Crucial has decided to attack the competitors with the new Crucial MX300 drive in a 2.5-inch format. So far announced only one model with an unusual capacity of 750 GB, thanks to the new 3D-memory storage is clearly focused on what to oust the Samsung SSD 850 EVO SSD, and other mass-market. Crucial in the future plans to use a new 3D-memory for all your drives. Interesting and manufacturer Micron memory in Intel pair as they choose an entirely different development strategy, rather than Samsung. All the details you will find out in our review.
Crucial MX300 – another drive on the market with a new 3D-memory, which promises to be cheaper, faster and more reliable. Samsung relies on the technology of the charge trap memory with its own 3D V-NAND, but Intel and Micron continue to use the so-called floating gate technology, now in the three-dimensional structures.
Crucial expected added to the MX300 SLC-cache under the name Crucial Dynamic Write Acceleration, which provides short-term acceleration of write operations, as part of the memory is programmed as the SLC, and later already converted to TLC. There is a 256-bit encryption AES, support TCG Opal and Microsoft eDrive. Finally, Crucial MX300 supports Device Sleep power-saving mode.
If all manufacturers for 2D-memory using floating gate technology, the development of 3D-way memory is divided. Samsung believes that charge trap technology provide greater storage density with a smaller structure. Intel and Micron’s, are engaged in the production of flash memory under the umbrella of a joint venture IM Flash Technologies, continue to rely on floating gate technology, because it is on the market much longer, so the experience accumulated more.
The defenders of both technologies believe that it is their decision to conquer the world. Also mentioned in the blog Crucial CMOS Under the Array technology (CUA), which gives significant advantages in the production of 3D NAND. In, until one of them will not show the next few years the floating gate technology and charge traps will exist in parallel significant advantages over the other. Who will win – said today it is hardly possible.
Intel and Micron Technology today allows you to create crystals with a capacity of 384 Gbps, in Crucial MX300 750GB drive just 16 such crystals are used, which gives the capacity of 768 GB. Trim the capacity of up to 500 or 512 GB unreasonable, which is why Crucial chose a rather strange capacity of 750 GB. At Crucial MX300 redundancy is 9%, which is quite typical of consumer-grade drives.
Other storage family, which should be available later this year, the capacity will also certainly strange, for example, 375 GB, or 1,125 terabytes. It is possible that there will be a model to 1.5TB, Crucial’s SSD can also release at 1,875 terabytes or 2.3 TB. Also available in versions with different size of redundancy. It all depends on what model of Crucial wish to provide in the future. It is also quite likely to occur in M.2 storage format, but with SATA interface, not PCI Express.
Much less interesting controller – conventional Marvell 88SS1074. We had already met several times before, on the same drives Plextor M7V, but there it is used with planar Toshiba TLC-memory, which affects performance.
Note the presence of features that are usually found only in enterprise-class drives – Power Loss Protection or protection against power failure. The presence of the function can be determined by multiple capacitors on the Crucial MX300 board. They store a sufficient amount of energy in the event of a power failure the drive lasted about one millisecond. However, the differences from the corporate version behold there is, since Crucial MX300 only protect the data already recorded in the flash memory. And the data in DRAM cache in case of power failure can be lost.
The question arises: why do we need to protect the data that is already stored in non-volatile flash memory? To answer should look at the work of memory MLC / TLC. To write data to the cell should be programmed. Technically, it looks like the attachment to the cell voltage, then the electrons are accumulated therein. These electrons, in turn, is detected when reading the cell, designating one of the possible states.
In the case of MLC memory stores two bits in each cell, that is, there are four possible conditions. At TLC stores three bits, so the possible states for eight. Work Power Loss Protection easiest way to describe the example of MLC memory. The memory cells are not programmed separately and grouped into pages, and they are divided into upper and lower page. First, the lower page is written (one bit in the cell), then the upper page is programmed to have the same cells with two bits.
The cell is programmed in two states L0 and L1, which is read at the bit cell is defined as 1 or 0. Problems may occur if the required locations on the same upper page write, that is programmed to the second bit of each cell. If the cell was programmed to L0, then after programming it receives L0 layer (11 bit sequence) or L1 (10). If the cell was programmed to L1, then the second bit after programming the upper page it will state L2 (00) and L3 (01) at the bottom of the page.
the top of the cell programming requires a certain time, and if during this period the power will be gone, there is the probability of transition of the cell in an undefined state. cell level can randomly change the cell or “stuck” between the levels. Worse, such incorrect programming may affect the integrity of the data in the lower page programmed previously. Technology Power Loss Protection, which uses a Crucial M500 has a drive, prevents loss of data at the bottom of the page when data is written into the upper page and fails. But the data are written into the upper page will be lost. So it is still partial protection Power Loss Protection, but not complete before us.
Briefly consider the technology Dynamic Write Acceleration (DWA), the implementation of SLC-cache from Crucial. The first column (cache) shows the results of sequential recording bandwidth for the first five seconds. The second column (no cache) we recorded data for 120 seconds, but the speed was measured during the last five seconds.
Drive writes data at a maximum speed of about 110 seconds, after which the write performance fell. Accordingly, the cache capacity is about 50GB. Unlike competitors, Crucial’s allocates a fixed area under the SLC-cache, although some competitors sell more dynamic cache: cell programmed in a fast SLC mode remain free area, and then the programming is performed in TLC mode. In daily work, you will hardly notice the decrease in write performance, as long these volumes write operations occur very rarely.
Unless otherwise indicated, all drives tested for SATA 6 Gb / s Z97 chipset. To minimize incidental performance fluctuations, we have disabled the BIOS SpeedStep and all C-states, and Turbo Mode. In addition, we have disabled LPM (Link Power Management) through the registry.
Iometer can be called a universal test, which estimates the net storage capacity in virtually every conceivable access scenarios. The latest version of the test also had the opportunity to choose what data to use. In particular, are interesting options “Repeating bytes / repetitive bytes” and “Full random / is completely random.” The first option will always use the same repetitive data, so the controller can significantly compress the data. Data compression is performed, not all controllers, however, some controllers (same SandForce) implemented “transparent” compression system which, depending on the data, allows greater bandwidth. The second option creates a data buffer in the 16 MB with high entropy, and compression of the data is very difficult (if not impossible). This enables the controller with integrated compression system two test runs, one of which operates on a fully random data ( “Full random”). The default mode is runs with repeated bytes ( “Repeating bytes”), which corresponds to the manufacturer’s instructions.
For desktop systems are characterized by a minimum of all queries (the depth of the command queue, QD). Sometimes it may rise slightly, but still remained within single digits. Tests with a queue depth of 32 QD allow SSD to reveal their full potential. This queue depth available in normal situations, but only in a multi-user or server environment.
4K test uses 8 million of logical sectors of 512 bytes.; sequential read test / writer employs nearly full storage capacity.
AS SSD test was designed, as you might guess from the name, specifically for SSD. It uses a fully incompressible data, so the test relates to the worst-case scenarios for the controllers with a compression technology. Serial test and 4K blocks test run with a single queue depth. Again, the test unit with 4K QD queue depth of 1 is the most important for desktop systems, and test QD 64 again demonstrates the depth of SSD maximum possible (with active NCQ).
SSD Power Consumption for the role of the desktop does not play, but it is quite important for laptops. The laptop can last a few hours away from the outlet only if its components are focused on maximum economy. Of course, the most “voracious” Laptop components are display and the CPU, but the SSD power consumption significantly affects the overall picture. It is particularly important idle power, since this is where SSD is much of the time.
The diagram below shows the power consumption in idle and under load. To measure the energy consumption, as opposed to the performance tests, we activated and HIPM DIPM. The load we simulated using Iometer and profile IOMix test that combines reading and writing with blocks of different sizes surgery. We also present a graph of energy from time to time.
In a direct comparison of performance to its predecessor Crucial MX300 does not always come out ahead in the test everyday applications PCMark MX300 drive ten percent behind the Crucial MX200. When copying Crucial MX300 data is faster, in other tests the picture was mixed. Of course, it would be nice if the new drive is always shown better performance in alignment with its predecessor, but the strength of the Crucial MX300 is the price if you need a capacious drive without compromising on quality.
In general, Crucial MX300 deserves a place in the middle of the rankings, significantly ahead of the entry-level SSD. However, if you wish to make a Crucial MX300 more attractive, should drive the price down to a level corresponding to its performance. Unusual capacity hampers direct comparison prices with other drives, but we still have calculated the price of different gigabyte SSD. We used the prices in euros in the European market to be more stable, but also resulted in price in rubles.
Crucial MX300 significantly faster than the entry-level drives Crucial BX200 and Plextor M7V, but slower Samsung SSD 850 EVO – and prices lined up in the correct order. The advantages we put support for modern encryption standards Crucial MX300, partial implementation of Power Loss Protection and relatively low power consumption at idle.
Capacity can also be attributed to the benefits because consumers often need an intermediate option between 500 GB and 1,000 GB, including the price. Crucial MX300 750GB can be bought cheaper than 200 euros, which perfectly closes the gap. Models of different capacity drives and M.2 SATA is expected later this year.