Crucial is a brand that has not really competed with top-tier enthusiast-level manufacturers in the past. Most of their products have been in the mid-tier, budget consumer segment. But with a leadership restructuring in the recent past, Micron, the parent company, is aiming to break that habit. The MX500 1TB is one of the steps in that direction, with a 64-layer 3D NAND flash memory.
How does it fare in 2018, with several other 64-layer SSDs already available? Let’s find out.
The initial launch product has a storage capacity of 1TB. Micron has plans to release the SSD with higher 2GB storage capacity (along with smaller 250Gb and 500GB models as well) later. With a compact 2.5-inch M.2 format, this SSD is perfect for laptops and desktops. At 80mm, it has a longer configuration (for more NAND chips), and a double-sided design.
In the choice of the controller as well, Micron has chosen to break with the past. Instead of a Marvell controller, the MX500 uses a Silicon Motion SM2258 controller. The NAND SSD has a 64-layer 3D TLC, with dynamic write acceleration. The SLC acceleration is designed to handle workloads better. The max power rating is 5W.
There are many other features which have been a part of the MX series in the past. Encryption technologies include TCG Opal Encryption. There is also data protection feature built -in, in the form of proprietary Micron partial power loss protection. Summary of the key features include:
- Dynamic Write Acceleration
- Hardware-based encryption
- Integrated Power Loss Immunity
- Exclusive Data Defense and
- Redundant Array of Independent NAND
64-Layer 3D NAND Explained
Micron is a manufacturing partner of hardware major Intel. The first 64-layer NAND device was released by Intel in early 2017. It is a much more compact NAND design when compared to older 32-layer dies, Due to the smaller size, memory density is much higher, as more chips can be stacked in the same space.
Regarding storage capacity for SSDs, based on NAND technology, stacking is the way to the future. 1TB is just the starting point, with higher capacities easily within reach. Affordability is another great feature, with 64-layer 3D NAND going mainstream in 2017.
The MX 500 holds its own against top-tier NAND SSDs with regards to read-write speeds. The max sequential read speeds on this Crucial SSD is 560, while the sequential write speeds are a highly respectable 512 MB/s. The SLC buffer in the design boosts performance further. In our real-world tests we were able to achieve around 444 MB/s write and 503 MB/s read speeds easily.
Endurance is another key area where the Crucial MX 500 really stands out, against much-fancied opposition. Its TBW rating is 360TB, which is double what you get with the Samsung EVO. The MX series has been around since 2014. The
MX 500 gets most of the great features which Micron has made a part of the series. The Full Disk Encryption and Self Encryption with AES-256 encryption offer enhanced data security. And the power loss data protection feature kicks in when power supply to the SSD is shut down. This does not deliver enterprise-level data protection. But any data that has already been written on to the SSD is saved.
Micron-Intel and Toshiba are the two main brands of 64-layer 3D NAND in the market at the moment. The main competition to the Crucial MX 500 is other 64-layer 3D NAND SSDs from brands like Intel, Sandisk, Samsung, and WD. The MX 500 offers premium features at almost budget level pricing, which makes it a very value-oriented proposition in the SATA SSD range.