It may come as something of a surprise to you that my gaming PC has yet to have been graced by the presence of the most illustrious of components that is the Solid State Drive. It is not that I do not understand the benefits of this piece of kit, and in fact when I am not writing reviews such as this I am currently working in IT, using them day in, day out. No, for me what I have been waiting on is good value for money; an SSD with a decent capacity and speed that doesn’t break the bank.
Crucial’s new additions to its MX SSD range, which include the new MX300 1TB option which I have been testing, appear on paper to fit the bill. For a gamer, the capacity on offer is ideal; plenty enough to hold the OS and a number of AAA titles before coming close to being full. The potential read/write ratings for the drive also look strong, and whilst my initial tests came back a little slower that what is claimed, the difference when compared to my standard HDD was very notable*.
* Above – Crucial MX300 1TB SSD (left) vs Standard HDD (right) Read/Write Test Results
* Below – Advertised Speeds for Crucial MX300 1TB SSD
To put that into more real terms, I checked out the difference in load times for a few recent releases. As well as checking how long each game took to launch, I also recorded the time it took to get from the menu and into the game itself. Each test was done in an offline game mode to eliminate external factors such as loading data from servers, and the results are quite clear. Rocket League, NBA 2K17 and Civilization VI all demonstrated significantly improved load speeds**, and given that all of these are large and were released within the last couple of weeks, that’s pretty damn good to see. The basics are all there then; the device can store plenty of data and access and load it much faster than what your standard, traditional hard drive can achieve. The question then is why go with Crucial’s range over others?
|Game Boot Speed (Standard HDD)||Game Boot Speed (MX300 SSD)||Match Load Speed (Standard HDD)||Match Load Speed (MX300 SDD)|
|Rocket League||14 Seconds||8 Seconds||6 Seconds||3 Seconds|
|NBA 2K17||11 Seconds||8 Seconds||12 Seconds||5 Seconds|
|Civilization VI||16 Seconds||8 Seconds||61 Seconds||31 Seconds|
** Crucial MX300 1TB SSD vs Standard HDD Game Boot and Match Load Times
On a basic level, there are a few features which make the 1TB MX300 an attractive bit of kit. Appearance wise it is just that; an attractive bit of kit. It doesn’t attempt to be anything too fancy, but fits in your system comfortably without being an eye sore. The brand marketing on the device itself is quite small and not intrusive, and Crucial’s blue labelling works quite nicely on the silver device. More importantly, it is easy to set the device up to use on your PC. Those new to SSDs might want to consult Google for some direction, as there are no clear instructions in the box, but anyone who has worked with hardware and specifically storage drives in the past will have no problems at all. Also helpful is the fact that the device will work with either a desktop or a laptop computer, assuming yours is compatible of course, offering a widespread solution for a number of users. The price, which on Amazon at the time of writing is only £239.07, is also very good for a drive of this capacity.
As well as their generally very good reputation when it comes to SSDs, Crucial drives come with a lot of features designed to make your device as efficient as possible. Low power consumption is a staple of SSDs, and the MX300 only needs around 0.075W of power to run. They compare this to a standard HDD wattage of 6.8W, claiming that their device is over 90x more efficient as a result. Whether this is spot on or not, there is a very clear difference there, but not one unique to Crucial devices. Thermal protection is also in place, which again is not unique to Crucial but is certainly a feature you would want to see on the list. Ensuring that your device does not overwork and overheat extends it longevity, and nothing can be bad about that.
Some unique selling points of Crucial’s MX300 range do stand out from the crowd. A strong endurance rating of up to 220TB written to the drive over its lifetime means you would have to work hard to wipe it out with your data alone. A solid encryption option and smart storage management should help you to extend the device’s life even further. The Crucial Storage Executive software which is recommended alongside the product allows you to monitor and improve the SSD’s performance, as well as keeping your firmware up-to-date. The software is free to download and pretty easy to set up and get your head around. If anything, it is even easier than setting up the drive in Windows itself. Crucial are very ready to work with you on all sides when it comes to getting the most out of your device, which for a relatively pricey bit of kit is very easy to appreciate.
In its own right, Crucial’s 1TB MX300 looks and works very well, but against the competition there is still room to do better. Directly compared against another new SSD on the market, ADATA’s SP550 480GB SSD as recently reviewed by our writer Daniel Durnall, it is clear that the MX300’s read/write speeds could still be better than what they are***. For different PC setups, there will be subtle differences created by the other hardware in play, and Crucial’s advertised speeds do match what we see on the other device, so it is possible that in the same PC straight out of the box it would match them. In terms of the findings that myself and Daniel have produced however, the results are clearly not as strong. Pricewise, ADATA’s drive hits a sweet spot too, at less than half the cost of the larger Crucial drive at half the storage. It’s a close battle in that arena, but it shows that the MX300 is hitting around a new standard price point for SSDs in the current market, rather than intrinsically beating the competition.
*** ADATA SP500 480GB SSD (left) vs Crucial MX300 1TB SSD (right) Read/Write Test Results
ADATA SP500 480GB SSD Tested by Daniel Durnall in October 2016 – http://invisioncommunity.co.uk/2016/10/25/adata-sp550-480gb-ssd-review/
The Crucial MX300 1TB SSD is a great choice for a number of reasons. The amount of storage on offer is fantastic; more than enough alongside a standard HDD in your system, or ideal on its own for a laptop. Read/write speeds are good, but not the best we have seen, however this will depend on some level on your system. The supporting features and software however are very nice to have on offer and are easy to use. Initial setup is easy for a savvy user, and simple to figure out with a little help from your friends at Google if you aren’t 100% sure. The drive looks just fine too, and isn’t hard to fit in either a desktop or a laptop PC. The price is good too, compared to prices for a drive this size in the past, fitting in at about what you would expect to pay on the current market. Some room for improvement however does become more apparent when compared to other recently released devices. A solid option on the whole, but perhaps not the top player for the more specific user looking for the very best on the market, the 1TB MX300 from Crucial will do the majority of users proud.