Crucial MX100 256GB SSD: Cut-throat competition in flash land

Keenly priced sweet-spot storage


Review Micron subsidiary Crucial has caused huge waves in the consumer SSD market with its low-cost M500 drive range – and then gave its competitors further aggravation with its M550 series refresh this year. It’s only been about three months since the M550 launch but Crucial is back with a new range of drives to cause further mayhem, in the shape of the MX100.

Crucial MX100 SSD

Crucial eats away at SSD prices yet again with the MX100

At launch the MX100 family comprises just three capacities: 128GB, 256GB (my review model) and the flagship 512GB. Unlike the last two series of drives there isn’t a 1TB (or near 1TB) drive, so if you want a Crucial drive above the 512GB mark you’ll have to find a M500 (960GB) or a M550 (1TB).

With the MX100, Crucial is firmly aiming at the consumer market as very large capacity SSDs are still considered something of a niche. Hence, the company sees no need to have a mega drive in the MX100 range, even though it is regarded as the M500’s successor. The new range will not only cause pricing problems for the competition, but, it has to be said, Crucial’s own M550 range as well.

Crucial MX100 SSD

Spacer provided to bridge the gap in some laptops storage transplants

At launch, the entry level 128GB drive costs £56, a mere three pounds more expensive than the outgoing M500 120GB drive and a tenner cheaper than the equivalent M550 drive. The middle of the range 256GB MX100 costs £80, a fiver cheaper than the 240GB M500 and an impressive £30 cheaper than the 256GB M550. The flagship 512GB MX100 continues the trend and at £159 it’s £12 cheaper than the 480GB M500 and an amazing 50 notes cheaper than the 512GB M550.

The reason that Crucial can get so hardcore on price is that the new drives use the latest Micron 16nm MLC NAND which is cheaper to produce than the NAND in both the M500 and M550. How so? It’s because of the smaller process. The new NAND is architecturally the same as the companies 20nm MLC with the same 128Gbit density, but with a die shrink which allows Micron to get nearly 6TB of storage per 300mm wafer as opposed to the just over 4TB using the 20nm process.

Crucial MX100 SSD

Cost saver: a smaller die size gets more chips per wafer

Once inside the drive you could be forgiven for thinking that you’ve opened a M500 by mistake as the PCB looks identical. In fact, the only change is the NAND type, as the MX100 uses the same eight-channel Marvell 88SS9189 controller as the M550. To get to its 256GB capacity, the drive uses 16 x 16GB NAND modules, eight per side of the PCB.

Next page: Form and function

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • North Korea pulled in $400m in cryptocurrency heists last year – report

    Plus: FIFA 22 players lose their identity and Texas gets phony QR codes

    In brief Thieves operating for the North Korean government made off with almost $400m in digicash last year in a concerted attack to steal and launder as much currency as they could.

    A report from blockchain biz Chainalysis found that attackers were going after investment houses and currency exchanges in a bid to purloin funds and send them back to the Glorious Leader's coffers. They then use mixing software to make masses of micropayments to new wallets, before consolidating them all again into a new account and moving the funds.

    Bitcoin used to be a top target but Ether is now the most stolen currency, say the researchers, accounting for 58 per cent of the funds filched. Bitcoin accounted for just 20 per cent, a fall of more than 50 per cent since 2019 - although part of the reason might be that they are now so valuable people are taking more care with them.

    Continue reading
  • Tesla Full Self-Driving videos prompt California's DMV to rethink policy on accidents

    Plus: AI systems can identify different chess players by their moves and more

    In brief California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said it’s “revisiting” its opinion of whether Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving feature needs more oversight after a series of videos demonstrate how the technology can be dangerous.

    “Recent software updates, videos showing dangerous use of that technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the opinions of other experts in this space,” have made the DMV think twice about Tesla, according to a letter sent to California’s Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, and first reported by the LA Times.

    Tesla isn’t required to report the number of crashes to California’s DMV unlike other self-driving car companies like Waymo or Cruise because it operates at lower levels of autonomy and requires human supervision. But that may change after videos like drivers having to take over to avoid accidentally swerving into pedestrians crossing the road or failing to detect a truck in the middle of the road continue circulating.

    Continue reading
  • Alien life on Super-Earth can survive longer than us due to long-lasting protection from cosmic rays

    Laser experiments show their magnetic fields shielding their surfaces from radiation last longer

    Life on Super-Earths may have more time to develop and evolve, thanks to their long-lasting magnetic fields protecting them against harmful cosmic rays, according to new research published in Science.

    Space is a hazardous environment. Streams of charged particles traveling at very close to the speed of light, ejected from stars and distant galaxies, bombard planets. The intense radiation can strip atmospheres and cause oceans on planetary surfaces to dry up over time, leaving them arid and incapable of supporting habitable life. Cosmic rays, however, are deflected away from Earth, however, since it’s shielded by its magnetic field.

    Now, a team of researchers led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) believe that Super-Earths - planets that are more massive than Earth but less than Neptune - may have magnetic fields too. Their defensive bubbles, in fact, are estimated to stay intact for longer than the one around Earth, meaning life on their surfaces will have more time to develop and survive.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022