While Crucial had a busy year in 2014, launching the higher-performance M600 SSDs built on their enterprise experience along with the M550 earlier in the year, they are pushing even harder to dominate the SSD market together with bigger fishes like Samsung and Intel. Their parent company, Micron, is determined to kick the budget SSD market into a new direction and they’ve started out with three new additions to their lineup – the MX200, the cheaper MX100 family and (finally!) a software suite that can monitor, upgrade and asses the drive health of Crucial drives. Hit the jump for more.
The MX200 is the consumer-bound version of the M600, with a few changes to the drive’s behaviour. The M600’s controller sets aside a portion of the flash memory to act as SLC NAND, turning that portion into a super-fast cache for the drive to write to before it moves the data over to flash memory working as MLC NAND, which is traditionally slower. This is similar to Samsung’s 850 Evo and 850 Pro, but the MX200 provisions it differently based on how much data you’re storing on the drive.
Crucial rates the 250GB drive’s lifespan to be 80TB, the 500GB at 160TB and the 1TB drive will sustain 320TB of writes, beyond which you’re probably out of the warranty period anyway. The drives use the same controller as the MX100 with Micron 16nm flash memory and features all the latest standards for modern SSDs. Prices dip as low as $140 on launch for the 250GB drive while the 1TB model will fetch as much as $470. There will also be mSATA and M.2 implementations of the MX200 family.
The BX200 family is the interesting one. This is part of Micron’s push to dominate the market and drive hard drives to purely becoming long-term storage options. The BX100 family uses a Silicon Motion controller (a departure from Marvell), which is the effective replacement for the dirt-cheap Sandforce controllers that we used to have to deal with two years ago. Again using 16nm Micron memory, it’s the least-featured drive that Crucial has ever released, supporting none of the extras found in the M600 or MX200 family.
The reason, primarily, is cost-based. Crucial expects the BX100 to be popular in the budget segment. The launch prices for the drive are as follows:
- 120GB at $70
- 250GB at $110
- 500GB at $200
- 1TB at $400
Prices are similar to the MX100 family, but the BX100 will become even cheaper. By mid-2015, you can expect terabyte drives to sit around $300, perhaps even $250 if adoption rates rise high enough. More and more computer owners are turning to solid state storage to speed things up and having owned my 250GB M550 for just over a year now, I can positively say it’s been the biggest upgrade I’ve ever done.
Crucial expects the MX200 family to become available to purchase worldwide in the next couple of weeks, with the BX100 dropping on to the scene somewhere during Q1 2015.
Crucial has also pulled up its socks finally and released a drive health application. Crucial Storage Executive is a drive monitoring and firmware update application built in HTML5. It is a browser-based application that requires Windows 7 at a minimum. Being able to finally read SMART data logs for my drive will be a huge relief and SSD reviewers can finally stop taking off points for Crucial not having an application of their own.
Keep in mind, though, that the PSID Revert feature does indeed reset the encryption password for the drive, but it will most likely also delete all the data on it first. If you’re going to dabble with drive encryption, make sure that you have a backup plan in case you lose the decryption key or forget the password.