more OEMs.  I stated in the past that an SSD is the best upgrade one can do to breathe life into an older, and even current machine, and that statement still holds true.  For me it's at the top of my list compared to upgrading more RAM or the CPU because the difference is night and day and instantly noticeable.

Reading any of my earlier SSD reviews, you'd know that I tested ones ranging in different NAND memory types such as Synchronous, Asynchronous, Toggle, MLC, and SLC.  Well since that time, the SSD has continued to evolve with NAND technologies like TLC NAND, but today's review will be a great segue for introducing you to the latest NAND memory technology available called 3D NAND, and is being offered in the 750GB Crucial MX300 SSD I'm reviewing today. 

Crucial, a brand name from top five semiconductor company Micron Technology, becomes the second company (in partnership with Intel Corporation) to develop and offer 3D NAND inside an SSD. 

About Crucial

Crucial celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016.

Crucial is a global brand of Micron Technology, Inc. Crucial solid state drives (SSDs) and memory (DRAM) upgrades are compatible with over 100,000 new and old desktops, laptops, workstations, and servers. Available worldwide at leading retail and e-tail stores, commercial resellers, and system integrators, Crucial products enhance system performance and user productivity. Learn more at crucial.com.

Micron Technology, Inc., is a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems. Micron's broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies—including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash—is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer, enterprise storage, networking, mobile, embedded and automotive applications. Micron's common stock is traded on the NASDAQ under the MU symbol. To learn more about Micron Technology, Inc., visit https://www.micron.com/.

Crucial MX300 750GB SSD Product Overview & Features

As a brand of Micron, one of the largest flash storage manufacturers in the world, the Crucial MX300 is backed by the same quality and innovation that has produced some of the world’s most advanced memory and storage technologies. With over a thousand hours of prerelease validation testing and hundreds of SSD qualification tests, the Crucial MX300 has been thoroughly tried, tested, and proven. You’ll notice the difference.

Crucial MX300 SSD: Instant performance that lasts, Groundbreaking 3D NAND technology that’s easy on your budget.

Increase the speed, durability, and efficiency of your system for years to come with the Crucial MX300 SSD. Boot up in seconds and fly through the most demanding applications with an SSD that fuses the latest 3D NAND flash technology with the proven success of previous MX-series SSDs. Your storage drive isn’t just a container, it’s the engine that loads and saves everything you do and use. Get more out of your computer by boosting nearly every aspect of performance.

Instantly improve system performance: The Crucial MX300 reaches read speeds up to 530 MB/s and write speeds up to 510 MB/s on all file types so you can boot up almost instantly, reduce load times, and accelerate demanding applications with ease. Plus, our Dynamic Write Acceleration technology uses an adaptable pool of high-speed, single-level cell flash memory to generate blistering speeds throughout the drive’s long life.

Over 90x more energy efficient than a typical hard drive: Extreme Energy Efficiency technology within the Crucial MX300 reduces the amount of active power usage that's consumed by the drive. The Crucial MX300 extends your laptop's battery life by using only 0.075W of power, compared to a typical hard drive which uses 6.8W.

Entrust your files to a drive that lasts: With an endurance rating of up to 220TB total bytes written, the Crucial MX300 is engineered with Micron® 3D NAND to deliver years of fast performance. The 3D NAND leverages larger NAND cells to improve performance and prolong endurance.

Protect your data with AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption, RAIN technology, Exclusive Data Defense technology, and the durability inherent in SSD design.

Keep your system cool: In addition to lower active power usage, Adaptive Thermal Protection technology dynamically adjusts storage component activity. This helps keep your system cool and minimizes the risk of damage caused by overheating.

Boost drive performance by up to 10x with Crucial Storage Executive: This downloadable tool is easy to use and helps monitor and enhance the performance of your Crucial MX300 – update to the latest firmware and enable the Momentum Cache feature in Storage Executive to instantly improve burst performance. Download the latest version here.

Crucial MX300 750GB SSD Product 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

Crucial MX300 750GB SSD Product Specifications

specification

First Impressions

The Crucial MX300 Limited Edition 750GB 2.5" SSD comes in a very simple and eco-friendly packaging design.  A blown up image of the SSD dominates the front while box contents are stated in the rear.  Surprisingly there's no brief technical performance numbers of the SSD anywhere on the box which I find a little disappointing, but I suppose Crucial thinks that whoever purchases the MX300 will have already researched and known what they are buying.  The packaging is compact and consists of an outer paper shell and internal plastic shell enclosing the SSD protecting the SSD from damage and free Acronis True Image HD software activation card.

MX300 SSD

The Crucial MX300 comes with a sparse bundle of the SSD itself, Acronis True Image HD data migration software activation card, and a neat little 7mm to 9.5mm spacer so it can be used in Ultrabooks and regular size notebook.  No SATA cable is included so you'll have to re-use your old one.  I would have liked and thought that Crucial would have given some PC case or laptop stickers with the MX300 but that is not the case.  You get only what you need.

Visual Overview

The Crucial MX300 750GB SSD comes in a conventional 2.5" enclosure as you see with any other SSD on the market.  This one conforms to 7.5mm height so to fit in ultrathin notebooks, but also comes with a neat and useful plastic 7mm to 9.5mm spacer so the MX300 can be used in regular size notebooks, a very thoughtful addition by Crucial.

Crucial MX300Crucial MX300

The MX300 comes in a brushed aluminum enclosure, but doesn't have any fancy paint job.  It has a get down to business type of look. The SATA connector pins are gold plated.  The top contains a signature blue Crucial color scheme design while the backside has a plain white sticker advising the model name, part number, serial number, power specification of 5V 1.7A, and other pertinent information such as regulatory confirmations, that it is a product of Singapore and that it contains halogen free components. I wished the sticker would have provided some brief technical performance related information on it. 

The bottom of the MX300 contains four screw holes at the sides that you'll use with your own 2.5" to 3.5" metal bracket if you desire and four more additional screws at the bottom to mount in other scenarios.

Tearing it Down -- I mean opening it up :)

Please note that by opening the Crucial MX300, you forfeit the 3-year warranty that comes along with the drive. Luckily I will take that burden for you to see the components that make up the MX300.

PCB

The brushed aluminum enclosure comes apart in two pieces.  Each piece is stamped with its own manufacturing date, one stamped on 2016/04/19, while the other stamped on 2016/04/24.  What is interesting to note is that the inside of one enclosure is brushed aluminum like the exterior, but the other piece has a completely bare inside that has a circular residue.  It just so happens that this circular residue is that of a thermal pad that rests between the SSD controller chip and the enclosure piece itself effectively acting as a heatsink to allow the heat generated by the SSD controller to be transferred and dissipated across the surface of the aluminum enclosure panel to allow the SSD to run as cool as possible.  If I recall correctly, out of the almost 20 SSD reviews I've done, no one has added a thermal pad as Crucial has done to their MX300. 

Alloy

Have a look at the internal PCB of the Crucial MX300 Solid State Drive.  The dark blue PCB houses all the components small and large such as the eight Micron 3D NAND chips, Marvel SSD controller chip, and Micron cache memory chip in a neat and orderly fashion with lots of real estate to spare.  The SSD controller is positioned very close to the gold plated SATA contact pins to ensure the least amount of latencies and fastest operational speeds. 

3D NANDNAND

The eight Micron 3D NAND chips are marked as 6HB22NW852 and are 32-layer 3D NAND and 96GB capacity chips.  This totals 768GB in raw capacity but 18GB is reserved for firmware function and operations aka over-provisioning for things like wear leveling and bad block management. 

One of the best advantages of 3D NAND is definitely endurance.  This 750GB drive has endurance ratings of 220TB (Terabytes) Total Bytes Written (TBW), or 120GB per day for 5 years, written to the 3D NAND chips.

The Micron cache memory chip is marked as F8116A3MA-DD-F and is 1GB of LPDDR3 1333MHz memory.

The Crucial MX300 is powered by a potent four channel fifth-generation Marvell 88SS1074-BSW2 SSD controller with features such as 256-bit AES encryption, Error-Correcting Code (ECC), low-density parity check (LDPC) technology, support for SATA 3.2 6.0Gbps host interface, 4 channel NAND interface up to 8 devices per channel, support for 3D NAND, lower power consumption (compared to competitors) as it is based on the 28nm CMOS process, dynamic write acceleration, power loss protection, TRIM, and much more.

What is Micron's 3D NAND? (Explained by Micron)

MicronIntelIMFT

3D NAND: The growing demands of mobile computing and data centers continue to drive the need for high-capacity, high-performance NAND flash technology. With planar NAND nearing its practical scaling limits, delivering to those requirements has become more difficult with each generation. Enter our 3D NAND technology, which uses an innovative process architecture to provide 3X the capacity of planar NAND technologies while providing better performance and reliability.

System designers who build products like laptops, mobile devices and servers can take advantage of 3D NAND’s unprecedented performance to meet the rising data movement needs for businesses and consumers.

How Our 3D NAND Works: We’re the first to employ floating gate cell technology in 3D NAND—a proven cell technology that enables better performance, quality, and reliability. We stack 32 storage tiers to achieve the highest-capacity NAND die available today: 256Gb multilevel cell (MLC) and 384Gb triple-level cell (TLC) 3D NAND.

This vertical approach lets us expand the size of each 3D NAND cell—the lithography is actually larger than our latest planar NAND. The larger NAND cells improve both performance and endurance to the point where we expect our MLC 3D NAND parts will meet or exceed the endurance rates of our 20nm NAND—and our TLC 3D NAND will better satisfy demanding data center storage applications.

Benefits to Your Innovation
Our 3D NAND solutions will help bring significant performance, power, and capacity advantages to your storage application. 3D NAND lets you:

Pack in More Capacity
Get 3 times the capacity of existing planar NAND products—enough to enable 3.5TB gum stick-sized SSDs or more than 10TB in standard 2.5-inch SSDs.

Boost Performance
Achieve significantly higher read/write bandwidth and I/O speeds, as well as improved random read performance, thanks to our 3D NAND’s fast 4K read mode.

Save Power
Reduce power consumption significantly in standby mode thanks to 3D NAND’s new sleep mode features that cut power to inactive NAND die (even when other die in the same package are active).

Micron and Intel Unveil New 3D NAND Flash Memory (Press Release)

Technology Advancements Enable Three Times More Capacity than Other NAND Technologies

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

3D NAND technology uses floating gate cells and enables the highest-density flash device ever developed-three times higher capacity than other NAND die in production.

Enables gum stick-sized SSDs with more than 3.5 terabytes (TB) of storage and standard 2.5-inch SSDs with greater than 10TB

Innovative process architecture techniques extend Moore's Law for flash storage, bringing significant improvements in density while lowering the cost of NAND flash.

Micron/Intel 3D NAND Press Release

BOISE, Idaho and SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 26, 2015 - Micron Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: MU), and Intel Corporation today revealed the availability of their 3D NAND technology, the world's highest-density flash memory. Flash is the storage technology used inside the lightest laptops, fastest data centers, and nearly every cellphone, tablet and mobile device.

This new 3D NAND technology, which was jointly developed by Intel and Micron, stacks layers of data storage cells vertically with extraordinary precision to create storage devices with three times higher capacity than competing NAND technologies. This enables more storage in a smaller space, bringing significant cost savings, low power usage and high performance to a range of mobile consumer devices as well as the most demanding enterprise deployments.

Planar NAND flash memory is nearing its practical scaling limits, posing significant challenges for the memory industry. 3D NAND technology is poised to make a dramatic impact by keeping flash storage solutions aligned with Moore's Law, the trajectory for continued performance gains and cost savings, driving more widespread use of flash storage.

"Micron and Intel's collaboration has created an industry-leading solid-state storage technology that offers high density, performance and efficiency and is unmatched by any flash today," said Brian Shirley, vice president of Memory Technology and Solutions at Micron Technology. "This 3D NAND technology has the potential to create fundamental market shifts. The depth of the impact that flash has had to date-from smartphones to flash-optimized supercomputing-is really just scratching the surface of what's possible."

"Intel's development efforts with Micron reflect our continued commitment to offer leading and innovative non-volatile memory technologies to the marketplace," said Rob Crooke, senior vice president and general manager, Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, Intel Corporation. "The significant improvements in density and cost enabled by our new 3D NAND technology innovation will accelerate solid-state storage in computing platforms."

Innovative Process Architecture

One of the most significant aspects of this technology is in the foundational memory cell itself. Intel and Micron chose to use a floating gate cell, a universally utilized design refined through years of high-volume planar flash manufacturing. This is the first use of a floating gate cell in 3D NAND, which was a key design choice to enable greater performance and increase quality and reliability.

The new 3D NAND technology stacks flash cells vertically in 32 layers to achieve 256Gb multilevel cell (MLC) and 384Gb triple-level cell (TLC) die that fit within a standard package. These capacities can enable gum stick-sized SSDs with more than 3.5TB of storage and standard 2.5-inch SSDs with greater than 10TB. Because capacity is achieved by stacking cells vertically, the individual cell dimensions can be considerably larger. This is expected to increase both performance and endurance and make even the TLC designs well-suited for data center storage.

The key product features of this 3D NAND design include:

Large Capacities -Three times the capacity of existing 3D technology1-up to 48GB of NAND per die-enabling three-fourths of a terabyte to fit in a single fingertip-sized package.

Reduced Cost per GB - First-generation 3D NAND is architected to achieve better cost efficiencies than planar NAND.

Fast - High read/write bandwidth, I/O speeds and random read performance.

Green - New sleep modes enable low-power use by cutting power to inactive NAND die (even when other die in the same package are active), dropping power consumption significantly in standby mode.

Smart - Innovative new features improve latency and increase endurance over previous generations, and also make system integration easier.

The 256Gb MLC version of 3D NAND is sampling with select partners today, and the 384Gb TLC design will be sampling later this spring. The fab production line has already begun initial runs, and both devices will be in full production by the fourth quarter of this year. Both companies are also developing individual lines of SSD solutions based on 3D NAND technology and expect those products to be available within the next year.

Performance Benchmarks

Here's a listing of the benchmark testing applications you'll see in this review...

  • ATTO Disk Benchmark
  • AS SSD Benchmark
  • Anvil's Storage Utilities
  • AIDA64
  • CrystalDiskMark
  • HD Tune
  • HD Tach
  • TeraCopy (non-benchmark)

ATTO Disk Benchmark is a trusted and established application that tests raw data in compressible form within the drive being tested. It's demonstrated over the years to supply steady and consistent result and is one of the reasons why ATTO Disk Benchmark is the preferred benchmark in order to give a baseline score of maximum throughput performance.  Some SSD manufacturers' maximum sequential read/write speed claims are completed with ATTO Disk Benchmark for this very reason. The numbers you see here are best case scenario numbers you can expect from this SSD in a specific system, therefore your own results may vary. The default transfer size in two versions of ATTO Disk Benchmark were used.

Benchmarks used here such as Anvil's Storage Utilities, AS SSD, CrystalDiskMark are testing with Incompressible data, unless explicitly stated by the benchmark application itself, which some SSD drive controllers may or may not struggle with.  That is why on occasion you sometimes see disparity between numbers that are in ATTO Disk Benchmark to ones from other benchmarks.  If the numbers are drastically different, you can draw the simple conclusion that the particular SSD drive controller suffers when reading/writing incompressible data and or suffers when reading/writing compressible data.  This indicates a strength or weakness of a particular SSD should it become apparent.

Performance Benchmarks - The Results

By the time I had finished testing the Crucial MX300 750GB SSD , I had written over 1000 GB total host writes according to CrystalDiskInfo in just 19 power on hours and 21 power on count times. 

Crystal

With the help of Crucial Storage Executive software I was able to update to the latest firmware before any testing was run.  The latest firmware at the time of this review is M0CR040.

A brand new primary drive installation of Windows 7 Professional SP1 was made to the MX300 before any testing was run.

For this review I will present results in three states, the first being out of the box brand new with the Momentum Cache feature being disabled (likely the way most people will have run the SSD), second with the Momentum Cache feature being enabled through Crucial Storage Executive software, and lastly with the MX300 SSD being 81% filled with data to see if there's any changes to its performance compared to a relatively empty drive.

Without Momentum Cache

ATTOBENCHMARKAS SSDSSD3DGRAPHSSDCrucial MX300Crucial MX300 750GBCRYSTALCRYSTALHDDHDCrucial MX300Crucial MX300Crucial MX300Crucial MX300AIDA64Crucial MX300Crucial MX300Crucial MX300Crucial MX300Crucial MX300TERACOPY

With Momentum Cache

ATTOMOMENTUM CACHECACHECACHINGACCESS TIMECrucial MX300Crucial MX300Crucial MX300Crucial MX300Crucial MX300Crucial MX300Crucial MX300Crucial MX300

81% Filled Drive

Crucial MX300Crucial MX300mx300MX300MX300MX300MX300MX300MX300MX300MX300MX300MX300MX300MX300

In short, the Marvell powered Crucial MX300 750GB SSD with Micron's 3D NAND is the fastest SSD we've ever tested reaching performance levels generally above, or at least close to, the SLC NAND based SandForce SSD for Enterprise use we reviewed a while back from KingFast across the majority of benchmarks run, and without the noticeable performance gap/drop when dealing with incompressible and compressible data with MLC based drives.  Access times were better overall as well as having and maintaining higher average speeds for extended periods.  The Crucial MX300 750GB SSD is virtually identical in terms of performance dealing between incompressible and compressible data types and that is absolutely fantastic news for the consumer.  Likewise, the performance between read performance and write performance are generally closely matched and that is great to see. 

The Crucial MX300 750GB beat it's rated sequential read speed of 530MB/s and sequential write speed of 510 MB/s in both ATTO Disk Benchmarks and CrystalDiskMark (0-fill and incompressible tests were virtually identical).    

In the ATTO Disk Benchmark v3.05, the Crucial MX300 750GB managed in our Intel Core i7-2600K/Intel DP67BGB3 configuration a maximum sequential read speed of 534 MB/s and 516 MB/s maximum sequential write. 

In the ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.47, the Crucial MX300 750GB managed to score a maximum sequential read speed of 535.6 MB/s and 516 MB/s maximum sequential write.

AS SSD Benchmark typically shows the worst possible performance scenario you can expect from an SSD because most of them typically loathe incompressible data, but the Crucial MX300 doesn't show this disadvantage like other inferior SSDs do.  AS SSD Benchmark shows more of the same with the highest overall score of 1044 being achieved with the MX300.  The only area where it gets beaten by the SLC NAND based KingFast E-Drive KF2510SCF is the write portion of the test where the MX300 scored 380 points to the 409 points scored by the SLC NAND based KingFast KF2510SCF.  Access times were lower across the board for the MX300 by a sizable margin and it has a healthy performance advantage in the 4K-64Thrd benchmark aspect.  More of the same is seen in the Copy Benchmark portion of the test where the MX300 posts best numbers we've seen in the program and game benchmarks.

Anvil's Storage Utilities benchmark showcased again the Crucial MX300 750GB with Micron's 3D NAND technology beating out the (more expensive) SLC NAND based SSD solution in the KingFast KF2510SCF we had previously reviewed...

In the 100% incompressible data test, the Crucial MX300 750GB (3D NAND) had an overall result of 4,436.33 points compared to a point total of 4,148.64 for the SLC based KingFast KF2510SCF.  The MX300 had a greater advantage in the write portion of the test while the read portion were almost identical between the two drives.

In the 0-Fill data test, the Crucial MX300 750GB (3D NAND) had an overall result of 4,414.52 points compared to a point total of 4,352.01 for the SLC based KingFast KF2510SCF.  The MX300 had a greater advantage in the write portion of the test while the read portion of the benchmark actually favored the SLC SSD by a slight margin.

CrystalDiskMark shows that the Crucial MX300 750GB SSD with 3D NAND achieves a sequential read speed of 533.8 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 515.4 MB/s for 0-Fill compressible test.

CrystalDiskMark shows that the Crucial MX300 750GB SSD with 3D NAND achieves a sequential read speed of 524.3 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 513.4 MB/s for incompressible test.

I noticed that the Crucial MX300 750GB SSD with 3D NAND really excelled in having and maintaining an higher average read/write speed over a short and extended period of time.  It clearly beat everything else I had tested even the SLC based SSD and by a good margin.  You can see in numerous tests including AIDA64, HD Tune, HD Tach, that when the test is started the MX300 would ramp up in speed and then you see the graph line is almost a straight line right across the test.  The MX300 would always maintain an average speed that was closer to its maximum observed speed as opposed to its observed minimum speed.  AIDA64 Linear Speed test for example was run for 24 minutes straight and the graph apart from the start of the test where the SSD ramped up in speed was pretty much a straight a consistent line.  This is really good stuff.

As a more real world test, I decided to use TeraCopy to copy my C:\Windows folder.  This test uses a mixture of small, medium, and large (not so much) files.  The Crucial MX300 750GB SSD copied 24.39 GB or 107346 files in 10 minutes and 11 seconds.  I'll use this test to compare whether or not you should even use the Momentum Cache feature that this SSD can enable with Crucial Storage Executive software.

As you may have read my past SSD reviews, I'm not a big fan of DRAM caching software.  The performance gains are usually inflated in benchmarks and you don't really see noticeable advantages in real world usage.  In my experiences with caching software, it hasn't produced any sizeable performance advantages.  I know one good thing is that it will lessen the strain on the SSD in certain scenarios promoting some extra endurance in return as your DRAM essentially absorbs the SSD's writes, but in the case of Micron's 3D NAND already having pretty good endurance on its own, I don't really see the point.  In this case, using caching software such as Momentum Cache inside Crucial Executive is only possible if the MX300 is the primary boot device.  I usually avoid such software so I'm just not a big fan, and Momentum Cache inside Crucial Executive suite has not changed my mind one bit. 

To use an example, with the same TeraCopy test where I copy my C:\Windows folder like stated in the paragraph above, Momentum Cache enabled  was actually slower by four (4) seconds compared to it being completely off.   In all of the benchmarks run, Momentum Cache inflated results like crazy, but in reality it didn't do anything for improving performance.  Just looking at the benchmarks, the performance advantage Momentum Cache gives is sporadic where the graph has huge bursts of increase for a few seconds and then has a massive drop off.  Running a benchmark like HD Tach showed the average read speed actually became worse (almost 60 MB/s worse) with Momentum Cache enabled compared to it being enabled.

TERACOPYCrucial MX300

Before I wrap up, here's what Crucial has to say about Momentum Cache...

What is Momentum Cache? (Explained by Micron)

Micron's Momentum Cache is an intelligent software driver that dynamically leverages unused system resources to enhance burst performance on supported Micron and Crucial solid state drives (SSDs) in Windows operating systems. Momentum Cache is not restricted by SATA bus throughput limitations; instead, it uses additional DRAM bandwidth to achieve increased burst performance.

How Does Momentum Cache Work?

As a software driver installed on Windows operating systems,1 Momentum Cache manages all writes and reads between a supported SSD and the system. It optimizes input/ output (I/O) data by caching the data in system memory and then committing it to the SSD at a consistent rate when additional bandwidth is available. SSDs typically have higher read performance than write performance. This is especially apparent in lower-density drives containing smaller amounts of NAND die accessed in parallel. Momentum Cache addresses this inefficiency by caching nearly all writes being transferred to the SSD. The writes are transferred from the cache to the SSD during periods of lower drive activity, providing a buffer to spread intense workloads over time and enabling improved burst performance. Momentum Cache addresses other limitations in SSD design. When system memory is available, Momentum Cache coalesces smaller write transfers into larger transfers to reduce the impact of small random writes on the NAND. Small transfer random writes have the greatest impact on the endurance of NAND in an SSD. Additionally, Momentum Cache reduces wear on an SSD by filtering repetitive data written to the drive.

Continuing on...

In respect to performance of the Crucial MX300 750GB when it's been filled with data, in this case I filled it up to 81% full, the read performance aspect of the drive was nearly identical in some cases and in other benchmarks its average read speed got slightly got slower, just a tiny drop off.  The only aspect that really changed and became somewhat slower was its sequential write performance when the drive was filled to 81% capacity, but in no way was the drop off in performance extreme.  I thought the MX300 did very good in this regard and you'd be hard pressed to feel significant differences in real world usage.

Crucial Storage Executive Software

Crucial created an SSD management software suite called Storage Executive.   It's a good little software that allows you to see relevant system information, SSD drive information including its health/temperature and S.M.A.R.T status, check and update SSD firmware, set Over Provisioning limit, sanitize and wipe out the SSD, reset the drives encryption password, and enabling or disabling Momentum Cache feature.

I was able to update and flash the firmware on the MX300 through the Crucial Storage Executive software with ease.  The program downloaded the firmware, rebooted the machine into its own OS environment and then updated the firmware successfully all in a few minutes.

Additionally when I completed all my testing, I used Crucial Storage Executive software to Sanitize the SSD erasing everything on the drive back to factory state.  The Sanitize function in Storage Executive is the equivalent of a 'Secure Erase'.   

If there's one thing I didn't like about Crucial Storage Executive Software, it would be that you'd be waiting sometimes a little too long looking at the loading icon while it was processing or scanning entering specific menus such as for example the Over Provisioning page.  Hopefully Crucial can speed up the processing in future iterations of Storage Executive.

CRUCIAL STORAGE EXECUTIVECRUCIAL STORAGE EXECUTIVECRUCIAL STORAGE EXECUTIVECRUCIAL STORAGE EXECUTIVECRUCIAL STORAGE EXECUTIVE

Where Can I Buy One?  And For How Much?

The Crucial MX300 750GB 3D NAND SSD can be purchased on Amazon USA. If you prefer to shop on Amazon like I do, then the SSD is going to be fulfilled and shipped directly from the Amazon warehouse and not through a third party. This makes the purchase safer in terms of getting what you paid for, and this way you can have Amazon's own protection and peace of mind.

 

Why do I like Amazon?  They are fast, honest, reliable, and their return policy is great.  I actually got money refunded back to my account after Amazon overcharged me on duty costs, talk about being an honest company, most others would keep the money and not say anything!

If you're thinking of purchasing the Crucial MX300 750GB 3D NAND SSD, or anything else for that matter, please use our Amazon links above, it will help us out greatly, and go towards supporting this website and any future contests we hold through Facebook.

Some Amazon Deals That May Interest You!

Conclusion

The Crucial MX300 750GB SSD with Micron's 3D NAND is a winner in my book, there's really nothing truly negative I can say about the MX300.  It has endurance that comes with 3D NAND, it has great performance across the board whether read or write, its performance has shown to be essentially on the level of the SLC NAND based SandForce SSD for Enterprise we reviewed previously from another SSD manufacturer, there's essentially no difference when dealing with incompressible and compressible data that some other drives struggle with, and the price is very affordable at the current regular price on Amazon, but gets even cheaper (talking 50% off, close to $100 USD) when it goes on sale.

The Crucial MX300 750GB SSD with Micron's 3D NAND earns our top Editor's Choice Award rating!

Editors Choice